HOME SWEET HOME? CENTRAL AMERICA’S REFUGEE CRISIS
When 35-year-old bus driver Saúl* and his two young children were shot at point blank in plain daylight in a quiet street in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, he knew the only way to survive was to leave the country altogether.
Honduras is one of the most violent nations on earth, where more people are killed each day than in most countries. Saúl was scared that he and his family would be targeted again.
A couple of months after the attack, the police had done nothing to protect him and his family. So Saúl collected all the cash he could get his hands on, packed a small bag and made his way to Mexico.
The plan seemed waterproof.
Bus drivers like Saúl are well known targets for the ruthless criminal gangs that control much of Honduras. They threaten drivers and force them to pay hefty “taxes” to avoid being killed.
Having survived several attacks in which his sons were nearly killed, Saúl was a perfect candidate for asylum in neighbouring Mexico. Once he got it, he would send for his wife and children.
Or that is what he thought.
“Something will happen to me”
But there was a problem. Like many in his situation, Saúl did not get asylum in México. Instead, he was pushed back to Honduras, to the very same neighborhood where the men who had shot him still lived – controlling everybody’s lives.
Back home, Saúl and his family were left completely unprotected. He said the police told him to look for the men who attacked them himself.
I feel like something is going to happen to me
“I feel like something is going to happen to me,” he told us in his home in Tegucigalpa, three weeks after he was forced to return. He felt he needed to leave town immediately but had no money. He had spent it all during his first attempt to seek asylum in Mexico.
No one seemed to think Saúl was in real danger. They were wrong.
Because on 10 July 2016, Saúl was shot dead.
Today, his widow is terrified of what might happen to her and her children.