In the fight against drug trafficking, Central America has become a large recipient of U.S. aid, receiving nearly half a billion dollars over the past seven years. The money is being spent on strengthening police and military forces that are outgunned by the narcotics traffickers.
The goal is to repeat the kind of success that took place over time in places like Colombia.
Latin America is riddled with crime, and no place is more violent than Honduras. It has just 8 million people, but with as many as 20 people killed there every day, it now has the highest murder rate in the world.
It would be easy to blame drug trafficking. Honduras and its Central American neighbors have long served as a favored smuggling corridor for South American cocaine headed north to the U.S.
In the village of Corozal in Honduras, men ready boats for fishing excursions and boys play soccer on a beach lined with thatched huts.
On a sandy lot next to the town's main street, two teenage boys begin playing drums while women sing. For centuries, this has been the signature sound of celebration for the Garifuna, an Afro-Caribbean people on the Atlantic coast of Central America. Now this music has an additional purpose: to prevent HIV.
Honduran officials said last week's prison fire that killed 360 was started by accident, when an inmate fell asleep with a lit cigarette. Previous reports in local media had pinned the blame on a prison riot and there had also been reports that inmates were shot at by guards.
The BBC reports that chief prosecutor Luis Alberto Rubi said autopsies of 277 inmates showed no evidence of gunshot wounds and that gasoline did not start the fire.