Blood Barrios

Dispatches from the World’s Deadliest Streets

Alberto Arce

Blood Barrios

Alberto Arce

Distributed for Zed Books

Translated by John Washington and Daniela Ugaz
160 pages | 20 halftones | 5 x 7 3/4 | © 2018
Paper $15.95 ISBN: 9781786990495 Published February 2018 For sale in North and South America only
Welcome to a country that has a higher casualty rate than Iraq. Wander streets considered the deadliest in the world. Wake up each morning to another batch of corpses—sometimes bound, often mutilated—lining the roads. Witness the screeching blue light of police sirens and the huddles of “red journalists” who make a living chasing after the bloodshed.

They are scenes that conjure up a war zone, but Honduras is, at least officially, not at war. Ignored by the outside world, this Central American country is ravaged by ultraviolent drug cartels and an equally ruthless, militarized law force. Corruption is rife and the justice system is woefully ineffective. Prisons are full to bursting and barrios are flooded with drugs from South America en route to the United States. Cursed by geography, the people are trapped here, caught in a system of poverty and cruelty with no means of escape.

For many years, Alberto Arce was the only foreign correspondent in Tegucigalpa, Honduras’s beleaguered capital. He has seen first-hand the country’s descent into anarchy. In Blood Barrios he shares his experiences in a series of gripping and atmospheric dispatches: from earnest conversations with narcos, taxi drivers, and soldiers, to exposés of state corruption and harrowing accounts of the aftermath of violence. Provocative, revelatory, and heart-rending, Blood Barrios shines a light on the suffering and stoicism of the Honduran people, and demands action from a complacent international community.
Contents
Acknowledgements
Epigraph
Map: Routes of cocaine and violence in Honduras
 
Part I: Red Journalism
1. Inside the volcano
2. Crime beat Rookie
3. Night of the Chepos
4. Death of a Taxi Driver
5. Four Boards Strapped to the Back
 
Part II: The Curse of Geography
6. A Little Known War
7. Mosquito Coast
 
Part III: Houses, Coffins, and Graffiti
8. Refugee Camp
9. One Coffin, One Vote
10. Hallucinations
11. Night of the Fire
 
Part IV: The Police
12. An Assassin
13. Death Squads
14. Police Reform
15. El Tigre Bonilla, A Culture of Simulacrum
 
Part V: Storytellers
16. Journalists
17. The Politicians
18. Those Who Imagine
 
Epilogue: What Am I Doing in Honduras?

About the Author and Translators
About the Illustrator
 
Review Quotes
Spectator
“Arce is morbid. He’s an artist. He’s looking for something, for the bigger picture. . . .  A brave, memorable book.”
Asymptote
“Arce provides a captivating and comprehensive introduction to this region, too often ignored by the outside world.”
Tom Feiling, author of Short Walks from Bogotá: Journeys in the New Colombia
“Reminiscent of The Wire. Blood Barrios is full of perceptive vignettes, each of which shows how cocaine trafficking, and the war on the traffickers, have sent the country spiraling into the abyss. Arce's tone is that of a journalist teetering on the brink of despair.”
Oliver Balch, author of Viva South America! A Journey through a Restless Continent
‘It takes a true reporter—gutsy, bloody-minded, driven—to work the streets of Tegucigalpa. Alberto Arce’s ballsy, bravely-told account marks him out as the real deal. The world needs more reporters like Arce, who meet bullets with ink, head on. This is a troubling, gritty, brutally truthful book.”
Jon Lee Anderson, war correspondent for The New Yorker
“Arce is a kickass reporter. He writes with a searing honesty and an eye for detail that makes Blood Barrios as terrifying as it is impossible to put down.”
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