SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras — Honduras' two biggest and most dangerous street gangs declared a truce Tuesday, offering to give the government peace in exchange for rehabilitation and jobs.
A spokesman for the Mara Salvatrucha gang, identified only as Marco, said the gang will commit to zero violence and zero crime in the streets as a first-step show of good faith. He spoke to reporters from a prison cell in San Pedro Sula, the Central American country's northern business capital and one of the most violent cities in the world.
"Our truce is with God, society and authorities. We ask society and authorities to forgive us for the damage we have done," Marco said. "I want my son to be a doctor or a cameraman, not a gangster."
Minutes later, a leader of the rival 18th Street gang gave a separate news conference from another prison cell, saying his gang offers the same as the Mara Salvatrucha, "if the government will listen." His face was covered by a scarf and he didn't give his name.
The truce, patterned after one between the same two gangs in neighboring El Salvador, has been worked out over the last eight months with mediation by Roman Catholic Bishop Romulo Emiliani of San Pedro Sula.