Puerto Lempira is a small town on the shores of the Caratasca Lagoon and the capital of the Gracias a Dios department, in the north-east of Honduras. The area is the home of the Miskitos indigenous minority. This department of Honduras is one of the poorest region in Central America. There’s an on-going sanitary emergency, a total lack of infrastructures and a basic need of drinkable water for the population. There’s an economy of subsistence and workers are mostly exploited and under waged. More than 90% of the population live below the poverty line.
Gracias a Dios happens to be exactly half way on the narco cartels’ paths between Colombia and the States. Puerto Lempira and its surroundings are often chosen by the narcos to make a stop while travelling to bring drugs on the American market. Drugs are carried on small and fast boats or on small airplanes that sometimes are forced to stop half way, either to hide from the Coast Guard or to reload fuel. Among the residents of the only prison in the department, many were caught and judged guilty of narco traffic related crimes. The living conditions within the prison are inhuman. Prisoners sleep in overcrowded cells made of concrete walls and tin-plated ceilings, hygiene is a major problem, bread and coffee are the only food supplied and a constant lack of drinkable water make this one of the worst jail of Honduras.
A picture of this reportage was part of a National Geographic group exhibition.