Unaccompanied Baggage’s recent post on hardship differentials prompted this comment received via e-mail:
I find it incredible how Tegucigalpa and San Salvador only have a 15 percent differential while they are capital murder Number 1 and Number 2 of the world. In Tegucigalpa, we cannot walk on the streets. They have kidnappings in daylight. A couple of weeks ago, while having lunch with friends, we all got a text message from RSO telling us to not to go by a certain bakery because someone had just been killed in there. No embassy people were involved in the crime but that is a bakery where embassy people often go.
I don’t think American diplomats are a target (so far), but people who are targets often go to the same places we do. Our lives are pretty much home-to-embassy, embassy-to-home.
This is not an easy post. Lima, Peru, has 15 percent and you cannot compare the quality of life you get in Lima to the one we get here. Crime is a daily threat in Honduras. You have paid assassins murdering government officials, lawyers, business people, etc. We also have gangs. Women in Tegucigalpa are forbidden to wear black leggings, print leggings, red T-shirts, highlight their hair, have red hair, etc. They have all been warned to sport black hair; if not, they will suffer consequences. Not in my case, but what if a female EFM/FSO looks Hispanic?
Just last December, several officers from the MIL group at the embassy were getting death threats, not only to them but also to their spouses and family members.
Friends who have been stationed in Manila and here cannot believe Honduras is only at 15 percent while Manila was at 20 percent until March (and now also is 15 percent).
Many of us posted here would appreciate our differential being reconsidered.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to share my thoughts.