Kelvin Villanueva had spent 15 years living and working in Kansas City before being detained by US authorities. After being transferred between detention centers, he was deported to his home country of Honduras. Magnum’s Michael Christopher Brown found Villanueva living back in his home town of San Pedro Sula, which is plagued by gang violence. The photo-essay above represents vignettes of Villanueva’s day-to-day experience adjusting to his new old life in a city that has had the highest murder rate in the world for the last four years.
Reflecting onKelvin Villanueva, Michael Christopher Brown said:
“His life is difficult especially compared with what he had in the USA. In Honduras he basically shares a shack with his extended family, in a neighborhood that is patrolled by gangs and his safety is only ensured when he doesn’t venture far from home. He has no money, he risks being recruited by gangs (MS-13, Barrio 18, for example) who patrol the surrounding neighborhoods and is really only ‘safe’ on the alley leading up to his home. But really, nowhere is safe in San Pedro Sulas. If ‘they’ want to get to you, they’ll get to you.
He seemed to just be waiting it out, waiting for another chance to escape to the USA. I recently returned from Cuba, where there is a saying: “The only business in Cuba is how to get to the United States.” This rings true for many countries, including Honduras.”