Honduran Soccer Player Arnold Peralta Was Shot Dead in La Ceiba

Last night, 26-year-old Honduran international soccer player Arnold Peralta was shot and killed in a mall parking lot in his hometown of La Ceiba on the northern coast of the country, where he was vacationing after finishing up his season with Club Deportivo Olimpia. This is the type of news that leaves you short of breath – devastated – the death of a beloved national player and more importantly, of a man with an incredibly bright future, a family and even a newborn daughter.

Humanity can often be overlooked amidst profuse statistics and soccer-related numbers – Peralta played for Rangers in Scotland, Club Deportivo Vida in Honduras, was a member of the national team and accumulated 26 caps through his participation in the 2012 London Olympic Games and the 2014 World Cup – but the outpouring of grief from teammates, fans and clubs alike via Twitter and other media outlets makes the tragic nature of his death acutely felt by hinchas around the world.

The defensive midfielder was due to play in a friendly against Cuba next week.

Honduras ranks very high in terms of gang violence, and although the motive for Peralta’s death remains unknown, it is clear that there was no intent to rob. This fatal chapter has many in Honduras desperate for change which has up until now been more or less elusive.

In a recent report directed towards the Honduran government, UN expert Chaloka Beyani urged for a strengthening of efforts to alleviate the effects of gang violence and deal with social challenges; “internal displacement by criminal gangs is an invisible epidemic affecting whole communities touched by violence, including children and young people,” he said.

According to the Honduran Bureau of Human Rights, nearly 200,000 people have been displaced over the past ten years due to the country’s inner turmoil. It ranks 116th in the world on the Global Peace Index, which does put it ahead of Guatemala (118), El Salvador (123), Venezuela (142), Mexico (144) and Colombia (146).

Honduran TV station Televicentro put out the following touching homage remembering the player last night.