TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras Every Saturday morning, one of my taxi drivers pays about $12 for the right to park his cab near a hospital, about two blocks from a police station.
But it's not the government that's charging.
An unidentified man pulls up in a large SUV, usually brandishing an AK-47, and accepts an envelope of cash without saying a word. Jose and nine other drivers who pay the extortionists estimate that it amounts to more than $500 a year to park on public property. During Christmas, the cabbies dish out another $500 each in holiday "bonuses."