Guatemala Mayor ‘Tres Kiebres’: The Art of Being ‘3 Times Broken’

The atmosphere was light, almost jovial, as Ipala's Mayor Esduin Javier turned to the next item on the agenda. The issue was what the people at the municipality's monthly town hall called a "Boulevard." Boulevard was perhaps a strong word for most places, but in this town of 20,000, the 12-meter wide street with a natural barrier complete with palm trees more than qualified.

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News Analysis

Why It's So Hard to Leave El Salvador's Gangs: An Interview With José Miguel Cruz

Why It's So Hard to Leave El Salvador's Gangs: An Interview With José Miguel Cruz

Around 85 percent of gang members in El Salvador have thought about distancing themselves from gang life or leaving entirely. But with few reported success stories, little is known about this process. In March 2017, a study by Florida International University (FIU) examined the dynamics behind the dangerous choice to abandon gang life and the challenges faced by ex-members seeking to reintegrate into society.

News Briefs

The Big Winner in Venezuela Elections? Organized Crime.

The Big Winner in Venezuela Elections? Organized Crime.

Venezuela's ruling party has reportedly won a majority of governorships throughout the country in a recent election that was denounced...

US-Canada Border Arrest Shows Varied Human Smuggling Routes

US-Canada Border Arrest Shows Varied Human Smuggling Routes

US authorities have arrested a Honduran national for allegedly smuggling several migrants from Central America and Mexico into the United...

Another Honduras Narco Negotiates Plea Deal With US

Another Honduras Narco Negotiates Plea Deal With US

The heir of one of Honduras’ most notorious drug trafficking groups is negotiating a plea deal in the United States...

Venezuela Prison Shootout With Police Shows Criminal Control

Venezuela Prison Shootout With Police Shows Criminal Control

A recent series of shootouts with police near one of Venezuela's most infamous prisons is a reminder of the control...

Brazil's Youth Violence Crisis Deepening: Report

Brazil's Youth Violence Crisis Deepening: Report

Nearly four in every 1,000 Brazilian adolescents living in the country's biggest cities are murdered before the age of 19...

Mexico Prison Massacre Linked to Zetas Takeover Allegations

Mexico Prison Massacre Linked to Zetas Takeover Allegations

At least 13 people have died in a prison mutiny in north Mexico that some witnesses claim was a backlash...

Investigations

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InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

  The Bajo Cauca Franchise BACRIM-Land Armed Power Dynamics The BACRIM in places like the region of Bajo Cauca are a typical manifestation of Colombia's underworld today: a semi-autonomous local cell that is part of a powerful national network.

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

As set out in this report, the legal structure around Honduras' arms trade is deeply flawed. The legislation is inconsistent and unclear as to the roles of different institutions, while the regulatory system is insufficiently funded, anachronistic and administered by officials who are overworked or susceptible to...

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Estimates vary widely as to how many legal and illegal weapons are circulating in Honduras. There are many reasons for this. The government does not have a centralized database that tracks arms seizures, purchases, sales and other matters concerning arms possession, availability and merchandising. The laws surrounding...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

  Drugs Extortion Criminal Cash Flows Millions of dollars in dirty money circulate constantly around Bajo Cauca, flowing upwards and outwards from a broad range of criminal activities. The BACRIM are the chief regulators and beneficiaries of this shadow economy.

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

  Life of a Sicario Anatomy of a Hit   The BACRIM's control over territories such as the north Colombian region of Bajo Cauca comes at the point of a gun, and death is a constant price of their power.

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Honduras does not produce weapons,[1] but weapons are trafficked into the country in numerous ways. These vary depending on weapon availability in neighboring countries, demand in Honduras, government controls and other factors. They do not appear to obey a single strategic logic, other than that of evading...

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

The department of Nariño in southwest Colombia is the main coca-producing area in the country and in the world. It is a place scarred by poverty and years of armed conflict between guerrillas, the state and paramilitary groups. Perhaps nowhere else in the country are the challenges...

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

The weapons trade within Honduras is difficult to monitor. This is largely because the military, the country's sole importer, and the Armory, the sole salesmen of weapons, do not release information to the public. The lack of transparency extends to private security companies, which do not have...

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

In May 2011, a 26-year-old prison gang leader held 4,000 members of the Venezuelan security forces, backed by tanks and helicopters, at bay for weeks. Humiliated nationally and internationally, it pushed President Hugo Chávez into a different and disastrous approach to the prison system.