News Analysis

Why Police Reforms Rarely Succeed: Lessons From Latin America

Why Police Reforms Rarely Succeed: Lessons From Latin America

As discussions about police reform abound throughout the Americas, Yanilda González, an assistant professor at the University of Chicago, examines the implications of Latin America's experience with police reform efforts for future such initiatives.

News Briefs

Too Little Too Late? Bolivia, Brazil to Boost Efforts Against Criminal Migration

Too Little Too Late? Bolivia, Brazil to Boost Efforts Against Criminal Migration

Authorities in Bolivia and Brazil will enter into a bilateral agreement later this month aimed at combating the expansion of...

Peru Anti-Crime Operations Show Drug Trade's Resilience in VRAEM

Peru Anti-Crime Operations Show Drug Trade's Resilience in VRAEM

A large cocaine seizure in a dismantled clandestine lab and repeated ambushes against security forces point to persistent criminal activity...

Colombia Begins Giving Demobilized FARC Access to Banking System

Colombia Begins Giving Demobilized FARC Access to Banking System

The government of Colombia has begun bringing demobilizing FARC guerrillas into the formal banking system, but international sanctions on FARC...

Officials Resist Blaming 'Cartels' for Deadly Mexico City Clashes

Officials Resist Blaming 'Cartels' for Deadly Mexico City Clashes

A clash between Mexico's Marines and a criminal group in Mexico City has left eight dead, again raising questions about...

Colombia Amnesty Decree Eases Fears Over FARC Prisoners

Colombia Amnesty Decree Eases Fears Over FARC Prisoners

The Colombian government has issued a new decree to facilitate the release of incarcerated FARC guerrillas, removing an obstacle to...

Brazil Chief Prosecutor Applauds Multilateral Anti-Corruption Cooperation

Brazil Chief Prosecutor Applauds Multilateral Anti-Corruption Cooperation

Brazil's chief prosecutor highlighted the importance of international cooperation in ongoing probes of the biggest corruption cases in the country's...

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. The BACRIM's roots lie in the demobilized paramilitary umbrella group the United Self-Defense...

El Salvador Prisons and the Battle for the MS13’s Soul

El Salvador Prisons and the Battle for the MS13’s Soul

El Salvador's prison system is the headquarters of the country's largest gangs. It is also where one of these gangs, the MS13, is fighting amongst itself for control of the organization.

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

In San Pedro Sula's jailhouse, chaos reigns. The inmates, trapped in their collective misery, battle for control over every inch of their tight quarters. Farm animals and guard dogs roam free and feed off scraps, which can include a human heart. Every day is visitors' day, and...

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

José Adán Salazar Umaña is the only Salvadoran citizen currently on the US government's Kingpin List. But in his defense, Salazar Umaña claims is he is an honorable businessman who started his career by exchanging money along the borders between Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. He does...

The Prison Dilemma: Latin America’s Incubators of Organized Crime

The Prison Dilemma: Latin America’s Incubators of Organized Crime

The prison system in Latin America and the Caribbean has become a prime incubator for organized crime. This overview -- the first of six reports on prison systems that we produced after a year-long investigation -- traces the origins and maps the consequences of the problem, including...

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...

Homicides in Guatemala: Analyzing the Data

Homicides in Guatemala: Analyzing the Data

In the last decade, homicides in Guatemala have obeyed a fairly steady pattern. Guatemala City and some of its surrounding municipalities have the greatest sheer number of homicides. Other states, particularly along the eastern border have the highest homicide rates. Among these are the departments of Escuintla...

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's Mirror: War and Drug Trafficking in the Prison System

Colombia's prisons are a reflection of the multiple conflicts that have plagued the country for the last half-century. Paramilitaries, guerrillas and drug trafficking groups have vied for control of the jails where they can continue to manage their operations on the outside. Instead of corralling these forces...

Homicides in Guatemala: Collecting the Data

Homicides in Guatemala: Collecting the Data

When someone is murdered in Guatemala, police, forensic doctors and government prosecutors start making their way to the crime scene and a creaky, antiquated 20th century bureaucratic machine kicks into gear. Calls are made. Forms are filled out by hand, or typed into computers, or both. Some...

Homicides in Guatemala: Introduction, Methodology, and Major Findings

Homicides in Guatemala: Introduction, Methodology, and Major Findings

When violence surged in early 2015 in Guatemala, then-President Otto Pérez Molina knew how to handle the situation: Blame the street gangs.