A breakaway faction of El Salvador's MS13 gang has reportedly been the source of increasing conflict, underlining how gang rivalries and violence can contribute to cycles of retaliation.
In our April 20 Facebook Live session, Co-director Steven Dudley spoke with Senior Investigator Héctor Silva Ávalos about the recent rhetorical offensive launched against the MS13 by the administration of US President Donald Trump.
When violence surged in early 2015 in Guatemala, then-President Otto Pérez Molina knew how to handle the situation: Blame the street gangs.
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, Zacapa, and Chiquimula. The northern department of Petén, which encompasses nearly a third of the country's land mass, also routinely has some of the highest homicide rates.