Central America


Security, politics, crime, immigration, and corruption are common themes in Central America. The Mara Salvatrucha, a street gang born in Los Angeles, is a leading threat to national security in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, while free trade is a major issue in Costa Rica. And Panama and Belize have been increasingly draw into problems associate with drug trafficking.


Hints of Failure in Guatemala

(International Relations and Security Network, 14/05/2009)

The death of a lawyer and his posthumous accusation places the Guatemalan president at the center of a corruption scandal.


Iran's Latin American Inroads

(International Relations and Security Network, 29/04/2009)

An examination of the reality of Iran’s deepening ties with a number of Latin American countries.


US: Gangsters without borders

(ISA Intelligence and Consulting, 28/11/2007)

The US deportation of illegal immigrants involved in criminal gangs is not working.


Ameripol comes to life

(International Relations and Security Network, 26/11/2007)

In a region where the military is often asked to perform police duties, a regional police force has formed to combat that tendency, but a number of challenges remain.


Governance in Guatemala Increasingly Threatened by Organized Crime

(Power and Interest News Report, 19/10/2007)

Many Guatemalans hoped that general elections in early September would replace the current president, Oscar Berger, with a reformist leader, but a string of murders quickly doused any reason to believe that a new leader would bring peace to Guatemala.


Guatemala: A Good Place for Murder

(International Relations and Security Network, 25/06/2007)

Upcoming presidential elections hold little promise to reverse a security situation perpetuated by corruption, impunity and the power and money of organized crime.


Silence and Propaganda in the Americas

(International Relations and Security Network, 31/05/2007)

Freedom of speech is, according to some, under attack, but it's clear journalism in Latin America has suffered a threatening string of set backs in 2007.


Nicaragua's 'Political Transvestite'

(International Relations and Security Network, 23/05/2007)

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega embarks on a curious strategy of seeking personal recognition as a socialist around the world while cross-dressing as a free-market supporter and friend of the US when necessary.


Calderon Gives Life to Plan Puebla-Panama

(International Relations and Security Network, 20/04/2007)

Mexican President Felipe Calderon has re-initialized a plan for regional integration in an attempt to make the dreams of his predecessor a reality.


Bush's Latin America Tour Unproductive

(International Relations and Security Network, 15/03/2007)

Without control of Congress, Bush can make no promises to Latin America and his tour through the region was little more than a photo opportunity.


Tri-State Trouble with Mara Salvatrucha

(International Relations and Security Network, 01/03/2007)

As its ranks swell in the tri-state area around Washington, DC, due to a constant flow of human smuggling, law enforcement has begun to treat the Mara Salvatrucha more like organized crime than a street gang.


Nicaragua: Balancing Arsenals and Aid

(International Relations and Security Network, 16/02/2007)

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has a tough choice to make: Destroying a powerful arsenal of SA-7 missiles would appease the US and other donors, but it would also make him appear weak to his anti-American friends.


Iran Courts Latin America

(International Relations and Security Network, 22/01/2007)

As Washington squeezes Iran off the international stage, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez opens doors for more Iranian influence in Latin America.


Guatemala: Possible "Colombianization"

(International Relations and Security Network, 13/10/2006)

The “Colombianization” of Guatemala may not be a fair claim, but it cannot be denied that the country plays a fundamental part in regional narco-trafficking patterns.


Central America Talks Regional Military Force

(International Relations and Security Network, 05/10/2006)

Central America faces an uphill battle against organized crime and street gangs, but talk of handing these public security issues over to a military force is dangerous.


Capturing Remittances in Central America

(International Relations and Security Network, 05/10/2006)

Making the connection between remittance recipients and the formal financial sector is challenging, but micro-finance institutions may be key to bridging the gap.


Nicaragua's Curse of the White Treasure

(International Relations and Security Network, 27/09/2006)

Bluefields, a Nicaraguan city plagued by cocaine that floats to her beaches, acts as a collection and transit point for cocaine arriving from the ocean and delivered to the poor neighborhoods of Managua.


Panama, A Smuggler's Haven

(International Relations and Security Network, 13/09/2006)

Panama's capital city - a center for banking, business, shipping and technology - is a perfect location for smuggling and the money laundering.


Dreams of Influence in Nicaragua

(International Relations and Security Network, 20/07/2006)

Attention on the fate of Nicaragua's presidential elections focuses on Washington, Caracas and Ortega's dreams of returning to power - but it misses the point.


Deportation Feeds a Cycle of Violence in Central America

(Americas Program, International Relations Center, 14/03/2006)

Since the early nineties, criminal gang networks operating across the border between the United States and Central America have exploded in power and number. The gangs take advantage of loopholes in international immigration and deportation policies to spread their influence through extreme violence.


Guns, Cocaine: One Market Out of Control

(International Relations and Security Network, 28/02/2006)

The market for small arms and light weapons has completely overlapped the cocaine market. Purchases for arms are no longer made with cash but with cocaine, and the same routes used to smuggle cocaine out of South America are used to smuggle guns in.


Recruitment, Redemption in the MS-13

(International Relations and Security Network, 14/02/2006)

When he was nine, Luis, a former member of the Mara Salvatrucha street gang (MS-13), started hanging out with gang members in southern California.


Street Gangs, a Transnational Security Threat

(International Relations and Security Network, 07/02/2006)

On 1 February, Michael Lopez-Garcia pleaded guilty to brutally murdering an 82-year-old man with a machete in Corpus Christi, Texas last year.


Death Squad Justice in Latin America

(International Relations and Security Network, 19/09/2005)

Extrajudicial killings have become the norm in countries where a need for security sector reform is more obvious than ever and loyalty to due process ran out long ago.


Hondurans Protest Gas Prices Ahead of Polls

(International Relationas and Security Network, 08/09/2005)

Social tensions caused by a lack of security have erupted over small fluctuations in gas prices.






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