• Report Recommends Less Repressive Approach to Gang Problem in CentAm

    Gang violence continues to plague Central America

    A new report by a leading watchdog and policy group says that Central America's Northern Triangle governments should find a middle ground that balances the need for engaging with the region's violent street gangs, while still maintaining the rule of law and the governments' legitimacy.

  • Arrest of Top MS13 Gang Leader in Guatemala Highlights Cooperation

    Top MS13 leader Pedro Benjamín Rivas Zelaya, alias “El Sniper”

    The arrest in Guatemala of a high-ranking MS13 leader wanted by El Salvador's authorities illustrates how regional cooperation yields results, even while raising questions on how best to tackle the regional migration of the powerful gang members.

  • Homicides in Guatemala: Conclusions and Recommendations

    Olfato. It is a term used quite often in law enforcement and judicial circles in Central America (and other parts of the world as well). It refers to the sixth sense they have as they see a crime scene, investigate a murder or plow through the paperwork related to one. There is nothing scientific about olfato, yet it seems as if that is the guiding measure as it relates to determining this crucial question: What is behind the steady stream of homicides in Central America, or in this case, Guatemala?

  • 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 of these forms go into paper files. Others go into computer files. Some of them are summarized and sent to headquarters. Others remain at precinct or even sub-precinct level. As will become evident, much of it is quickly buried amidst a pile of papers that will literally fade with time, or within a computer file, which will most likely be erased or lost by the next person who has that job.

  • 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, 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.[1]

  • 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. 

  • How Guatemala's Top Metal Company Avoided Millions in Taxes

    Corrupt officials of Guatemala’s tax administration were allegedly involved in the scheme

    Guatemala's biggest metallurgic company reportedly set up a complex scheme involving front companies, corrupt officials and fake documentation to evade taxes for years, a blueprint for defrauding the state in a country that has long suffered from criminal conduct by elites.

  • Nearly All Crimes in Guatemala Go Unpunished: CICIG

    CICIG Commissioner Iván Velásquez

    Only 3 percent of crimes in Guatemala are punished, according to the head of an international anti-corruption body, a statistic that serves as a reminder of the importance of enacting structural reforms in order to improve rule of law in the country.

  • Trump Wall May Reinforce Shift to Maritime Migrant Routes

    Migrants are opting for maritime routes to cross over into Mexico

    Central American undocumented migrants are shifting to maritime transportation, according to a recent report, likely as a result of Mexico's crackdown on land routes, a trend that would likely increase should the US-Mexico border wall be extended.

  • US Again Warns Central America over Attacks on Prosecutors, CICIG

    Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales

    A US senator has warned Guatemala that aid funding could be put in jeopardy if the Central American country's president, Jimmy Morales, insists on calling for the removal of Iván Velásquez, the head of the anti-corruption body CICIG.