News Analysis

Military and Police Corruption: Venezuela's Growing Evil

Military and Police Corruption: Venezuela's Growing Evil

The people entrusted with enforcing the law in Venezuela regularly make the headlines as suspects or alleged accomplices, facilitators or perpetrators of serious crimes, a sign of the advanced deterioration and corruption of the country’s security forces.

News Briefs

Argentina Rescued Over 10,000 Trafficking Victims in 8 Years

Argentina Rescued Over 10,000 Trafficking Victims in 8 Years

Argentina's government marked the International Day against Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Women and Children by highlighting its increased efforts...

Revelations Add to Guatemala President's Corruption Woes

Revelations Add to Guatemala President's Corruption Woes

New revelations about the alleged dealings between the son of Guatemala's vice president and an alleged drug lord further undermine...

Crime Wave Hits City that Will Host Signing of Colombia Peace Deal

Crime Wave Hits City that Will Host Signing of Colombia Peace Deal

A crime wave has hit Colombia's port city of Cartagena just days before government officials and FARC rebels are scheduled...

Dominican Republic's Former Anti-Drug Chief Sentenced to 20 Years

Dominican Republic's Former Anti-Drug Chief Sentenced to 20 Years

The Dominican Republic's former top anti-narcotics official was sentenced to 20 years in prison for cocaine theft in a case...

El Salvador Transfers Judges to Combat Corruption in Judiciary

El Salvador Transfers Judges to Combat Corruption in Judiciary

El Salvador's Supreme Court has transferred 21 judges, including four that made rulings favorable to a prominent businessman accused of corrupting...

Priest Killings Highlight Mexico Govt's Credibility Problem

Priest Killings Highlight Mexico Govt's Credibility Problem

Local residents say the official account of how two priests were killed in Veracruz, Mexico is a "cover-up" for the...

Investigations

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Elites and Organized Crime: Conceptual Framework - Organized Crime

Elites and Organized Crime: Conceptual Framework - Organized Crime

This project defines organized crime as: a structured group of people that associate on a regular and prolonged basis to benefit from illicit activities and illegal markets. This group can be local, national or transnational in nature, and its existence is maintained using violence and threats; corruption...

Guatemala Elites and Organized Crime: The CICIG

Guatemala Elites and Organized Crime: The CICIG

Like any arm of the justice system, the United Nations-backed International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (Comisión Internacional Contra la Impunidad en Guatemala - CICIG) had its battles with elites who used their charm and their muscle to try to influence what and who the celebrated commission...

The FARC and the Drug Trade: Siamese Twins?

The FARC and the Drug Trade: Siamese Twins?

The FARC have always had a love-hate relationship with drugs. They love the money it brings, funds which have allowed them to survive and even threaten to topple the state at the end of the 1990s. They hate the corruption and stigma narcotics have also brought to...

Guatemala Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Guatemala Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Guatemala is Central America’s most populous country and its largest economy. But an intransigent elite, an ambitious military and a weak state has opened the way for organized crime to flourish, especially since the return of democracy.

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: Juan Ramón Matta Ballesteros

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: Juan Ramón Matta Ballesteros

On the morning of April 5, 1988, Juan Ramón Matta Ballesteros left his palatial Tegucigalpa estate for a jog. Matta Ballesteros was wanted for murder, drug trafficking and other crimes in several countries, but in Honduras he felt safe. He regularly hosted parties for high-level officials at...

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: The Cachiros

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: The Cachiros

As it tends to happen in Honduras, the news began as a well-heeled rumor: Javier Rivera Maradiaga, the oldest of the three Rivera Maradiaga brothers still alive and leader of the feared and powerful Honduran drug trafficking group known as the Cachiros, had handed himself in to...

Guatemala Elites and Organized Crime: The 'Huistas'

Guatemala Elites and Organized Crime: The 'Huistas'

In the northwest corner of Guatemala, a little known criminal organization known as the "Huistas" dominates the underworld, in large part due its ties with businessmen, law enforcement officials and politicians.

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: 'Don Berna'

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: 'Don Berna'

By the end of 1993, Pablo Escobar was cornered. The cocaine king -- known as "El Patrón" -- was running out of money and options. His top assassins were either dead or had turned themselves in. Almost all of the senior members of the Medellín Cartel were...

Elites and Organized Crime: Preface

Elites and Organized Crime: Preface

Organized crime is not an abstract concept for me. I grew up in Oak Park, a leafy suburb of Chicago with a population of about 60,000. In general, it was a very low crime city, which is perhaps why many mobsters made their homes there, among them...

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: 'Jorge 40'

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: 'Jorge 40'

Rodrigo Tovar Pupo never imagined it would come to this: dressed in an orange jumpsuit in a Washington DC courtroom and standing in front of a United States federal judge, the grandson of a wealthy Colombian cattle rancher and nephew to a governor was facing a possible...