News Analysis

Fiction Merges With Facts in Netflix's 'El Chapo'

Fiction Merges With Facts in Netflix's 'El Chapo'

InSight Crime Senior Investigator Deborah Bonello reflects on the new television series "El Chapo" in light of her experience covering the real-life crime boss, drug-related violence and other security issues in Mexico. Warning: This article contains spoilers.

News Briefs

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...

Bolivia Coca Cultivation Grows for First Time in 6 Years: UNODC

Bolivia Coca Cultivation Grows for First Time in 6 Years: UNODC

A United Nations monitoring program reported a rise in coca cultivation in Bolivia in 2016 after five successive years of...

8 Months In, Concerns Linger as Colombia's FARC Peace Process Advances

8 Months In, Concerns Linger as Colombia's FARC Peace Process Advances

A new report on the main successes and shortcomings of Colombia's historic peace process with the FARC guerrilla group shows...

Guatemala Investigates Another Top Official of Pérez Molina Govt

Guatemala Investigates Another Top Official of Pérez Molina Govt

A former presidential candidate, who was also a minister during the administration of jailed former Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina...

Investigations

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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. 

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

  Drugs Extortion Criminal Cash Flows Millions of dollars in dirty money circulate constantly around Bajo Cauca, flowing upwards and outwards from a broad range of criminal activities. The BACRIM are the chief regulators and beneficiaries of this shadow economy. Unlike their paramilitary and drug cartel predecessors, the BACRIM maintain a diversified...

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...

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...

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...

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.

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...

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

How the MS13 Tried (and Failed) to Create a Single Gang in the US

In July 2011, members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) attended a meeting organized in California by a criminal known as "Bad Boy." Among the invitees was José Juan Rodríguez Juárez, known as "Dreamer," who had gone to the meeting hoping to better understand what was beginning to...

Reign of the Kaibil: Guatemala’s Prisons Under Byron Lima

Reign of the Kaibil: Guatemala’s Prisons Under Byron Lima

Following Guatemala's long and brutal civil war, members of the military were charged, faced trial and sentenced to jail time. Even some members of a powerful elite unit known as the Kaibil were put behind bars. Among these prisoners, none were more emblematic than Captain Byron Lima...