In a new report based on extensive field research, InSight Crime and the Asociacion para una Sociedad mas Justa have traced how Honduras' two largest gangs, the MS13 and the Barrio 18, are evolving, and how their current modus operandi has resulted in staggering levels of violence and extortion.
In a first, top representatives of El Salvador's powerful and influential Catholic Church have said the Church would be willing to serve as a mediator in an eventual dialogue between the government and the country's gangs.
At the end of every year, InSight Crime looks into the crystal ball and predicts what the big criminal risks are likely to be during 2017. These are what we see as the threats facing the Americas in the coming year.
Following the proposal by one of El Salvador's main gangs to start a dialogue with the government that could end in the group's dissolution, several political leaders have expressed resistance to the offer.
The MS13 has called for negotiations with the government, which could include the dismantling of the gang, implying a drastic change in posture since four years ago when the gang's national leadership refused to enter a dialogue about its possible dissolution.
The already heated fight between El Salvador's gangs and security forces began to resemble a low-intensity conflict in 2016, as the MS13 and Barrio 18 increasingly aligned against a government bent on destroying them in a battle that seemed to have everything you would expect in war except an ideology.