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Why Is Nicaragua 7 Times Less Violent Than Honduras?

Why Is Nicaragua 7 Times Less Violent Than Honduras?

A newspaper in violence-plagued Honduras investigated why Nicaragua enjoyed a much lower homicide rate and credited its neighbor's relatively professional and efficient police force for keeping the peace. But the answer isn't that simple.

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Nicaragua has been spared much of the violence that has shaken its neighbors, and while the country does appear to host at least one transnational criminal organization, so far it has not seen the kind of gang wars affecting the Northern Triangle countries: Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. While Nicaragua sees plenty of drug trafficking over its borders, local traffickers are nowhere close to presenting a regional threat. Most trafficking networks are based along the coastlines, especially the Atlantic side, although the Pacific and inland routes are also used to move cocaine shipments northwards.

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  • Why Is Nicaragua 7 Times Less Violent Than Honduras?

    Police officers in Nicaragua

    A newspaper in violence-plagued Honduras investigated why Nicaragua enjoyed a much lower homicide rate and credited its neighbor's relatively professional and efficient police force for keeping the peace. But the answer isn't that simple.

  • Nicaragua Releases 8,000 Inmates from Overcrowded Prisons

    Nicaragua's prisons are severely overcrowded

    Nicaragua has reportedly released the equivalent of 80 percent of its prison population over the last two years in a controversial measure to ease overcrowding that suffers from a lack of transparency.

  • Elites and Organized Crime: Conceptual Framework - Elites

    This InSight Crime project defines elites as: specific groups of people with a privileged position that allows them to control, direct or greatly influence the dynamics of community life in political, social, cultural and/or economic terms.

  • 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 of public officials; and its influence on society, politics and the economy.

  • Elites and Organized Crime: Methodology

    This study focuses on four countries: Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Colombia. Each presents different challenges and opportunities for research, and makes its own contribution to our snapshot of elite groups and organized crime in the region.

  • Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

    Organized crime and the violence associated with it is the preeminent problem in Latin America and the Caribbean today. The region is currently home to six of the most violent countries in the world that are not at war. Four of those countries are in Central America, where we centered our research. Public opinion polls also consistently show that crime and insecurity are at the top of the region’s concerns. Governments and multilaterals have channeled vast resources towards dealing with this issue, and international aid and humanitarian organizations have shifted their mandates to better confront its effects.

  • 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 Sam “Mooney” Giancana.

  • Head of Nicaragua Drug Trafficking Ring Sentenced in Costa Rica

    Head of the Tarzanes, Agustin Reyes Aragon

    A court in Costa Rica has sentenced the head of Nicaragua drug trafficking group the Tarzanes, a reflection of the criminal organization's operational presence in this neighboring Central American country. 

  • Nicaragua Govt Says Police were Ambushed, Killed

    A commemorative event for slain Nicaraguan police

    Five police officers were killed in a notorious drug trafficking hub in Nicaragua, an unusual outbreak of violence in one of Central America's most peaceful nations. 

  • US and Central America's Top Law Enforcement Officials Meet

    Top law enforcement officials from seven Central American countries met with the US Attorney General to discuss rising violence, drug-trafficking, and organized crime, underscoring how seriously the US now views security concerns in the region. 

Investigations

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Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Colombia Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

The power of Colombia's elites is founded upon one of the most unequal divisions of land in the world. As of the early 21st century, one percent of landowners own more than half the country's agricultural land.1  Under Spanish rule, Colombia's agriculture was organized on the hacienda...

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Honduras Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Honduras is currently one of the most violent countries on the planet that is not at war. The violence is carried out by transnational criminal organizations, local drug trafficking groups, gangs and corrupt security forces, among other actors. Violence is the focal point for the international aid...

Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Elites and Organized Crime: Introduction

Organized crime and the violence associated with it is the preeminent problem in Latin America and the Caribbean today. The region is currently home to six of the most violent countries in the world that are not at war. Four of those countries are in Central America...

Special Report: Gangs in Honduras

Special Report: Gangs in Honduras

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...

Bolivia: the New Hub for Drug Trafficking in South America

Bolivia: the New Hub for Drug Trafficking in South America

Transnational organized crime likes opportunities and little resistance. Bolivia currently provides both and finds itself at the heart of a new criminal dynamic that threatens national and citizen security in this landlocked Andean nation.

Justice and the Creation of a Mafia State in Guatemala

Justice and the Creation of a Mafia State in Guatemala

As Guatemala's Congress gears up to select new Supreme Court Justices and appellate court judges, InSight Crime is investigating how organized crime influences the selection process. This story details the interests of one particular political bloc vying for control over the courts and what's at stake: millions...

The FARC 2002-Present: Decapitation and Rebirth

The FARC 2002-Present: Decapitation and Rebirth

In August 2002, the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) greeted Colombia's new president with a mortar attack that killed 14 people during his inauguration. The attack was intended as a warning to the fiercely anti-FARC newcomer. But it became the opening salvo of...

The Urabeños - The Criminal Hybrid

The Urabeños - The Criminal Hybrid

The mad scramble for criminal power in the aftermath of the demobilization of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) is over. The Urabeños, or as they prefer to call themselves, the "Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia," have won.

Mexico's Security Dilemma: The Battle for Michoacan

Mexico's Security Dilemma: The Battle for Michoacan

Faced with the government's failure to rein in the criminals, communities across crime-besieged Mexico have been trying for years to organize effective civic resistance. Michoacan's vigilantes express the most extreme response by society to date, but other efforts have been less belligerent. In battle-torn cities along the...

Uruguay's Marijuana Bill Faces Political, Economic Obstacles

Uruguay's Marijuana Bill Faces Political, Economic Obstacles

If Uruguay's proposal to regulate the production, sale and distribution of marijuana is properly implemented and overcomes political and economic hurdles, it could be the most important drug regulation experiment in decades.