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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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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...

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...

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: 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.

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.

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...

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...

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: 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...

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...