The US State Department named seven Central American countries as havens for laundering the proceeds of drug trafficking and organized crime, and described the region as a main cocaine corridor for US markets, confirming the importance of Central America in the international drug trade.
Over the past several years, the United States has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on crime and violence prevention programs in Central America, with few evaluations of the impact of this investment. But one hotly debated study highlights the challenges of measuring security assistance outcomes, as well as the need for a greater body of analysis about the efficacy of such initiatives.
Two Honduran executives allegedly used a Panamanian business and a US bank to pay $2.5 million in bribes, suggesting that banks based in Panama and the United States may be involved in one of the biggest corruption cases in Honduras.
When it comes to Central America, all eyes are usually on the Northern Triangle. But 2016 saw local organized crime in Costa Rica and Panama -- traditionally oases of calm in the region -- enter unprecedented territory.