The Complete Organized Crime Database on the Americas
As Brazil works to project the image of a nation that is effectively addressing security challenges in its major cities, one important indicator -- internal displacement -- is being overlooked.
Hundreds of thousands of people in Mexico have been internally displaced due to violence perpetrated by organized crime groups but the majority have yet to receive adequate assistance from Mexican authorities, who have largely turned a blind eye to the problem.
Why is Latin America and the Caribbean so violent? InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley gave his answer at a recent conference on organized crime and displacement in the region.
Violence from organized crime groups is forcibly displacing hundreds of thousands of people in Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Stories of individuals having to flee their homes are rife, and recounted across society from the stylish cafes of the wealthy elite to the dusty pulperias (corner stores) in remote and humble neighborhoods. Few lives remain untouched by this epidemic of forced dislocation sweeping the region.
Rival politicians, and some press accounts, blame what they call the Obama administration’s lenient policy towards immigrant youth for luring thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America to the US. After hundreds of interviews with minors in El Salvador, researcher Elizabeth Kennedy* says the reason youth flee is simple: gang violence.
Two recent reports on internal displacement in Colombia have identified regions wracked by criminal disputes as the areas most affected by this phenomenon, suggesting that organized crime, rather than armed conflict, is now the biggest cause of displacement in the country.
The United States is seeing a flood of migrants -- many of them unaccompanied children -- from Central America, despite economic conditions leading to lower migration in the region as a whole. Could insecurity and organized crime be behind this Northern Triangle exodus?
A new report by Human Rights Watch documents the wave of violence sweeping the Colombia port city of Buenaventura, as rival gangs battle for control of this prime drug trafficking real estate, feeding massive displacement as citizens flee.
Insecurity in Mexico's northern states has prompted a flow of business migration to other areas of Mexico, demonstrating the internal economic effects crime can have on a country and raising concerns about Mexico's marginalized areas becoming caught in cycles of crime and poverty.
For some, it is their association with an enemy gang. For others, it is their community work. Some flee sexual abuse, forced recruitment, or extortion. But ultimately, every one of the thousands of people displaced within Medellin faces the same grim choice: Lose your house, job, and community -- or lose your life.