The Complete Organized Crime Database on the Americas
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.
Colombia's Constitutional Court has decreed that the National Victim's Registry must cover people displaced by the BACRIM, marking a victory for the thousands of Colombians forced from their homes due to criminal violence.
Three families from Soyapango, a municipality on the edge of El Salvador's capital, San Salvador, have been forced from their homes by gangs, in another indication of the challenges of maintaining the 15-month old gang truce in that country.
Mexico's government has pledged to focus renewed efforts on supporting the estimated 230,000 victims displaced by the country's violence last year, as international aid agencies await for the green light to begin assisting those "internal refugees" in need.
Colombia continues to have the world's largest internally displaced population, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC), with hundreds of thousands displaced in 2012 by the country's internal conflict and the activities of organized crime groups.
In April of this year, InSight Crime, with financing from the non-governmental organization Internews, met with journalists from four online news media organizations. The four represented the cream of the crop in terms of their online presence and focus, the presentation of their materials, and, of course, the quality of their investigations. And the meeting represented what we hope will be the beginning of a regional partnership with them covering the most pressing issue in the Americas: organized crime.
Researchers from the International Center for Migrant Human Rights (CIDEHUM) say that organized crime and violence have overtaken armed conflict as the main causes of displacement in Central America.
In the suburbs of El Salvador, in neighborhoods stained by Mara Salvatrucha or Barrio 18 graffiti, there are hundreds of abandoned, decaying houses. These houses tell the drama of the families who silently lived through their own history of violence: those displaced by gangs.
There are houses that talk. They scream things, recount bits and pieces of larger stories. One house has four rooms, a small terrace and a patio. From the fixtures that survived (ceramic floor, red brick decorating the outside walls, a red metal gate), one would say
Forced displacement has a long history in Latin America. For decades - and even centuries in some countries - entire villages, families and individuals have sought refuge in the nearest town or neighboring country, fleeing the crossfire between two groups and threats to their lives.