News network Al Jazeera has published a series of articles on organized crime and drug violence in Central America, with reporting from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.
Al Jazeera’s reporter Lucia Newman visited a training academy for Guatemalan special forces, known as Kaibiles, some former members of which have been recruited by organized criminal groups like the Mexico-based Zetas.
Another report looks at El Salvador, which now has the highest murder rate in the western hemisphere. Newman visited a clinic run by a priest, which tries to help former gang members rejoin society by removing their tattoos, which mark the bodies and faces of many people in groups like the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13). (See video report below).
In Honduras, Monica Villamizar reports from the province of Colon, on the Caribbean coast, where she says many landowners are forming alliances with drug traffickers.
The reports paint a gloomy picture of a region which has become a paradise for drug trafficking due to its strategic position between South American drug producer countries and Mexico cartels, aided by endemic corruption and poverty.