Jamaica announced that it has cut its murder rate almost by half, with 236 murders in the first quarter of 2011, compared to 426 in the same period last year. This follows a government drive to reduce crime, with the security forces moving into areas ruled by criminal gangs, the BBC reports. However, some non-governmental bodies say that abuses by the security forces are on the rise. Jamaicans for Justice says that such abuses have shot up 41 percent, reports the Jamaican Gleaner – comparable to the figure by which murders have gone down.
- Rising violence in Central America, caused by drug cartels and street gangs, has a big impact on economies in the region, the World Bank said Thursday. The instability may reduce the GNP by 8 percent across the region, with costs in terms of health care, private security, and weakened institutions. In El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, high homicide rates make the cities very dangerous and undermine governments. The prevalence of drug trafficking means that corruption is deeply embedded into the system.
- In other news, the crisis between Ecuador and the U.S is deepening. The U.S government expelled Ecuador’s ambassador to Washington, Luis Gallegos, in response to the Ecuadorian government doing the same to its representative. The spat came after a WikiLeaks’ release of a diplomatic cable sent by U.S. ambassador in Quito Heather Hodges said that the corruption in the Ecuadorian Police is widespread and that President Rafael Correa should have been aware of this when he named the police chief Jaime Aquilino Hurtado, La Hora reports.