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Homicides in Guatemala: The Challenge and Lessons of Disaggregating Gang-Related and Drug Trafficking-Related Murders

United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

  • 5 April 2018
  • Posted by: Nicolas Devia
  • Number of views: 294
  • 0 Comments
Homicides in Guatemala: The Challenge and Lessons of Disaggregating Gang-Related and Drug Trafficking-Related Murders

Facing concerning rates of homicide in their countries, the Latin American governments often enact “mano dura” or hardline policies against violence. Those short term remedies to the homicide epidemic in the region are popular and a justification for the use of force on civilians, as well for the increased investment on the armed forces and police departments. Through a discursive process similar to the securitization, governments point the finger at a certain group to rally support for their reactive policies. In Guatemala, the executive branch has made those type of allegations targeting gangs and drug trafficking organizations. The purpose of this study is to determine if those agents are in fact the ones driving the homicide rates in the country. It is imperative to understand the dynamics of homicide to invest carefully in the sectors it is truly needed instead than on the ones that are popular. This is even more important for countries that due to their lack of economic resources need to profit the most form their investments.

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