Insecurity in Central America

Jul 19, 2023 | Publications, Videos |

In this video, Érika Rodríguez Pinzón, director of the Multilateralism Area of the GATE Center, examines the problem of insecurity in Central America, which has a profound impact on the lives of citizens. This situation is closely related to the fact that many children drop out of school for fear of attending classes, as well as to migration and the difficulty of guaranteeing the basic needs of the population.

Organised crime is largely responsible for this situation, but there is also a gap and a lack of social policies to address the specific needs of those groups who face difficulties in leading a full life within the formal economy. This issue goes beyond the everyday and has become a fundamental aspect of citizens’ political decision-making, becoming a driver for political mobilisation.

In the case of El Salvador, this search for solutions has brought to power Nayib Bukele, a president whose policies have been the most radical, including the declaration of a state of emergency to combat insecurity, the creation of large prisons and the lack of legal security. These actions have had a direct impact on Salvadoran gangs, which depend on the very population they exploit. Their structure differs from typical organised crime, as they do not seek to hide from justice, but their struggle is internal between gangs. This has resulted in negotiation processes and the fragmentation of their organisational structures.

In the long term, it is difficult to determine whether these policies can be sustained because of their economic cost and social impact, as well as democratic limits. Democracy clearly suffers in this situation. It is also difficult to extrapolate these measures from El Salvador to other Central American countries.

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