Posted inNews Environmental Crime

Gold Mining in Colombia Increasingly Tied to Organized Crime: Report

A recent report analyzing alluvial gold mining in Colombia suggests that the role of organized crime groups in this industry is larger than previously suspected. 

During a November 21 presentation, Candice Welsch, regional representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for the Andean and Southern Cone regions, detailed the organization’s findings on alluvial gold mining — gold deposits found on river banks and beds — across Colombia in 2022.

Posted inNews Security Policy

Honduras and El Salvador: Two States of Emergency With Very Different Results

El Salvador’s success in fighting gangs with a state of emergency inspired Honduras to do its own version, but one year on, two new reports suggest the country is seeing little results. 

Although Honduras President Xiomara Castro enacted a nationwide state of emergency that suspended constitutional rights and multiplied security forces’ efforts to crack down on the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) and Barrio 18 gangs, a December 5 report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) found that the country’s state of emergency had “yielded mixed results” and that violence against civilians has “continued unabated” in 2023.

Posted inInvestigations El Salvador

The Road to El Salvador’s State of Emergency

The road to El Salvador’s state of emergency has been long and bloody. The small Central American nation spent decades engulfed in some of the most intense spates of violence in the Western Hemisphere, as the country’s three main gangs — the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) and the two factions of the 18th Street, or Barrio 18 — waged bitter wars amongst themselves and security forces. In response, numerous governments employed so-called mano dura (iron fist) crackdowns that included widespread arrests and increasingly draconian laws.

Posted inInvestigations El Salvador

How Bukele’s Government Overpowered Gangs: Summary & Major Findings

Over the last nine months, InSight Crime investigated the gangs’ response to the state of emergency and analyzed what may happen next. We conducted over 100 interviews with sources in El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, the United States, and Honduras, including active and semi-retired gang members; security and prison officials; politicians; independent lawyers; and people detained during the state of emergency.