Extortion

Extortion plagues much of Latin America. The pernicious crime plays out in many ways, and citizens suffer.

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Loan Sharks Circle as Latin America Reels From Pandemic

BRIEF / 3 FEB 2021

As workers across Latin America struggle to stay afloat amid economic strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, loan sharks offering abusive interest rates have cornered the market, forcing workers seeking…

Guatemala’s Anti-Extortion Plan: A Legacy of Unkept Promises

ANALYSIS / 29 JAN 2021

It was one of Alejandro Giammattei’s most emphatic promises. One year later, the Interior Ministry supported his strategy to reduce extortions by cutting off access to communication devices among the…

Shrimp Gangs Rob, Extort, Kill in Ecuador

BRIEF / 2 JAN 2021

The persistent robbery, extortion, assault and even murder of shrimp farm workers by armed gangs in Ecuador has led the shrimp sector to once more demand gun reforms, in a…

Intercepts Show How Brazil Police Extort PCC

INVESTIGATIONS / 18 DEC 2020

“Plata o Plomo” is an overused phrase to describe the way criminals threaten officials and civilians to ensure compliance with their wishes. In one Brazilian case, it seems more appropriately…

Contraband Turns to Bloodshed Between Ecuador and Peru

BRIEF / 17 NOV 2020

A series of assassinations on Ecuador’s southern border with Peru have been attributed to gang members fighting for control of the illegal crossings by which both people and contraband are…

From Predators to Partners: How Gangs are Taking San Salvador

INVESTIGATIONS / 1 OCT 2020

This is the second part of a three-part series on San Salvador’s Historic Center, the heart of the country’s informal urban markets and a long-time bastion of the street gangs.