Elites and organized crime cross paths in more than one way. This introductory section explains how and why we decided to spend three years investigating this dynamic in four different countries.
About this Project
Elites and Organized Crime is a multiyear project financed by the International Development Research Centre that investigates the dynamics between organized crime and elites in four countries: Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Colombia.
Organized crime is not an abstract concept for me. I grew up in Oak Park, a leafy suburb of Chicago with a population of about 60,000. In general, it was a very low crime city, which is perhaps why many mobsters made their homes there, among them Sam Mooney Giancana.
This InSight Crime project defines elites as: specific groups of people with a privileged position that allows them to control, direct or greatly influence the dynamics of community life in political, social, cultural and/or economic terms.
This project defines organized crime as: a structured group of people that associate on a regular and prolonged basis to benefit from illicit activities and illegal markets. This group can be local, national or transnational in nature, and its existence is maintained using violence and threats; corruption of public officials; and its influence on society,…
Organized crime and the violence associated with it is the preeminent problem in Latin America and the Caribbean today. The region is currently home to six of the most violent countries in the world that are not at war. Four of those countries are in Central America, where we centered our research. Public opinion polls…
This study focuses on four countries: Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Colombia. Each presents different challenges and opportunities for research, and makes its own contribution to our snapshot of elite groups and organized crime in the region.