State and Community Responses to Extortion

EL SALVADOR / 30 APR 2019

Many victims, especially those in the Northern Triangle nations of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, feel powerless to fight back against extortion. The fear generated by the powerful street gangs within communities tends to assure that once they are threatened, most people pay up, or hand over what is being demanded.

States across the region are also struggling to slow this growing criminal enterprise and, in many cases, their responses have made matters worse.

But there are exceptions to both across the region. In this section, we outline some of the ways that communities and states have resisted or responded to extortion throughout Central America.

Chapter 1

Municipalities Fight Back in Guatemala’s Gang-Preyed Upon Neighborhoods

BARRIO 18 / 26 APR 2019

On the outskirts of Guatemala City lie impoverished neighborhoods, home to millions who commute to work in the capital city. These so-called “dorm cities,” long neglected by the state and lacking in…

Chapter 2

How the Private Sector Helped Counter Rural Extortion in El Salvador

EL SALVADOR / 26 APR 2019

El Salvador’s sugarcane industry and the national police have succeeded in reining in extortion in the countryside by way of a private-public partnership that stands as a potential blueprint for rural economic actors to follow across…

Chapter 3

Honduras Private Sector and Anti-Extortion Police: An Unholy Alliance?

EXTORTION / 30 APR 2019

Honduras’ private sector, under the banner of regional chambers of commerce, joined forces with the country’s elite anti-extortion unit in what was a fruitful collaboration. But the collaboration between businessmen…

Chapter 4

In El Salvador, a Thin Line Between Community Policing and Vigilantism

EL SALVADOR / 30 APR 2019

Authorities in El Salvador are keen to expand a much-praised local policing model believed to have helped two rural communities tackle bloody gang control. But a visit to the areas revealed a…

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