HomeNewsBriefMurders of Guatemala Bus Drivers Double in 2013
BRIEF

Murders of Guatemala Bus Drivers Double in 2013

EXTORTION / 29 JUL 2013 BY MIRIAM WELLS EN

Murders of public transport drivers in Guatemala more than doubled in the first six months of 2013 compared to the same period last year, a sign of rising peril in what is already one of the world's most dangerous professions.

A total of 97 bus, taxi and mototaxi drivers have been killed so far this year compared to 46 in the first six months of 2012, according to government figures reported by EFE.

Murders of women have also risen in the same period, from 263 in January to June 2012 to 354 this year. Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla attributed this to a rise in women's involvement in crime, reported Prensa Libre.

Meanwhile, a Public Ministry spokesperson said trash collectors and prostitutes working in the center of Guatemala City were being extorted by gangs. Up to $100 is being demanded from trash collectors weekly, while prostitutes are "taxed" between $15 and $20, according to officials.

InSight Crime Analysis

According to the government's figures, Guatemala has seen a rise in all murders of around 7.5 percent during the first half of 2013 compared to 2012, following a significant drop in the homicide rate over the last three years. However the massive leap in deaths of transport workers goes far beyond this, illustrating how drivers face disproportionate levels of danger. According to trade association Coordinadora Nacional de Transporte, more than a thousand drivers were killed by organized criminals between 2006 and 2012.

Extortion is a major income source for the principal street gangs in Guatemala, the Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio 18, as well as smaller organizations, and transport workers are an easy target. The fact that even low-income street workers are being targeted illustrates just how entrenched extortion is at all levels of Guatemalan society.

The rise in the number of murders of women also exceeds the overall upwards trend in murders, but it is dangerous to write this off as simply a result of more women becoming involved in crime, as the minister attempted to do. 

One theory for the uptick in murders is that the maras are attempting to show their strength in order to pressure the government into giving gang leaders special treatment in jails or even agree to negotiations like those seen in El Salvador.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

HOMICIDES / 4 AUG 2021

Families combing for clues about their vanished loved ones at recently discovered extermination sites in northern Mexico have turned to…

BARRIO 18 / 14 SEP 2022

In the mountains of Michoacán, Mexico, Carlos was trained to become a ruthless soldier for the Cárteles Unidos.

ELITES AND CRIME / 20 OCT 2021

The killing of four young people in Paraguay’s border city of Pedro Juan Caballero has led back to an imprisoned…

About InSight Crime

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…