HomeNewsBriefOrganized Crime Fueling Displacement in Central America
BRIEF

Organized Crime Fueling Displacement in Central America

DISPLACEMENT / 17 OCT 2012 BY CLAIRE O NEILL MCCLESKEY EN

Researchers from the International Center for Migrant Human Rights (CIDEHUM) say that organized crime and violence have overtaken armed conflict as the main causes of displacement in Central America.

According to CIDEHUM, while there has always been high migration from Central America due to economic reasons, now many people are leaving to flee violence and forcible recruitment by criminal gangs.

The hardest hit area is in the region known as the "northern triangle" of Central America, which includes Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

In an interview with the EFE, the CIDEHUM Director Gabriela Rodriguez compared the displacement happening now to that which occurred in the 70s and 80s as a result of civil war in the region, although today's victims are less visible and thus more vulnerable.

Rodriguez also stated that some migrants who are deported back to their country of origin after reaching the United States or other Central American countries say that returning home is a "death sentence" for them.

InSight Crime Analysis

The CIDEHUM found that in 2011 there were 5.6 million Latin Americans living in displacement, mostly in Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, and Peru. Forced displacement due to armed conflict has a long history in Latin America, but today many are forced to flee because of criminal, rather than political violence. Central American states must contend not only with local gangs, such as MS-13 and Barrio 18 in El Salvador, but the incursion of Mexican criminal groups, such as the Zetas' aggressive expansion into Guatemala.

In addition to facing the threat of violence or forced displacement from organized crime, Central Americans are often caught in the crossfire between criminal groups and government anti-organized crime efforts. In August 2011, at least 200 people from the north Guatemalan province of Peten sought refuge across the Mexican border after Guatemalan security forces repotedly accused them of collaborating with drug traffickers and burnt down their homes.

[Read InSight Crime's special on displacement in Latin America]

 

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

COVID AND CRIME / 23 NOV 2020

El Salvador authorities have launched a criminal investigation into the government’s coronavirus pandemic spending, marking the severest legal action to…

CACHIROS / 16 APR 2021

A string of bumper cocaine seizures on the Honduras Atlantic has provided a stark reminder of the region's importance in…

COCAINE / 16 FEB 2021

In Copán – a major transit point for cocaine – drug trafficking groups collaborate with local authorities to smuggle narcotics over the department’s porous western border with Guatemala.

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…