On July 16, InSight Crime published Elites and Organized Crime in Nicaragua, a deep dive into the relationships between criminal actors and elites in that Central American nation. This is the fourth and final case study for the Elites and Organized Crime series, which was sponsored by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of the Canadian government. Other case studies explored criminal-elite relationships in Guatemala, Honduras and Colombia.
The series had a huge impact. Throughout the region, the investigations became touchstones for other investigators, journalists and policymakers seeking to make sense of these connections. Internally, the series altered our optic: We increasingly view crime from the top down, rather just from the bottom up. To be sure, some of the most entrenched networks not only work with elites, they are the elites. What’s more, elite crime makes all the crime-fighting institutions weaker through corruption, malfeasance and systematic depravity of resources.