Archive for Drug Trade

Violence in Guatemala

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on May 10, 2019 by dsmith41

Emma Lightizer

In the last half of the twentieth century, Guatemala was defined by its 36-year-long civil war and the genocide it committed against indigenous Maya in the 1980s (Martin). Today, violence against women and indigenous people, drug trafficking, gang activity, and weak or corrupt state and local authorities present persistent risks to people’s personal security.

            Drug-trafficking organizations and Central American gangs are not the same thing, but both do exist in Guatemala. Gangs like the Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio 18 cause many of the same violent problems in Guatemala as they do in other Central American countries: territory disputes, rape, murder, extortion, and robbery. However, drug-trafficking organizations have a special interest in Guatemala because the country’s position just south of Mexico’s border makes it a crucial pathway for the transit of drugs into the United States (Martínez 46). Traditionally, drug-trafficking work was outsourced to local gang cliques or independent drug traffickers in the country. In recent years, though, Mexican drug-trafficking organizations have built a stronger and more constant physical presence in Guatemala, claiming several towns and cities as their territories (Martínez 163). The introduction of the Zetas, an especially violent Mexican drug-trafficking organization, has greatly reduced citizens’ security in the city of Alta Verapaz as well as the other areas where they operate (Martínez 50).

            Drug-related violence also extends to state and local authorities. For example, in 2013, every police officer present in an entire station was killed in retaliation for the arrest of a drug trafficker’s son (Martínez 145). The “Massacre of Salcajá,” as the event was called, initiated the launch of an investigation, openly called “Operation Dignity,” but it was ineffective in ending the control that narcotraffickers had over the region (Martínez 153). Police and other authorities in Guatemala are often too weak to do much to control drug traffickers, and impunity runs wild as a result.

Instead of getting tangled up with strong organizations, Guatemalan authorities often target weaker, individual drug-traffickers or poor “campesino” farmers they accuse of growing drugs and invading protected forest land (Martínez 64). This gives authorities the advantage of looking like they’re dealing with the problem while simultaneously not risking a firefight with large-scale organizations (Martínez 66). In some localities, this is also the result of corrupt politicians who explicitly work with larger drug-trafficking organizations to secure a monopoly on the trade in their area (Martínez 70). This has meant that many poor and indigenous farmers have been accused of working with drug traffickers and have been kicked off their land and deprived of their livelihoods (Martínez 73).

In addition to these types of violence that affect all Guatemalans, there are particular dangers for women and indigenous people. Guatemala is the country with the third highest rate of femicide globally, and women are also very likely to be victims of rape and domestic violence (Johnson). The impunity that exists for other crimes in Guatemala extends to violence against women, but is perhaps even more intense due to a widespread indifference to the human rights of women. This means that women generally do not receive protection from the state, while they are simultaneously at a higher risk of becoming victims of violence (Johnson). In some cases, local authorities are even complicit or feign ignorance to allow sex trafficking rings to maintain operation. For example, the Barberena ring in southern Guatemala operated for several years while local police officers enjoyed the status of “VIP clients” and took part in the rape and sexual assault of the women held there (Martínez 219).

Indigenous people, and especially Maya, are common targets of kidnapping, assault, and murder (Martin). They are also frequently among those campesinos who are kicked off their land and accused of being narcos. Recent up-ticks in violence against indigenous people, and especially against indigenous activists, have brought about concerns of a return to the cycle of violence that initiated the genocide of Maya people in the 1980s (Martin).

Bibliography:

Johnson, Sarah. “Can Health Workers Stop Thousands of Women Being Killed in Guatemala?” The Guardian. March 07, 2018. Accessed May 10, 2019. https://www.theguardian.com/healthcare-network/2018/mar/07/health-workers-stop-thousand-women-killed-guatemala-femicide.

Martin, Maria. “Killings Of Guatemala’s Indigenous Activists Raise Specter Of Human Rights Crisis.” NPR. January 22, 2019. Accessed May 10, 2019. https://www.npr.org/2019/01/22/685505116/killings-of-guatemalas-indigenous-activists-raise-specter-of-human-rights-crisis.

Martínez, Óscar Enrique. A History of Violence: Living and Dying in Central America. London: Verso, 2017.

Further Reading:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/guatemalas-bloody-battle-with-mexican-drug-cartels-6257571.html

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-guatemala-humantrafficking/guatemala-closes-its-eyes-to-rampant-child-sex-trafficking-u-n-idUSKCN0YU29V

https://www.npr.org/2019/01/22/685505116/killings-of-guatemalas-indigenous-activists-raise-specter-of-human-rights-crisis

https://www.insightcrime.org/investigations/guatemalas-small-businesses-pot-of-gold/

Overview of the Latin American Drug Trade, 1970s-Present

Posted in Mexico, US-Latin America Relations with tags , , , , , , on April 11, 2019 by dsmith41

David Smith

Today, people in the United States consume at least $100 billion in illicit drugs per year, making it easily the largest drug market in the world. The staples of the illicit drug economy have historically been marijuana, cocaine, heroin, with methamphetamine, fentanyl, and other prescription pills joining more recently. Drug culture and the drug trade in the United States has existed at least since the mid-nineteenth century, but the episode most relevant to today’s circumstances involves the drug revolution of the 1960’s in which some US citizens increasingly consumed massive amounts of illicit substances, and their government responded by fighting a war against it. As the War on Drugs has played out, it has become increasingly apparent that governments across the hemisphere are losing this war (or unwilling to win it), as the demand has never been higher for illicit substances. Tracking how the drug trade has evolved and why it has been so difficult to stop are necessary considerations to understanding the current conflicts that exist in the US, Mexico, and Central America today.

In the 1970’s and 1980’s, the foreign actors who most capitalized on the potential of United States’ drug markets were the notorious Colombian cartels. Mexican smugglers, especially those from Sinaloa, had been smuggling contraband into the United States for decades. But when the United States targeted Sinaloa with crop eradication programs, production and distribution shifted to Colombia. The emergence of the Colombian cartels with their cocaine and marijuana signaled a significant development in the global drug trade, and the illicit cocaine trade to the United States exploded as organizations like the Medellin cartel started investing in mass coca production in the Andes during the 1970s and 1980s. As the Colombian cartels consolidated their trafficking operations, people in the United States were developing an insatiable demand for cocaine, marijuana, and heroin. Most people know the basics of Pablo Escobar and the rise of the Medellin cartel as they pumped drugs into the United States through Miami and made untold amounts of money, and many people know about his downfall and the dismantling of the Medellin cartel. The United States and the Colombian government worked in tandem to take down Escobar and his cartel as a part of the War on Drugs, but even as they took down the major cocaine kingpins in Colombia, the trade never ceased. In fact, despite spending billions of dollars trying to fight these cartels in an intensely violent chapter of Colombia, the cocaine trade from the Andes only increased over time. Instead of disappearing, the cocaine trade, as well as the marijuana and the heroin trade, evolved and adapted by moving drugs through the US-Mexico border as opposed to the coast of Florida. People who traded it became savvier and less traceable in their activities, and, ultimately,  the bulk of the drug trade was inherited by Mexican organizations after the fall of the Colombian cartels. This shift in power and profits from Colombians to Mexicans in the late 1980s- early 1990s is critical to understanding the modern drug trade.

Mexican families in Sinaloa have had a long history of trafficking marijuana and opium into the United States, but the formation of the modern cartel structure we see today did not begin until the Colombian kingpins had fallen, making drug profits up-for-grabs. As a result of US interference in the Colombian trade to the coast of Miami, Mexicans had picked up considerable influence in trafficking drugs across the expansive land border. As consumers in the United States continued buying drugs, drug trafficking corridors between the US and Mexico became priceless. Eventually, various cartels would fight for territory in a series of wars that has rocked Mexico since 2006, conflicts responsible for at least 160,000 deaths and tens of thousands of more disappearances.

A critical turn in the conflict was with the 2006 election of Felipe Calderón to the Mexican presidency. He declared that the government would fight the drug cartels, but this decision sparked an escalation in violence that has developed into the wars we’ve seen over the last decade-and-a-half. Despite all the efforts against it, violence continues to erupt around the drug trade, and the entire hemisphere is facing a series of crises related to drugs. Heroin, and now fentanyl, have never been more widely used in the United States. The cocaine trade remains one of the most profitable in the world. Mexican cartels still control the vast majority of the trade, but these cartels have fractured and splintered into more elusive, localized entities in response to conflict amongst each other and the governments of the US and Mexico. There is also some evidence that some of the profits from the trade might be flowing more towards central American gangs, but the relationship and differences between Mexican Cartels and Central American gangs is incredibly complex and ever-evolving.

Traditionally, Central America has played the transportista role in the cocaine trade from the Andes to the United States. When smuggling routes shifted from coastal routes to the US/Mexico land border, drug traffickers needed places and people in Central America to stash and move their drugs North. While the vast majority of profits went to the cartels responsible for transporting the drugs across the US border, the profits from these transportista networks were incentives enough for everyone from poor farmers to wealthy elite families to become involved with trafficking cocaine through Central America. Central American gangs like MS-13 and Barrio 18 in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras have a limited role in trafficking drugs. These organizations can serve as muscle for drug trafficking operations and can accumulate localized power, but the majority of the drug trade through Central America is run through well-connected, elite families who have operatives throughout the insidiously corrupt governments and are often tied to the former military regimes of these countries. For example, the Honduran president’s brother was arrested in Miami on drug trafficking charges.

As has been historically demonstrated, by the time there enough information to make conclusions about drug-trafficking organizations, their alliances, and their conflicts, the situations will have changed. Cartels and gangs who traffic drugs have embedded themselves in national political and economic structures across the region. Corruption and drug money in the Mexican federal government, police, and military is astoundingly profound. Central American governments are notoriously corrupted by the drug trade. US Customs and Border Patrol has also experienced serious problems with corruption. While there is emerging hope for a profound shift in US drug policy, efforts to pursue alternative approaches to the prohibitionist model remain quagmired. As it stands now, the drug trade and the violence that accompanies everyone and everywhere it encounters remains one of the most serious national security threats to nations across the Western Hemisphere, but it is clear that this problem can not be completely or even partially solved by the construction of a wall when the fact that around 80% of the drugs imported into the United States happens through legal US border checkpoints.

Sources: Gootenberg, Paul. Andean Cocaine: The Making of a Global Drug. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2008.

Benjamin, T. Smith. “The Rise and Fall of Narcopopulism: Drugs, Politics, and Society in Sinaloa, 1930-1980.” Journal for the Study of Radicalism 7, no. 2 (2013): 125-65. (JSTOR)

Linton, Magnus. “Pablo’s Party: The State Gets Cancer.” Translated by John Eason. In Cocaina: A Book on Those Who Make It, 107-59. Berkeley, CA: Soft Skull Press, 2014.

Further Reading:

  1. For brief estimates of how much the US spends on drugs, see https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_briefs/RB9700/RB9770/RAND_RB9770.pdf
  2. For useful graphs that display trends in global drug use, see https://www.unodc.org/wdr2017/field/WDR_2017_presentation_lauch_version.pdf
  3. For more information about the history and development of the Sinaloa cartel, see https://www.insightcrime.org/mexico-organized-crime-news/sinaloa-cartel-profile/
  4. To read more about Colombia’s cocaine production in the present day, see https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/20/world/americas/cocaine-colombia.html
  5. For a brief timeline with facts about the drug wars in Mexico, see https://www.cnn.com/2013/09/02/world/americas/mexico-drug-war-fast-facts/index.html.
  6. For a detailed report on Mexican trafficking organizations and the present situation in Mexico’s Drug War, see June Beittels’s Congressional report https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R41576.pdf
  7. For more information on Mexico’s Drug war with helpful maps, graphs, and explanations, see the Council on Foreign Relation’s report https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/mexicos-drug-war

CIA-Contra Connection

Posted in US-Latin America Relations with tags , , , , , on April 2, 2019 by dsmith41

David Smith

In 1979, the leftist Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) overthrew the Nicaraguan government that the United States had supported. Many people in Washington, including the incoming president Ronald Reagan, thought Jimmy Carter had been too soft on communism in Nicaragua. The incoming administration vowed to fight Central American communism much more enthusiastically, and one of their goals was to overthrow the new Sandinista regime. Congress, however, had passed laws prohibiting the government from funding the Contras, the right-wing paramilitary resistance to the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. In order to circumvent licit funding from Congress, the Reagan administration devised illegal schemes to provide the funds necessary to continue their proxy war in Nicaragua. The most notable of these illegal schemes is the Iran-Contra affair in which Oliver North and the Reagan administration sold weapons to Iran and then funneled the proceeds to the Contras without any Congressional oversight. The Contras were also linked to selling the first batches of cocaine that were turned into “crack,” or cocaine hydrochloride, in Los Angeles so that they could increase their war chest. Whether or not the CIA organized and directed these drug deals has been the subject of much inquiry and speculation since the Contra-crack connection has been established, and what can be concluded is that the CIA was complicit or extremely irresponsible in the Contras crack cocaine networks in the poorer communities of Los Angeles. The CIA-Contra connection is very important for a few reasons. It reveals truths about the Central American Cold War and the War on Drugs that are difficult to reconcile with the professed morality of such wars. While the Iran-Contra affair is obviously a massive chapter in modern US history, the Contra-cocaine connection has stunning implications for 1980s US-Central America relations.

The only reason we know about the Contra drug ring in Los Angeles is due to the reporting of Gary Webb. In 1995, Webb published a 3-part story in which he detailed the connections between the Contras and a man by the name of “Freeway” Rick Ross. As the story goes, Norwin Meneses and Oscar Blandon, two Contras, came to San Francisco with the direction to sell a bunch of cocaine. The Contras didn’t know how to sell the cocaine, so they tried their luck further south, in Los Angeles. Around the time the Contras were in Los Angeles, some people had begun experimenting with cooking cocaine into “crack,” or adding baking soda to cocaine in order to make a cheaper, smokable form of the drug. When the Contras got to Los Angeles, they encountered a young, street-wise entrepreneur names Rick Ross. Ross bought the Contras’ cocaine, cooked it into crack, and then sold it to gangs in Los Angeles, creating an infamous empire in the process. Thus, the crack cocaine epidemic that ravaged Los Angeles and other black communities across the country was started, in part, by a Central American para-military that was sponsored by the CIA. Webb’s reporting never definitively established that CIA directed these activities or knew about the specific drug ring in Los Angeles, but there is evidence that the Reagan administration knew that the Contras were involved in drug-trafficking operations. There is much speculation as to how these Contras were able to transport the amount of drugs they did with the aircraft that they did and go unmolested by authorities in the United States for decades.

Here, we see what could be considered a paradoxical intersection between the Cold War and the War on Drugs in the 1980s. In one sense, you have the United States funding paramilitary activities against a Communist regime, which is normal and expected. On the other hand, the United States is involved in a regional, even global, War on Drugs in order to stop the flow of illicit substances into the United States. However, with the CIA-Contra scandal, the Reagan administration clearly violates it’s prohibitionist approach towards drugs and drug traffickers and uses them to help fund their unsuccessful war on communism in Nicaragua. At the same time that tens of thousands of black people across the county are suffering from an addiction to crack cocaine and being incarcerated for it by the US government, the CIA was working with the drug traffickers responsible for selling the cocaine that sparked the epidemic. For obvious reasons, this hypocrisy outraged the South Los Angeles community, and the response was so forceful that it required an unprecedented response from the CIA chief.

Source: Scott, Peter Dale and Jonathan Marshall, Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), 23-50

Further Reading:

  1. For a history of the Sandinista Revolution and its origins, motives, and consequences, see https://vianica.com/go/specials/15-sandinista-revolution-in-nicaragua.html
  2. For access to an Iran-Contra affairs database compiled by Brown University that explains the facts and Congressional investigations, see https://www.brown.edu/Research/Understanding_the_Iran_Contra_Affair/iran-contra-affairs.php
  3. To see the evidence that supports the conclusion that the US government was aware of the drug trafficking activities of the Contra army and explores memos written by government officials, as well as testimony from Contra drug dealers, see https://www.brown.edu/Research/Understanding_the_Iran_Contra_Affair/iran-contra-affairs.php
  4. To read Gary Webb’s original reporting on the CIA-Contra-Los Angeles crack connections, see https://www.mega.nu/ampp/webb.html
  5. To read about how “Freeway” Rick Ross grew up in Los Angeles and built an empire from crack cocaine, see https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/jpz79y/a-drug-kingpin-and-his-racket-the-untold-story-of-freeway-rick-ross
  6. To read about the meeting between the Los Angeles community and the Chief of the CIA in 1996, see https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1996/11/16/cia-chief-faces-angry-crowd-at-los-angeles-meeting-on-drug-allegations/d6d7dcaa-c429-4feb-94d6-496717211916/?utm_term=.1f53d93f0a67

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U.S. Drug Policy in Latin America (1970-Present)

Posted in Mexico, US-Latin America Relations with tags , , , , , , on April 2, 2019 by dsmith41

Sarah Tosto

As the global demand for drugs by United States increased, who is now the number one consumer of drugs with 50% consumption of the $150 billion of the world drug supply, came the declaration of the War on Drugs in the 1980’s as drugs became a “national security threat.” Conveniently for the U.S. during this time period, most Latin American countries had been under severe economic stress and were in desperate need of debt relief. In addition to economic stress, these Latin American countries showed similar political instability and lack of government protection from the drug cartels. This failure of government led to the rise of leftist guerilla groups and paramilitaries.  From here on out, the United States implemented drug policies that economically incentivized the crack down of drug production in Latin America and helped Latin American countries fight opposition groups. This supply-side approach to drug eradication, however, resulted in failure due to the idiosyncratic nature of the drug economy in that demand never falters. These policies ended up highly militarizing the War on Drugs in Latin American, bringing unprecedented levels of violence.

Mexico and Colombia are two countries that have become increasingly violent after the United States’ foreign policy and aid. The article The U.S.- Mexico War on Narcotics: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back, discusses the introduction of the Merida Initiative in 2007 in which the United States provided over $2.5 billion to the Mexican government for narcotics detection resources, training of justice sector personnel, crop eradication efforts, and other anti-narcotic strategies (Logia, 2017). Between 2008 and 2010 they received over $300 million in foreign military assistance which only moved through the corrupt government into the hands of the cartels (Logia, 2017). In response to this corruption, paramilitaries emerged and acted as a task force to protect citizens from cartel violence. This created a new wave of violence in Mexico after 2007 and has led to the deaths of over 200,000 since the help of the U.S. and the militarization of the drug war.

In Colombia, we see the Andean Initiative taking on a similar role in supply-side policy approach without the acknowledgement of paramilitary groups. The article Andean Regional Initiative: A Policy Fated to Fail discusses the 35-year history of internal conflict from leftist groups (the FARC) and guerilla groups (paramilitaries). The FARC came to power in the 1960’s during times of poverty, political exclusion of the masses, lack of confidence in the state, and violence towards the rural population. They protected the rural population against the government’s eradication efforts. In efforts to fight the FARC, the Colombian military, with the aid of the United States, allowed paramilitaries to escalate the violence and human rights abuses in order to comply with the drug eradication effort. The increased militarization, with the help of the U.S., has led to the doubling of politically motivated homicide between 1998 and 2000—to almost 20 murders per day (Amatangelo, 2005). In 2000, almost 85% of these murders were attributed to state agents and paramilitary groups, with the remaining 15% attributed to guerrilla groups (Amatangelo, 2005).

The United States was able to outsource their anti-drug efforts through economic incentives and increased military aid. These policies, however, proved to be a failure in the eradication of drugs and often led to increased violence, deaths, and human rights violations in Latin American countries. The failures of these policies can be attributed to the supply-side approach used by the United States. In the article US War on Drugs and Its Legacy in Latin America the article goes in depth about the issues created in Andean Countries as well as Mexico and suggests policy reform as a way to diminish violence in these areas.The United States should implement policy that acknowledges human rights violations and the victims of cartel violence (Huey, 2014). The U.S. should also soften their marijuana drug policy so task forces can focus resources on harder drugs (Huey, 2014). Latin American countries could also benefit from the taxation of marijuana for their economies and be less reliant on foreign aid (Huey, 2014). Without policy change, Latin American countries will continue to fight this war at the cost of their citizens.  

Bibiliography

Amatangelo, G. (2005). Andean Regional Initiative: A Policy Fated to Fail. Foreign Policy in

Focus. Retrieved from https://fpif.org/andean_regional_initiative_a_policy_fated_to_fail/

Huey, D. (2014). US War on Drugs and Its Legacy in Latin America. The Guardian.

Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2014/feb/03/us-war-on-drugs-impact-in-latin-american

Logia, L. (2017). The U.S.-Mexico War on Narcotics: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back.

Global Americans. Retrieved from https://theglobalamericans.org/2017/08/u-s-mexico-

war-narcotics-one-step-forward-two-steps-back/

Central American Gangs and Drug Trafficking

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 2, 2019 by dsmith41

Monique Martin

The history of Central American gangs and drug trafficking is a complex one filled with murder and extortion. Often people believe that gangs and cartels are the same, but they are different. Gang members are given inferior jobs and serve as hired muscle for drug cartels. Due to their drug trade involvement being at lower risk, and their lack of ownership of drugs, they do not profit in the same way as cartels. Cartels mainly focus on drugs and in terms of economics gangs are far below them. Gangs mostly earn money through extortion and human trafficking. Moreover, gangs became powerful in Central America through the influence of the United States.

One of the most known Central American gang includes Mara Salvatrucha also referred to as MS-13. They are most known for their crude acts of violence all over Central America and have become one of the scapegoats for the United States to justify their resistants’ in allowing people from Central America into the U.S. MS-13 was founded in the 1980s in Los Angeles, California. By 2004 MS-13 had spread to about “42 states and Central America” (Wolf, 66). Gangs such as MS-13 are usually created as, “[F]irst a group of friends, an alternate “family,” a group for mutual protection” (Grillo, 198). When Hispanic people from El Salvador moved to Los Angeles they went in search of jobs and better lives. However, because of xenophobia and racism, they were isolated in society by the majority forcing them to find an alternative way to gain an income. Politicians have used these gangs to push narratives of narcoterrorism and, “[T]o capitalize on popular fear of terrorists and drug traffickers in order to mobilize support for foreign interventions against leftist regimes” (Scott & Marshall, 23). For years this specific gang has been used against Hispanics to help justify political agendas that garner support in baring Hispanics from immigrating to the U.S.

Young Hispanic males have been profiled as the aggressors of gang violence, but they are also the overwhelming victims of gang violence. People join gangs for protection from rival gangs, and protection from the gang presiding in their neighborhood. Moreover, males are “recruited at a young age including elementary school-aged children” (Farah, 63). Also, gangs are more appealing to impoverished young men. This does not mean a person being impoverished will inevitably join a gang. However, poverty can make gangs appear more appealing. On the other hand, some young men join gangs willingly partly because they have grown up around gang members, so these gang members are their only example of how men behave.  The violence these gang members can exude has been enabled through the access to guns legally purchased in the U.S and smuggled into Central America. Therefore, many politicians in Central America have advocated for the U.S to create stricter gun laws.

Women have also been victims of gang violence predominantly through human trafficking and domestic violence. Many women have been forced to marry gang members who supersede them in age. Women have also suffered sexual abuse by gang members. If a person reports an incident to the authorities, they would be murdered because the police often work with the gangs (Osten, Oct. 29, 2018). Just like men, women are forced into tough situations by gangs to survive.

All around most people who are not a part of gang life are subjected to extortion and if they refuse to pay they will be murdered. The conditions in Central America has caused people to desperately want to flee the country. “Due to the historically large amount of people seeking to leave… MS-13 quickly moved into the human smuggling business…”(Farah, 57). Gangs usually charge people hundreds of dollars to help them cross the border, which many people from poor economic backgrounds cannot afford. Therefore, people have recently traveled in a large caravan to cross the U.S border because when they travel in groups the gangs are less likely to attack them. Moreover, when they travel in groups it is free, so they do not have to pay gang members to help them cross the border. Overall, extortion and gang violence are prime contributors to why many people desperately want to leave Central America.

Bibliography

Farah, Douglas. “Central American Gangs: Changing Nature and New Partners.” Journal of International Affairs 66, no. 1 (2012): 53-67. 

Grillo, I. (2017). Gangster warlords: Drug dollars, killing fields, and the new politics of Latin America. New York: Bloomsbury Press.

Scott, Peter Dale and Jonathan Marshall, Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), 23-50 

Wolf, Sonja. “Mara Salvatrucha: The Most Dangerous Street Gang in the Americas?”. Latin American Politics and Society 54, no. 1 (2012): 65-99. 

External Sources

  • Children on the Run in Central America
    • This short documentary pertains to children of Central America and their experience growing up in Central America. It also discusses their journey leaving Central America and their experience in America.
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