Latin America and the Caribbean is considered to be the most violent region in the world. Despite widespread gains in education, poverty reduction, and living standards, Latin American countries continue to have disproportionately high rates of violent crime. Some may find this puzzling, since many of these countries have particularly powerful military and police forces. This then raises the question: Why haven't new policing strategies in the region had any impact? Is Latin America in a 'Security Trap'?
Since the introduction of coffee as a staple in morning routines worldwide, it has become one of the most traded commodities on the planet; in fact, it was second only to oil this year (teleSUR 2018). The sudden demand for coffee helped to launch Latin America into the industrial age, with countries like Brazil and Costa Rica (which now leads world coffee production at around 45 million 60 kilogram bags per year) setting prices and international standards for the industry.
In recent weeks, immigration has once again risen to the forefront of the American political dialogue since President Donald Trump began to vocalize his objections to the latest ‘caravan’ of Honduran immigrants heading towards
January of this year, President Trump enacted a new policy that ended the Temporary Protected Status for 200,000 Salvadorans and 88,000 Hondurans that had been living in the United States for almost twenty years. Both countries originally received TPS following natural disasters at the start of the twenty-first century. Honduras was hit by a devastating hurricane in 1999 and El Salvador suffered from several major earthquakes in 2001.
Out of the 25 countries in the world with the highest rates of violence against women in the world, 14 of them are in Latin America and the Caribbean (UN Women). Of the top 10 countries considered to be the most dangerous for females, 7 are in Latin America (UN Women). These disturbing statistics have led people to question what exactly it is about Latin America that makes it so prone to this form of violence—and what, if anything, can be done to change this pattern.
In response to the inauguration of incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernandez on Sunday, January 27, protests have once again erupted throughout the capital city of Tegucigalpa, prompting a severe crackdown by armed forces.
In Honduras, coastlines are suffocating under the overwhelming amount of trash which has been arriving relentlessly with the tides. Unlike the various bottles and wrappers that occasionally wash up on the busy beaches frequented in the U.S., the phenomenon, which has particularly rocked the ecosystem of the Honduran island of Roatan, is better described as a wall of trash; it spans several kilometers and extends seven meters below the surface of the water (Sanchez 2017).
After nearly two weeks of deliberation, vote counting, and recounting, Honduras still has yet to declare an official winner in its highly contested 2017 Presidential election.
“I saw the [drug cartel] kill someone on the street as I was leaving school. They saw me running away. The threats started this day. They told me if I said anything or moved, they’d kill me. They’d look for me, find me and kill me. The[y] had raped me twice, kidnapped me four times, beat my partner, and mistreated me in so many other ways. They’d said they’d kill me. They also said if I didn’t leave, they’d find my family and kill them, too. So, I decided to go.” Anya, a woman who has fled Honduras, quoted in the UNHCR Women on the Run Report. October 2015).
The combination of high levels of political violence with a relative low number of inter-state armed conflicts has been a secular trend of Latin American history. The 2017 Armed Conflict Survey of the London-based International Institute for International Studies (IIIS) confirms the continuity of that historical pattern –which also happens to confirm a global tendency.