Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Safe Streets, Safe Cities

Discussions of sustainable cities tend to focus on environmental goals such as developing eco-friendly architecture, recycling, and improving the resiliency of urban infrastructure systems. But public or citizen security is an equally important aspect of building a sustainable city. Often, it is the issue that tops the list of citizens’ concerns—and with good reason. Violent … Read more


Monday Memo: Chilean Elections – Isla Conejo – Venezuela – Pablo Neruda – Cristina Fernández de Kirchner

Likely top stories this week: Chilean voters go to the polls; El Salvador and Honduras face off over Isla Conejo; the Venezuelan government seizes the electronic chain Daka; Chilean forensic experts conclude that Pablo Neruda was not poisoned; the Argentine president is cleared to start working. Chilean Presidential Elections: Chilean voters will go to the … Read more


Negotiations with the FARC and other Regional Efforts to Achieve Peace

The peace negotiations in Cuba between the Fuerzas Armada Revolucionarias de Colombia (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—FARC) and the Colombian government, set to reconvene today, are not the only peace agreements being conducted in Latin America.  One year ago, the two main drug gangs in El Salvador, Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18, agreed a … Read more


El Salvador’s New Push to Reduce Extortion

In the first days of his last year as president, El Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes was forced to make some changes in the country’s security cabinet. Following a ruling by the Supreme Court declaring the former security and justice minister’s term unconstitutional, Funes selected Ricardo Perdomo as the new security and justice minister. Perdomo, a … Read more


Apuestas Estratégicas para el 2014 en El Salvador

En el año 2000 la mayoría de los salvadoreños teníamos una idea, al menos vaga, sobre cual debería de ser la apuesta estratégica del país. El entonces presidente Francisco Flores y su gabinete nos hablaban sobre la viabilidad de convertir a El Salvador en un centro financiero y en un centro logístico de calidad mundial. … Read more


El huevo de la seguridad pública salvadoreña

Las cifras policiales oficiales indican que durante los últimos meses la cantidad de asesinatos registrados en El Salvador ha disminuido en aproximadamente 50 por ciento. Esto es especialmente significativo considerando que un informe elaborado por Naciones Unidas, publicado el año pasado, ubica a dicho país como el segundo más violento del mundo.  No obstante, atrás … Read more


Truces show that gangs are more sophisticated, not that they have renounced the criminal lifestyle.

El Salvador, a country that has struggled with crime control issues, insecurity and weak public institutions for decades—and ranks as the second most violent nation in the world—has recently witnessed a shaky truce between the country’s main rival pandillas (gangs), Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18. The truce is praised by government officials and supporters as a … Read more


The truce provides some breathing space for the government to create legal opportunities for Salvadoran youth.

After decades of gang-related violence, resulting in unfathomable bloodshed and a worsening security crisis, change has come to El Salvador. One reason is the truce signed by the notorious street gangs Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18—now nearing its one-year anniversary. In the process, El Salvador has transformed itself from a country with one of the … Read more


El Salvador’s Prison System Needs Reform

Latin America’s prison system is in crisis. Human Rights Watch has called the Latin American penitentiary system “underfunded, overcrowded and often controlled by criminals inside their walls.” In March 2012, a prison fire killed over 350 inmates in Honduras. The same week, a series of prison riots in three Mexican penitentiaries resulted in 48 fatalities. … Read more


El Salvador: May Moderation Win as FMLN and ARENA Prepare for 2014 Election

El Salvador is facing multiple threats to democracy. High crime, a slow economy and persistent poverty join more modern issues such as urban governance, reduced competitiveness and stagnant productivity. While these challenges disappoint members of the electorate, consistent political bickering is also a turn-off to a base of voters that desperately cries for moderation. Political … Read more

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