Articles on Crime and Violence

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Street gangs that operate with impunity make El Salvador one of the world’s most violent countries. Few murders are ever solved. MARVIN RECINOS/AFP via Getty Images

Deported to death: US sent 138 Salvadorans home to be killed

A new Human Rights Watch report finds many Salvadoran deportees are killed once home, often by the gangs they fled. Rampant impunity means El Salvador can't protect vulnerable people from violence.
In Rio de Janeiro, practitioners of the Afro-Brazilian faiths Candomble and Umbanda are increasingly under attack by evangelical crusaders. AP Photo/Leo Correa

Evangelical gangs in Rio de Janeiro wage ‘holy war’ on Afro-Brazilian faiths

As evangelicalism spreads across Brazil, some of Rio de Janeiro's most notorious gangs see minority religions as an affront to God. And they're using guns to spread their gospel.
The countryside around Ciudad Cuauhtemoc, in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua, is home to the country’s largest Mennonite population. AP Photo/Gregory Bull

Mexican Mennonites combat fears of violence with a new Christmas tradition

Chronic violence was dampening the holiday spirit in Chihuahua, Mexico. So the Mennonite community planned a 'Parade of Lights' and holiday party where neighbors could celebrate safely even at night.
Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador with the families of the 43 students who went missing in 2014 in Guerrero state. He has ordered a truth commission to investigate the unsolved disappearance. Reuters/Edgard Garrido

Mexico is bleeding. Can its new president stop the violence?

President López Obrador campaigned on some outside-the-box ideas to 'pacify' Mexico after 12 years of extreme violence. But so far his government has emphasized traditional law-and-order policies.
Guatemalans overwhelmingly support the United Nations-backed corruption investigation known as CICIG. President Jimmy Morales is trying to ban prosecutors from the country. AP Photo/Moises Castillo

Guatemala in crisis after president bans corruption investigation into his government

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales is defying a constitutional court order to release a UN-backed prosecutor his government arrested and allow his corruption investigation to continue.
One of 2018’s unforgettable images: Maria Meza and her twin daughters sprint from tear gas lobbed at the border wall between the U.S and Mexico in Tijuana, Nov. 25, 2018. Reuters/Kim Kyung Hoon

Remembering the caravan: 5 essential reads that show the desperation of Central American migrants

The migrant caravan was one of the biggest international stories of 2018, a roving human drama that laid bare Central America's pain for all the world to see.
Broken campaign promises have supporters wondering whether Andrés Manuel López Obrador will follow through on his commitment to ‘transform’ Mexico. Reuters/Henry Romero

López Obrador takes power in Mexico after an unstable transition and broken campaign promises

Mexicans want leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador to transform the country. But the months leading up to his inauguration sent worrying signs about how he he will use the massive power of his office.
Screenshot from Republican John Rose’s campaign ad ‘Build the Wall,’ which equates all immigration with the Salvadoran gang MS-13. John Rose For Tennessee via YouTube

Republican ads feature MS-13, hoping fear will motivate voters

MS-13 is not the biggest or most violent gang in the US. But its grisly murders and Latino membership inflame Americans' anxiety about immigration. GOP campaign ads stoke those fears to attack Democrats.
Transnational gangs like MS-13 are a major driver of violence in El Salvador, but they are far from the only problem. Jose Cabezas/Reuters

Why is El Salvador so dangerous? 4 essential reads

The U.S. government has ended the protective status of 200,000 Salvadoran migrants. If deported, they would go back to one of the world's deadliest places. How did violence in El Salvador get so bad?

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