View Full Version : The problem of increasing crime in Central America

Panama Jack
4th Nov 2004, 13:48
It's a shame. Guatemala is one of the most beautiful countries in Central America:

Guatemala Alert Issued After Americans Raped, Attacked

Wed Nov 3, 4:32 PM ET World - Reuters

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - The United States issued a serious security warning for Guatemala on Wednesday after a series of attacks on U.S. citizens in the Central American nation, including the rapes of children.

A statement from the U.S. Embassy said there have been three serious assaults on U.S. citizens in 10 days. In two of them minors were raped.

The statement did not come with a recommendation to avoid travel to Guatemala, which is battling a surge of violent crime. Buses and trucks are frequently held up in broad daylight.

In some of the cases, the attackers wore police uniforms and used police-like vehicles to trick their victims into stopping, the embassy said.

It was not clear if the attackers were police, although the embassy statement said police might have been involved in some of the attacks. The embassy declined to give further details.

While the vast majority of victims are Guatemalan, the embassy registers attacks against hundreds of U.S. tourists every year and is concerned that criminal activity is on the increase.

In recent months, high-ranking officers in Guatemala's notoriously corrupt police force have been suspended for alleged involvement in gangs dedicated to kidnapping and assault.

Several members of the office for professional responsibility, whose duty is to monitor police behavior, were recently fired for alleged corruption.

"We are retraining the remaining personnel, so that they work against the bad police," police spokesman Oscar Piveral said.

In El Salvador in the meantime, the Maras Salvatruchas continue to be a plague. A few months ago the death of the former CEO of Grupo TACA, Frederico Bloch, was blamed on maras. I read that they estimate that there are something like 200,000 gang members maras in Central America.

Nicaragua, long considered to be one of C.A.'s safest countries has seen a disturbing increase in violent crime.

Meanwhile, across our border to the north, Hondurans, disturbed and fed-up with the problem, are actually considering introducing the death penalty for violent criminals (52% support according to polls). Where the government, police, and judiciary fall short, others have stepped in. Honduras has seen the return of death squads, who unlike their predecesors of the 80's who targeted political opponents, now target street kids and gang members.

In the 90's the future for Central America, it appeared, was tourism. The crime wave and the reputation the region earns abroad scares off people. So where does the madness end and what is the future????

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