Dexter Boniface

Posts Tagged ‘Guatemala’

Central America’s Homicide Problem

In El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Human Rights, United States Government, Violence on June 6, 2012 at 6:52 pm

The Problem in Numbers

According to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), there are roughly a dozen countries in the world where the homicide rate exceeds 35 per 100,000 people; four of them – Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – are in Central America. Honduras, with a staggering 82.1 homicides per 100,000 citizens, holds the sad distinction of having the highest homicide rate in the world today (for the data, see the UNODC’s Global Study on Homicide 2011).

As a point of comparison, the global average stands at 6.9 per 100,000 and the homicide rate in the United States clocks in at 5.0. In Europe and Asia, it is 3.5 or less. In Japan, it is a meager 0.5.

The aggregate figures are no less alarming. In 2010, 16,284 homicides took place in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras combined. Although less than thirty million people live in these three tiny countries, this is more homicides than occurred in the entire United States with a population of more than 313 million people! In short, Central America is experiencing a homicide epidemic.

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Latin America’s Elections in 2011: Political Outsiders versus Former First Ladies

In Argentina, Elections, Guatemala, Haiti, Nicaragua, Peru on April 5, 2011 at 4:32 pm

There are many important elections in 2011 as Haitians (March 20),  Peruvians (April 10; June 5), Guatemalans (September 11; November 6), Argentines (October 23), and Nicaraguans (November 6) head to the polls to pick new presidents.

The Haitian and Peruvian elections shared a common feature: in both, the first round eliminated the presumed front-runner(s) and the second round pitted political outsiders (singer Michel Martelly and x-lieutenant colonel Ollanta Humala) against former first ladies (Mirlande Manigat and Keiko Fujimori). In both cases, the political outsiders carried the day. Guatemala’s election in September likewise featured an x-military honcho, General Otto Perez Molina, though (recently divorced) former first lady, Sandra Torres was deemed ineligible to run. In Argentina, another former first lady, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner easily claimed victory.

Haiti. The Haitian election has been decided: singer Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly won the controversial presidential runoff election in a landslide, earning 68 percent of the vote.

Peru. The winner of Peru’s divisive presidential runoff is Ollanta Humala. (For a deeper analysis, see my blogpost: “Polarization in Peru: The 2011 Presidential Elections“).