Transitions to peace effects on internal security forces in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala
Atha, Roberto J.
Bruneau, Thomas C.
Looney, Robert E.
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This thesis examines the effect of transitions to peace in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala on internal security forces. It reveals how the influence of the military affected the implementation of internal security reforms, influencing the professionalism and effectiveness of police forces in the fight against violence and gangs today. The research shows Sandinista influence allowed Nicaragua to maintain an experienced core of security personnel that has confronted the present challenges more effectively. Reforms in El Salvador yielded a new, highly restructured and reduced security force of which only one-fifth some policing experience, reducing the short-term effectiveness of the force in the fight against insecurity, but increasing the probability for long term consolidation of a professional and effective police institution. In Guatemala, the transitions resulted in the creation of a new police force mostly manned by former security personnel, perpetuating the corruption that permeated the force prior to the transitions--a fact reflected in the high levels of crime in the country today. The thesis proposes that the effect of the transitions on the current forces is a pivotal factor on their effectiveness, and must be addressed in order to improve security for citizens and democracy.
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