Violent crime in post-civil war Guatemala: causes and policy implications
Turner, Duilia Mora
Bruneau, Thomas C.
Matei, Florina Cristiana
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Guatemala is one of the most violent countries in Latin America, and thus the world. The primary purpose of this thesis is to answer the following question: what factors explain the rise of violent crime in post-civil war Guatemala? The secondary focus of this thesis is to identify the transnational implications of Guatemala’s violence for U.S. policy. Guatemala’s critical security environment requires the identification of causal relationships and potential corrective actions. This thesis hypothesizes that the causes of violent crime in post-conflict Guatemala are the combination of weak institutional performance and social factors. Determining that Guatemala is not a consolidated democracy, this thesis concludes that a flawed judicial system, inadequate police reform, and weak civil control over the armed forces have a direct causal effect on violent crime in Guatemala. Furthermore, an analysis of social factors demonstrates that these are not causal in nature but rather influential elements in the occurrence of violence.
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