Violent crime a comparative study of Honduras and Nicaragua
Wilson, David A.
Bruneau, Thomas C.
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This thesis explains variation between contemporary Honduras and Nicaragua in terms of their levels of violent crime. The thesis is driven by an empirical observation: Nicaragua, a country that shares a border with Honduras and where the U.S.-backed Contras waged a civil war against the Sandinista government during much of the 1980s, is considerably less violent than Honduras, which did not undergo civil war. This variation conflicts with expectations in studies of security in Central America that countries that have experienced civil war will, during the post-conflict period, experience higher rates of violent crime than countries that have not. In contrast, this thesis argues that in Nicaragua it was precisely the conclusion of the civil war that drew attention from domestic and international actors who implemented changes that resulted in the demilitarization of internal security, the reduction of weapons in society, and the emergence of social movements that gave ex-combatants voice through non-violent means. Honduras, which did not experience civil war and a subsequent peace process, has seen the circulation of large amounts of weaponry and ongoing military participation in internal security, which has meant human rights abuses and low social capital.
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