Over the past decade the Northern Triangle of Central America (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador) has earned the unenviable position as one of the world’s most violent and lawless regions.
The growing importance of the region as a multifaceted transshipment corridor for transnational organized crime (TOC) groups–primarily Mexican drug trafficking syndicates–has brought a new and dangerous alignment in the region’s power structures. The result has been that the three governments have moved beyond being weak, somewhat corrupt and unresponsive to almost non-functional in much of their national territories.
While none of the issues driving the collapse are new, they now appear to have driven the governments past a tipping point in the correlation of forces between the state and TOC organizations. Flush with increasing resources, political protection and access to law enforcement entities, the criminal organizations are ascendant.