SIF concluded a fact-finding trip this week in Guatemala. We visited with the US Ambassador to Guatemala, Stephen McFarland and spoke with leaders from communities in Sololá, Guatemala affected by Tropical Storm Agatha. Making the headlines during our trip was this special report: Crime, Violence, and the Crisis in Guatemala:
Guatemala is currently experiencing a full-blown crisis of the democratic state. An unholy trinity of criminal elements—international drug traffickers, domestically based organized crime syndicates, and youth gangs—is effectively waging a form of irregular warfare against government institutions, with devastating consequences. The police, the judiciary, and entire local and departmental governments are rife with criminal infiltrators; murder statistics have surpassed civil-war levels in recent years; criminal operatives brazenly assassinate government officials and troublesome members of the political class; and broad swaths of territory are now effectively under the control of criminal groups. Guatemala’s weak institutions have been unable to contain this violence, leading to growing civic disillusion and causing a marked erosion in the authority and legitimacy of the government.
Read the full report here.