Mafia of the Poor: Gang Violence and Extortion in Central America

Gang members who are also inmates pose for a photograph at a prison in Quezaltepeque, on the outskirts of San Salvador June 2, 2012.  SALVADOR-GANGS/ REUTERS/Ulises Rodriguez (EL SALVADOR)
Q24N (via Crisigroup.org) Born in the aftermath of civil war and boosted by mass deportations from the U.S., Central American gangs are responsible for brutal acts of violence, chronic abuse of women, and more recently, the forced displacement of children and families.
Estimated to number 54,000 in the three Northern Triangle countries – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – the gangs’ archetypal tattooed young men stand out among the region’s greatest sources of public anxiety.
Although they are not the only groups dedicated to violent crime, the maras have helped drive Central American murder rates to highs unmatched in

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