(In)Security in Latin America, complex problem?

10th of March 2022

The high level of violence is one of the main concerns for Latin American societies and States. Although the actors are varied and of different nature, there are three typologies that threaten not only Latin America's security, but also its political, social and economic stability: criminal organizations, gangs or maras, and guerrilla movements, which, among other factors, cause the highest regional homicide rate in the world.

The high homicide rate, the strong penetration of organized crime in the region and the States´ fragility are signs of the significant security instability suffered by Latin America. This in turn generates a feeling of insecurity and distrust in state actors and facilitates the capillarization of criminal organizations in society.

A systematic overview of economic, political, social, cultural and, of course, criminological variables allow us to assess the non-linearity of the regional situation, whose variables are interconnected and whose causes and effects are blurred.

Venezuela and Nicaragua, usually considered non-democratic countries, have higher corruption scores than democratic ones, although the latter´s have stagnated or even worsened in recent years. In this sense, in the latest Democracy Index, published by The Economist, Latin America has registered the biggest decline in recent months.

Solving a complex problem requires a deep and thoughtful analysis of what is happening, detecting early warnings and weak signals that have not been considered yet, as well as an active search for solutions that have never been provided so far and that generate impacts in a wide range of areas to achieve desired regional levels of peace and security.

For this reason, this is the first in a series of specialized documents that will allow us to analyze the security situation in Latin America from diverse, broad and analytical perspectives.

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