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Maras: Gang Violence and Security in Central America
     

Maras: Gang Violence and Security in Central America

by Thomas Bruneau, Lucía Dammert, Elizabeth Skinner
 

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Sensational headlines have publicized the drug trafficking, brutal violence, and other organized crime elements associated with Central America's mara gangs, but there have been few clear-eyed analyses of the history, hierarchies, and future of the mara phenomenon. The first book to look specifically at the Central American gang problem by drawing

Overview

Sensational headlines have publicized the drug trafficking, brutal violence, and other organized crime elements associated with Central America's mara gangs, but there have been few clear-eyed analyses of the history, hierarchies, and future of the mara phenomenon. The first book to look specifically at the Central American gang problem by drawing on the perspectives of researchers from different disciplinary backgrounds, Maras: Gang Violence and Security in Central America provides much-needed insight.

These essays trace the development of the gangs, from Mara Salvatrucha to the 18th Street Gang, in Los Angeles and their spread to El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua as the result of members' deportation to Central America; there, they account for high homicide rates and threaten the democratic stability of the region. With expertise in areas ranging from political science to law enforcement and human rights, the contributors also explore the spread of mara violence in the United States. Their findings comprise a complete documentation that spans sexualized violence, case studies of individual gangs, economic factors, varied responses to gang violence, the use of intelligence gathering, the limits of state power, and the role of policy makers.

Raising crucial questions for a wide readership, these essays are sure to spark productive international dialogues.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
As this dense essay collection demonstrates, maras—organized Central American gangs whose raisons d'être are drug trafficking and violence—are widespread throughout Central America, appearing in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. Mara organizations formed in Los Angeles and were introduced to Central America as the United States deported gang members to their native countries. Aimed at academics and politicians interested in Central American crime, the essays will still provide worthwhile information to intrepid, uninitiated readers, though this collection is sure to be a slow, complicated read. Bruneau (national security affairs, Naval Postgraduate Sch.), Lucía Dammert (executive director, Global Consortium on Security Transformation), and Elizabeth Skinner (think tank coordinator, Allied Command Transformation, NATO) organize the book into two parts, "Case Studies" and "Responses to Gang Violence," with discussions of the impact of maras on individual Central American countries. In addition, the authors suggest policy implications for government intervention. Finally, the book offers a thoughtful conclusion, "The Dilemma of Fighting Gangs in New Democracies," along with a detailed glossary and bibliography. VERDICT A significant read for a limited professional audience.—Lynne F. Maxwell, Villanova Univ. Sch. of Law, PA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780292729285
Publisher:
University of Texas Press
Publication date:
12/01/2011
Pages:
319
Sales rank:
747,137
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

What People are Saying About This

Donna DeCesare
Long overdue. . . . This book promises to set a new standard for research analysis of the mara issue with a goal of contributing to more enlightened and innovative policy.

Meet the Author

Thomas C. Bruneau is Distinguished Professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School.

Lucía Dammert is Executive Director of the Global Consortium on Security Transformation.

Elizabeth Skinner is the think tank coordinator at NATO’s Allied Command Transformation.

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