Why Are Violent Non-State Actors Able to Persist in the Context of the Modern State?


El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras constitute the most violent region on the globe outside a declared warzone: The Northern Triangle. Cities in these countries have dominated the list of most dangerous cities in the world for years. For instance, Honduras’ San Pedro Sula had been at the top of the list for four consecutive years - only overtaken by Caracas, Venezuela in the latest report (Seguridad Justicia y Paz, 2016). El Salvador has, at the time of writing, an average of twenty-four homicides per day (Marroquin, 2016), and Guatemala is the fifth country with the highest homicide rate in Latin America (Gagne, 2016). Most of the violence in these countries is generally attributed to the Maras, urban gangs that formed in marginalized neighborhoods in Los Angeles, California by Central American migrants and refugees, and then strengthened in the Northern Triangle following mass deportations from the United States, including the expatriation of criminals (Cruz, 2010).

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