Why is Latin America one of the most violence regions of the world?
Violence in Latin America is a problematic daily phenomenon that pervades the lives of more than half of the population in the region (Graduate Institute of International and Developmental Studies 2010, p. 139). The intricate phenomenon of violence translates to various forms of violence, each bearing its own characteristics, causes, and consequences. Violence can be viewed through multiple lenses, which include individuals who suffer the violence, the agents of violence such as gangs, youth and drug lords, the nature of aggression, and the motive. The region has become a key drug supply chain whereby drug crop cultivation, drug production and trafficking, and drug consumption thrive. This has turned the region into both a source zone as well as a transit route (Seelke, Wyler and Beittle 2010, p.1). This discussion explores both domestic and social violence in Latin America and probes why the region has high rates of violent crime. In the discussion, the paper uses Guatemala as a model, a country that has been grappling with high violence and crime rates. An Overview of Crime and Violence in the Latin America The subject of violence has preoccupied the minds of most of the residents in Latin America and the world as a whole. Only a handful of the population remains unscathed by the vicious upsurge of violence witnessed in the region. Violence in Latin America is usually perceived as a complex, multidimensional and multifaceted phenomenon. Violence does not only permeate every core of most Latin America’s societies, but also interlinks significant incidences of insecurity and fear (Moser and Mcllwaine 2004, p. 1). The main drivers of crime and violence in Latin America are drug trafficking, youth violence and gangs, and the easy availability of firearms (Jutersonke, Muggah & Rodgers 2009, p. 373). In addition, the weak justice institutions within the region are a high risk factor to the proliferation of crime and violence. Organized Crime Violence has permeated the society and continues to wage fear within the population. The region has one of the highest rates of homicide in the world. In addition, the region is home to the most violent drug cartels and an epicentre of production and trafficking of illicit drugs such as Cocaine, Marijuana, Opiates, and Methamphetamine. Drug trafficking stimulates, systematizes, reinforces, and enhances the technological sophistication of other forms of institutionalized crime. Drug trafficking and gang warfare pose some of the gravest threats to the region’s stability (Jutersonke, Muggah & Rodgers 2009, p. 375). Drug trafficking heralds five threats to security. These include killings and other acts of violence during turf wars over markets and drug routes, supremacy wars, support of other forms of organized crime such as assassinations, widespread bribery of the security forces, and the diversion of a large segment of state funding to combat the menace. The high circulation of illegal firearms makes stemming of the violence almost impossible. Key determinants of Violence in the Latin America Explanations of the causal factors that underlie violence in Latin America vary. Nevertheless, no single causal factor predominates to explain the soaring incidences of violence in the region. To some extent, poverty or inequality can be cited as causal causes of violence within the region (Moser & Mcllwaine 2004, p