Crime, Irregular Warfare, and Institutional Failure in Latin America: Guatemala as a Case Study

Journal Article

This article examines the current crisis in Guatemala as a case study in the phenomenon of criminal insurgency in Latin America. Since the close of Guatemala's civil war in 1996, crime-especially violent crime-has increased dramatically, to the point that drug traffickers, organized crime syndicates, and youth gangs are effectively waging a form of irregular warfare against the state. The police, the judiciary, and entire local and departmental governments are rife with criminal infiltrators; murder statistics have surpassed civil-war levels in recent years; criminal operatives assassinate government officials and troublesome members of the political class; and chunks of territory are now effectively under the control of criminal groups. All this has led to growing civic disillusion and eroded the authority and legitimacy of the government. Rampant crime is causing a crisis of the democratic state. © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Brands, H

Published Date

  • 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 34 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 228 - 247

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1057-610X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/1057610X.2011.545937