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Special Report: Prospects for Democracy in the Northern Triangle (ISSN 17414474)

Problem Number 1: Crime and Violence

Despite some improvements in recent years, the Northern Triangle countries continue to experience some of the highest murder rates anywhere in the world outside war zones. The United Nations says that a homicide rate in excess of 10 per 100,000 inhabitants constitutes an epidemic. For at least the last 15 years all three Northern Triangle countries have experienced homicide rates that are various multiples of that – in El Salvador in 2015 the rate was 108 per 100,000, a spike related to the end of a truce in its recurring gang wars. Despite an improvement last year El Salvador was still the second-most murderous country in the region with 60 homicides per 100,000, after Venezuela (89 per 100,000). Honduras was in fourth place (42.8 per 100,000) with Guatemala in sixth (26.1 per 100,000). For comparison, Chile had a homicide rate of only 3.3 per 100,000.

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