Sunday, July 23, 2017

Latin America and Unrestrained Murder

"Not long ago we visited Fortaleza, the city with the highest rate of child and adolescent homicide victims in Brazil. In 203, the murder ate was 268 per 100,000 inhabitants between the ages of 16 and 17, but the map of lethal violence was an almost perfect arc that covered an area far from the tourist zone, where some neighbourhoods had gone a whole year without a single homicide."
"When we visited these areas and asked young people how many murders they knew of, they sometimes had to use two hands to count."
Alejandra Sanchez Inzunza and Jose Luis Pardo Veiras, authors "Narco America"
Children take part in the Traditional Ceremony of Via Crucis dedicated to children murdered in Brazil at Sé Cathedral as part of Good Friday celebrations on April 07, 2017 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Children take part in the Traditional Ceremony of Via Crucis dedicated to children murdered in Brazil at Sé Cathedral in April in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Cris Faga/LatinContent/Getty Images)

Mexico's drug war represents a vicious, volatile, murderous phenomenon on an appallingly grand scale, one that the government at all levels has been spectacularly incapable of apprehending. It is a war centred on drug trafficking that is by its nature one of the deadliest conflicts the world knows. Second-ups are the gang-related violence in Guatemala, in El Salvador and Honduras; together the three represent the world homicide capital.

Overall, in Latin America, bodies are delivered daily to morgues whose total averages 400 murders a day. This reflects a homicide rate that comes in at four people murdered every 15 minutes. While Latin America can boast slightly over 8 percent of the world population, a full one-third of homicides world-wide take place in Latin America. Over the 16 year period between 2000 and 2016, 2.6 million people died violent, precipitous deaths.

While some municipalities do make an effort to deal with the murder rate and the impunity that runs rife through society, through the development of social programs in hopes of reducing violence, the effort barely budges the soaring murder rate. The seven most violent Latin American countries; Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico represent a living horror show; a culture of violence, corruption and impunity.

The list of Latin American countries where impunity and elusive justice reign, according to the Global Impunity Index out of Mexico's Center for Studies on Impunity and Justice, list Mexico in the number two position on the list with the Philippines taking the lead on this dishonour role. Worse, the figures represent the reported crimes; and it is well enough known that many such crimes go unreported for fear of repercussions or simply disinterest.

But the top two countries on that Impunity List give them an impunity rate of 99 percent. There are no penalties to be faced, in other words, for the murder of other human beings, so the act itself becomes commonplace and unremarkable. Three types of murders have been established through the United Nations' Global Study on Homicide: criminal, interpersonal and sociopolitical and all three categories are represented in Latin America.

Most of the murders take place in marginalized neighbourhoods, home to the poor and vulnerable, usually people with dark skin. A 2016 reported revealed, unsurprisingly, that 50 percent of homicides occur on 1.6 percent of the streets in Latin America. Organized crime or gang activity link to 30 percent of these homicides. Those nations with the most murderous reputations struggle with common problems exacerbated with specific issues.

Drugs in Mexico, conflict in Colombia, societal and economic meltdown in Venezuela, and territorial conflict in Brazil. Several months ago, 30 civil organizations initiated the Instinto de Vida (Instinct for Life) campaign in Latin America's seven most violent countries, revolving around the reduction of homicides by 50 percent over the next decade through conflict mediation; gun, alcohol and drug regulations; recidivism prevention; guarantee of access to justice and due process; and strengthening relations between police and communities.

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