On the Road

Navigating the Landscape of Guatemala's Organized Crime

Diego Solis
Field Researcher, Stratfor
Dec 4, 2016 | 14:00 GMT
Isolated border regions, far from the gaze of Guatemala City, harbor the country's most powerful criminal syndicates.
Isolated border regions, far from the gaze of Guatemala City, harbor the country's most powerful criminal syndicates.
(DIEGO SOLIS/Stratfor)

Corruption is generally understood to stem from a strong demand for extralegal activity coupled with an advanced network of informal authority. But it is impossible to discount geography's role in the equation. Geography shapes crime around the world. Criminal groups can exploit either a country's infrastructure or its lack thereof; they either take advantage of a weak central government or evolve under the constant threat of a strong one. In Guatemala's linguistically and geographically fragmented hinterlands, isolation has begotten ungoverned spaces, which, in turn, have helped foster state corruption and organized crime. To better understand the matter, I visited a few northern border regions that have become strategic hubs for the country's cocaine traffickers, los transportistas....

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