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Central America Still Besieged by Violence Three Decades after End of Political Wars

LADB Article ID: 80443
Category/Department: Region
Date: 2017-10-19
By: George Rodríguez

Thirty years ago, Central America saw the end of the internal political wars that its armies and guerrillas had been waging for decades––conflicts that caused hundreds of thousands of casualties, massively displaced communities, destroyed economies, and divided nations as well as families.The process to end the armed conflicts in Guatemala (1960-1996), El Salvador (1980-1982), and Nicaragua (1982-1990), began on Aug. 7, 1987, when a historic regional peace agreement­­–Procedimiento para Establecer la Paz Firme y Duradera en Centroamérica (Procedure to Establish Firm and Lasting Peace in Central America)––was signed by those three countries’ presidents plus their colleagues from Honduras and Costa Rica. The agreement led to successful national peace negotiations.But a new armed conflict did not take long to grip this region, were street gangs known as maras and organized crime structures are the new and highly violent enemy fighting local armies and police forces. A fallout from the political wars, the maras phenomenon dates back to the massive migration of mostly undocumented nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras––the three countries that form the Northern Triangle of Central America––fleeing from the violence in their countries in the 1980s.

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