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Reflections of Refugees in Africa Wyclife Ong'eta Mose
Freedom of Expression Under Threat in Zambia Mariateresa Garrido
Women’s Political Representation in Sri Lanka: Leading towards Prosperity or Peril Pujika Rathnayake
The political Crisis of the 2017 Honduran Election Daniel Bagheri S.
Notes On A Controversy Amardo Rodriguez

The Unraveled and Disquieting Human Rights Violation of Afghanistan Priya Pandey
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Challenges and prospects of AU to implement the Ezulwini Consensus: The case of collective security and the use of force Tunamsifu Shirambere Philippe
The Right to Food Shant Melkonian
Land of the Golden Pagodas: Checking in on Myanmar’s Peace Process Monica Paniagua
Douglas Janoff on LGBTQIA Human Rights Luciana Téllez
Common Things: Communication, Community, Communal Peacebuilding Lina Patricia Forero Martínez
Periodismo Ciudadano e Internet Gina Paola Parra
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Water Security in the Sixaola River Basin Adrián Martinez Blanco and Diana Ubico Durán
Reborn Arunima Chouguley
An Open Letter to the American People: Political Responsibility in the Nuclear Age Richard Falk, David Krieger, and Robert Laney


Last Updated: 04/01/2012
A Special Issue: Violence in Latin America and the Caribbean
Ross Ryan

In putting together this special collection of articles for the Peace and Conflict Monitor and highlighting the problem of violence in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) we are keenly aware of the trap we may fall into of unintentionally affirming the stereotypes that some who are unfamiliar with this region may hold.

LAC is a stunningly beautiful, culturally diverse, and largely peaceful region – a reality that is rarely portrayed in the films, music, and books that describe (and often romanticize) the gangs, drug traffickers, revolutionary war heroes (or villains), civil wars, conquistadores, or human sacrifice rituals that have shaped the collective imagination of this continent.

It is important to point out that no government in the region is armed with nuclear weapons, nor have they engaged in any significant military operations in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, or North America. As a matter of fact, Costa Rica, Grenada, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines have no military forces at all, while Panama and Haiti have extraordinarily limited militaries and no standing army – perhaps the largest concentration of such lightly-armed governments in any region of the world.

LAC countries have also been ahead of the curve in terms of establishing political mechanisms of regional cooperation and participating in international organizations, such as the OAS, SICA, the Latin American Integration Association, CARICOM, and the Union of south American Nations. These diplomatic initiatives, combined with a long history of popular, grassroots movements that have demanded peace, justice, and respect for human dignity across the continent deserve much more attention (and perhaps another special issue of the Monitor).

Still, there are reasons to focus on the problem of violence in Latin America and the Caribbean, chief among them being the high levels of violent crime, especially in Honduras, El Salvador, St Kitts and Nevis, Venezuela, and Jamaica – the countries with the top five highest homicide rates in the world (by population) - and many other countries in the region not far behind.

Each homicide could probably be explained individually, and found to have specific causes unique to each person involved, or we could analyse murder itself, which would probably lead us to broader questions of human nature, however, we have chosen here to focus on the regional level in an attempt to understand what common historical, economic, political, or social dynamics there may be in LAC, and what, if anything, can be done to nourish the peace that many in the region enjoy, and share it with those who continue to struggle with the trauma of social violence.

In this sense, the present collection of articles should be taken as only a small part of the larger discussion of peace and conflict, a discussion which forces us all to reflect on ourselves, our countries, our regions, and our cultures.

Join the discussion! Send your article to