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Children of Misery: Guns and Gangs in Central America

Hudson Institute

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM

Children of Misery: Guns and Gangs in Central America

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Event Details

The Central American countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras have missed out on the economic growth that many other developing countries have experienced over the past decades. Despite confronting some of the same challenges faced in neighboring countries, Costa Rica’s democracy has strengthened and its economy has flourished. This disparity largely results from the pervasive violence and crime that have stifled other Central American economies, undermining growth and interfering with social development. In particular, youth gangs (maras) have wreaked havoc in the region.

Central American gangs tend to be involved in a range of criminal activities, including arms, drug, and human trafficking; kidnapping and extortion; and migrant smuggling. The toll taken by such crime is evident in the stories told by local children and adolescents. They report that their options are to join a gang, die, or emigrate.

Such entrenched, wide-spread criminality is not only a human rights issue, but one that directly impacts the United States and all countries facing a surge of migrant children from Central America. What can be done?

On September 10th, Hudson Institute’s Center for Latin American Studies will host a discussion with noted regional experts. Moderated by Ambassador Jaime Daremblum, the panel will examine the underlying social, economic, and political environment fueling gang activity, with particular focus on whether policymakers in the region have adopted the right responses to counter this crisis, or instead paid too little attention to its structural causes.

Armando González is Chief Editor of La Nación in San Jose, Costa Rica. He is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the Inter-American Press Association and president of the Legal Affairs Committee. As a journalist and editor for more than 18 years, Mr. González has received multiple awards, including the Pío Víquez National Award for Journalism in 1989.

Evan Ellis
 is a professor of Latin American Sudies at the U.S. Amy War College Strategic Studies Institute. As an analyst of Latin American economies, politics, and security, Dr. Ellis is an expert on Latin American relationships with China, Iran, India, Russia, and other nations. He has published more than 70 works and has presented his research in more than 25 countries.

Celina Realuyo is a professor at the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies at the National Defense University where she focuses on U.S. national security, social, and economic problems in Latin America. Professor Realuyo has over two decades of international experience in the public, private, and academic sectors.

Ambassador Bosco Matamoros, former Nicaraguan Ambassador to Spain and Sweden, currently lectures at the Universidad Americana de Managua. Ambassador Matamoros has broad experience in international financial and business affairs and is the author of La Contra, movimiento nicaragüense. His articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and Dagens Nyheter, a daily newspaper in Sweden.

Antonio José de la Cruz, an expert on inter-American relations, has more than two decades of experience in the Venezuelan energy sector and political process. Currently the Executive Director of Inter-American Trends, Mr. de la Cruz leads analyses of Latin America’s political and economic trends. He held senior positions in the Petroleum Oil Company (PDVSA) before founding the ICS Group SA in 2002, where he currently serves as President and CEO. His articles have been published in newspapers throughout Latin America and Mr. de la Cruz has been featured on CNN and VOA, among other media outlets.

Ambassador Jaime Daremblum is a senior fellow and director of Hudson Institute’s Center for Latin American Studies.


A lunch buffet will be available beginning at 11:30 am.

Hudson Institute is grateful to the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation for their generous support of this conference series.


This event will be live streamed on Hudson's homepage.

Have questions about Children of Misery: Guns and Gangs in Central America? Contact Hudson Institute

When & Where

Hudson Institute
1015 15th Street NW
6th Floor
Washington, DC 20005

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM

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An independent research organization promoting new ideas for the advancement of global security, prosperity and freedom.

Founded in 1961 by strategist Herman Kahn, Hudson Institute challenges conventional thinking and helps manage strategic transitions to the future through interdisciplinary studies in defense, international relations, economics, health care, technology, culture, and law.

Hudson seeks to guide public policy makers and global leaders in government and business through a vigorous program of publications, conferences, and policy briefings and recommendations.

Hudson Institute is a 501(c)(3) organization financed by tax deductible contributions from private individuals, corporations, foundations, and by government grants.

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Children of Misery: Guns and Gangs in Central America
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