Mortal Doubt: Transnational Gangs and Social Order in Guatemala City

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Abramson Family Founders Room

School of International Service

4400 Massachusetts Ave NW

Washington, DC 20016

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For decades, the Northern Triangle of Central America has been the most violent non-combat zone in the world. The Mara Salvatrucha and 18th Street, the world’s largest transnational gangs (or maras), have become the spectacular face of this violence. Born out of histories of state terror, migration, and US deportation, these gangs have evolved into brutal organizations engaged in extortion, contract killings, and the drug trade.

Mortal Doubt, a new book by Dr. Anthony W. Fontes, provides an up close and personal window into these gangs’ dystopian evolution. Based on years of fieldwork inside Central American prisons, gang-dominated neighborhoods, and migration routes to the United States, Mortal Doubt maps out how the maras became public enemy #1. And by exposing how they provide cover for a host of others feeding and feeding off extreme peacetime violence, Fontes shows how maras are in fact essential for creating a sense of order in the midst of chaos. In powerful, provocative prose, Mortal Doubt illuminates how these gangs have become so crucial for making and mooring collective terror in Central America while tracing the ties that bind this violence to those residing in far safer environs.

Join the School of International Service for a panel discussion and a self-guided tour through an exhibit of Dr. Fontes's striking photography from the field. A reception will follow this event.


Panelists

Steven Dudley, Research Fellow at the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies and Co-Director of InSight Crime

Anthony W. Fontes, Assistant Professor at the School of International Service, American University

Micheline Aharonian Marcom, Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Virginia and Creative Director of The New American Story Project


Moderator

Jo-Marie Burt, Associate Professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University, and Senior Fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)

Date and Time

Location

Abramson Family Founders Room

School of International Service

4400 Massachusetts Ave NW

Washington, DC 20016

View Map

Refund Policy

Contact the organizer to request a refund.

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