Central America Regional Security Initiative: Background and Policy Issues for Congress [March 30, 2011] [open pdf - 553KB]
"The security situation in Central America has deteriorated in recent years as gangs, drug traffickers, and other criminal groups have expanded their activities in the region, contributing to escalating levels of crime and violence that have alarmed citizens and threaten to overwhelm governments. Violence is particularly intense in the 'northern triangle' countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, which have some of the highest homicide rates in the world. Citizens of nearly every Central American nation now rank public insecurity as the top problem facing their countries. Moreover, some analysts maintain that the pervasive lack of security in the region not only threatens Central American governments and civil society, but presents a potential threat to the United States. Given the proximity of Central America, instability in the region-- whether in the form of declining support for democracy as a result of corrupt governance, drug traffickers acting with impunity as a result of weak state presence, or increased emigration as a result of economic and physical insecurity--is likely to affect the United States."
CRS Report for Congress, R41731