Lidija Kos-Stanišić ; Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia Fulltext: pdf (312 KB), Croatian, Pages 81 – 101

Abstracts Contrary to expectations, the signing of the Central American peace accord and the democratization that followed failed to generate peace and security to the citizens of the Northern Triangle countries. Instead, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were enveloped in a new wave of violence. Most criminal activities, insecurity and violence are caused by Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTO), which at the moment represent a greater threat to regional security than the wars led in the 1980s. They are the crucial violators of human rights, and state institutions in charge of implementing the law are too weak to successfully take them on. This paper portrays the activity of the Mexican drug cartels, the transportistas and members of the mara in the Northern Triangle countries. It emphasizes that high murder rates and insecurity have significant impact on the citizens’ attitudes towards democratic efficiency, making them more prone to accepting repressive methods of fighting crime and insecurity, as well as undemocratic behavior and the approval of a military comeback into the political arena. The paper concludes that after a prolonged period of citizen dissatisfaction with the way democracy is working, an erosion of legitimacy might occur, which would, in turn, broaden the space for DTOs and their criminal activities.

Keywords Northern Triangle; Guatemala; Honduras; El Salvador; Drug Trafficking Organizations