Central America’s presidents recently met in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, to devise a united policy to deal with the region’s rampaging street gangs. Honduran President Ricardo Maduro, himself elected on a campaign slogan of Zero Tolerance, summed up their collective wisdom: “The gangs have internationalized and we are going to respond with force, with a strong hand.”
The problem of juvenile gangs in Central America is not new. In El Salvador, the gangs became an issue at the end of the 1980’s; in Guatemala and Honduras, the gangs appeared in the first half of the 1990’s. Since then, their membership has multiplied.