Die Jugendbanden Zentralamerikas

Vor kurzem trafen sich Zentralamerikas Präsidenten in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, um eine einheitliche Strategie für die Bekämpfung der außer Kontrolle geratenen Straßenbanden der Region zu entwickeln. Der honduranische Präsident Ricardo Maduro – selbst mit einem Programm der Nulltoleranz ins Amt gewählt – fasste ihre gemeinsame Weisheit wie folgt zusammen: „Die Banden haben sich internationalisiert, und wir werden darauf mit Macht reagieren, mit starker Hand.“

Die zentralamerikanischen Jugendbanden sind kein neues Problem. In El Salvador entwickelten sie sich Ende der 1980er Jahre zu einem kritischen Einfluss; in Guatemala und Honduras traten sie in der ersten Hälfte der 1990er Jahre auf. Seit damals hat sich ihre Mitgliedschaft um ein Vielfaches erhöht.

Die Erklärungen für das Wachstum dieser Banden konzentrieren sich meist auf zwei Ursachen: die anhaltenden Bürgerkriege, von denen Zentralamerika während der 1980er Jahre heimgesucht wurde, und die Deportationspolitik der USA. Diese Theorien jedoch gehen an den lokalen Realitäten vorbei. In Honduras, dem Land mit dem gravierendsten Bandenproblem, gab es nie einen Bürgerkrieg. In Nicaragua und Mexiko, die viele Deportierte aus den Vereinigten Staaten aufnehmen, gab es nie eine derart große Zahl von Bandenmitgliedern, wie sie in El Salvador und Guatemala zu beobachten ist.

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