Urban Peacebuilding: Lessons from Latin America’s Mayors
Latin American cities are among the most violent places in the world outside of war zones. The explosive, chaotic growth of urban populations in Latin America has overwhelmed the region’s justice and security institutions. And bulging youth populations, without access to decent jobs or higher education, have become easy targets for recruitment into street gangs and other criminal groups. Some authorities have responded with tough enforcement, popularly known as “mano dura.” Other municipalities have employed innovative strategies to make police more responsive to community needs while helping young people resist the pull of violent street gangs, which has allowed them to make significant, albeit fragile, improvements in security.
On March 23, USIP hosted a discussion about criminal violence with local Latin American officials and a U.S. expert in violence prevention. These frontline officials discussed both their achievements and ongoing challenges in providing the immediate security that citizens demand while also addressing the long-term structural drivers of violent crime.
This event was live streamed in both English and Spanish. Continue the conversation on Twitter using #UrbanPeacebuilding. Learn more about our Summit for Democracy side events here, and follow our work on social media with #DemocracySummitUSIP.
Keith Mines, Introductory Remarks
Director, Latin America Programs, U.S. Institute of Peace
Violence Prevention Expert; Former Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles
Mayor of Palmira, Colombia
City Council Member, Choloma, Honduras
Mayor of Ciudad Delgado, El Salvador
Mary Speck, Moderator
Senior Expert, Latin America, U.S. Institute of Peace