Nicaragua – New Security Paradigm

Nicaragua News Bulliten 3.20.2012 -The English language web newspaper “Honduras Weekly” asked in Mar. 13 headline, “Nicaragua: A Security Model for Honduras?” The article, written by Hannah Stone, noted the concern recently expressed by Nicaraguan National Police Chief Aminta Granera that gangs from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras could move south, bringing the violence of the so-called Northern Triangle to Nicaragua. She expressed the fear that the new Central American border agreement allowing citizens to travel between countries without passports could be a problem. Stone says that “Granera’s fears about the northern frontier make sense – Nicaragua shares a border with the most dangerous country in the world, Honduras.”

However, Stone says that, “Despite Granera’s concerns about border control, the Northern Triangle gangs have not been kept out by passport checks, but by social and institutional structures within Nicaragua.” She goes on to say, “It is possible that, rather than the Northern Triangle exporting its gangs south, Nicaragua could export its successful anti-gang programs north.” Granera recommends that the northern countries bring in crime prevention schemes, rather than focusing on repressive policies. She says that Nicaragua’s policing model is preventative, proactive, and deeply rooted in the community which she believes has been its strength.

Stone says that Nicaraguan “police officials like to say that [the force] arose from the people and has maintained a close connection with them.” She adds, “Whatever the reasons for Nicaragua’s success, the world is starting to pay attention. Panama, Venezuela and Peru have sought security advice, while Granera has been invited to explain Nicaragua’s security model to the European Union.” Granera, who attended another security conference in Panama last week, said that Nicaragua had been described as a “new security paradigm.” However, neither El Salvador nor Guatemala seems to be interested in following Nicaragua’s example. They have recently announced more hard-line policies on gangs. (Honduras Weekly, Mar. 13; Informe Pastran, Mar. 13)

Nicaragua Network – Nicaragua News Bulliten, 3.20.2012