Over the years they have grown into powerful crime networks, joining forces with Mexican cartels, including the Zetas, which use this Central American country as a pathway between South and North America. The result is pervasive violence. Military officials attribute up to 90 percent of killings to drug violence.
“What we’re witnessing today is an accumulation of factors that have continued building, leading to a steady increase in migration,” said Eric Olson, associate director of the Latin American program at the Washington-based Wilson Center. “As people become more desperate and parents in the United States see things get more violent, people look for new solutions and a new way out. I lived in Central America during the conflict years, and while the refugee situation was different, the amount of violence and fear is just as great now as it was then.”
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