The Other Side of the Story: Explaining Low Rates of Crime and Violence in Chile, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Uruguay

June 26, 2013 // 9:00am12:00pm


*Please note that this event will be held primarily in Spanish, with bi-lingual translation*

As a region, Latin America is known for having the highest rates of crime and violence in the world.  But some countries—Chile and Uruguay in South America and Costa Rica and Nicaragua in crime-ravaged Central America—have managed to reduce crime or maintain rates that are far below the regional average.  What institutional or social factors might explain this difference?   Will these countries be able to maintain their exceptionality in the face of deteriorating trends elsewhere and the emergence of new threats?  What lessons might these four countries hold for others in and outside the region?   

Special thanks to the Tinker Foundation for their support in making this event possible.



5th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center
Event Speakers List: 
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Event Sessions: 


9:00 a.m. –  9:10 a.m.
Welcome and Opening Remarks

Cynthia Arnson, Director, Latin American Program

9:10 a.m. – 10:35 a.m.
Panel 1: Security and Insecurity in the Southern Cone: The Cases of Chile and Uruguay

Gustavo Leal, Urban Coexistence (Convivencia Urbana) and Adviser, Ministry of the Interior,Uruguay
Liza Zúñiga, Civilian Adviser, Carabineros de Chile
Patricio Tudela,  Researcher, Fundación Paz Ciudadana, Chile

10:35 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Panel 2: A Different Story in Central America: The Cases of Nicaragua and Costa Rica

Randall Brenes, Coordinator, Sistema de las Naciones Unidas, Costa Rica
Claudia Pineda, Executive Director, Institute for Strategic Studies and and Public Policy (IEEPP), Nicaragua
Javier Meléndez, InSight Crime, Washington, D.C.
Discussant: Kevin Casas-Zamora, Secretary for Political Affairs, Organization of American States 

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