Pérez, Alejandro. “Cashing In on Violence
”, Boston College, 2021. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:109148.
In this thesis, I analyze the conditions brought about by neoliberal reforms that contributed to the emergence of youth gangs in Latin America in the 1980s and 90s. I draw upon economic determinism theory to help explain this phenomenon. I then assess the extent to which four factors—state-sponsored political violence, economic volatility, the rise of the drug trade, and migration (both external and internal)—contributed to higher youth gang participation rates by conducting a comparative case study analysis. This analysis examines the factors that led to the emergence of youth gangs in Guatemala and Brazil. I surmise that the findings of this study are transferable and applicable to the whole of Latin America. I argue that the latter three factors were primarily responsible for compelling individuals to join youth gangs. Finally, I recommend governmental policies that Latin American governments ought to adopt if they wish to eradicate youth gang violence.