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  • Granada, Nicaragua

    Granada, Nicaragua | Photo: Flickr

Published 9 July 2019

Nicaragua has the lowest homicide rate of 8.3 murders per 100,000 citizens, which comes in stark contrast to neighbors Honduras and El Salvador that have nearly 70 murders per 100,000 citizens.

A new report issued on Monday by the U.N. has revealed shockingly high homicide rates across Central America and the Carribean, however, Nicaragua was shown to have the lowest in the region, coming well below the average for the Americas. 

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The global study on homicide is issued annually by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, which revealed this year that Nicaragua has the lowest homicide rate in Central America with 8.3 murders per 100,000 citizens, which comes in stark contrast to neighbors Honduras and El Salvador that have nearly 70 murders per 100,000 citizens.

For the Carribean, Jamaica has the highest with a score of over 40, followed by Trinidad and Tobago which has a similar figure to Colombia and Brazil, standing at around 30.

Those with the lowest homicide rates include Chile and Bolivia, both lower than Nicaragua.

Another revelation was that those countries with the highest murder rates in Latin America have significantly higher numbers than African countries with the highest murders rates. Both El Salvador and Honduras have around double the rate of South Africa.

Nicaragua has long had a relatively low crime rate for the region. Despite suffering many years of interal armed conflict in the 1980s when the U.S. government sponsored the "Contras," a counter insurgency against the leftist Sandinista government.

Despite the violence of those years, some say that it’s precisely the spirit of solidarity engendered by the Sandinista revolution that has contributed to the country’s relative social peace.

“The revolution didn’t just radically alter policing structures, it also altered consciousness. That consciousness and the reforms to the police remain one of the most important and lasting legacies of the revolution, something we’re very proud of,” said Argentina Martínez, the country director of the Nicaragua office of the 'Save the Children’ NGO.  , in an interview with The Nation last year. 

Progressive policies of social inclusion have also contributed to reducing poverty and inequality, key drivers of crime and violence. A 2017 World Bank report recognized Nicaragua’s achievements, saying that they have “undergone a solid economic recovery from a very low base.”

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