Attributed, in part, to an evolution away from hardline 'iron fist' policy approaches to crime and violence, El Salvador and Guatemala saw homicides fall in 2012 from record highs.
A truce between El Salvador's rival gangs this year is off to a good start, but it's worth looking at lessons from Colombia, which created a program to demobilize paramilitaries a decade ago.
El Salvador's Constitutional Court has shown itself to be independent, but the country still lacks a national consensus that the decisions of these independent judges are the ultimate authority.
Across the Americas candidates promise to follow the footsteps of Brazil's former President Lula. But 'Brazil envy' makes it possible to gloss over the country's shortcomings, writes a guest blogger.