Citizen Security

...pioneering new approaches to prevent and combat crime and violence

Latin American countries face some of the highest rates of crime and violence in the world. WOLA works for comprehensive reform that addresses the root causes of violence and ensures effective, accountable police and judicial systems. With partners in the region, we advocate reforms that protect both the rights and the security of citizens.

Key Program Themes:

Monitoring U.S. Aid

WOLA is closely following a record billion-dollar U.S. aid request for the countries of Central America, which—if invested wisely—could address the insecurity that has fueled migration from the region in recent years.

The International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG)

WOLA closely follows the work of the CICIG, and believes that it has proven itself to be a model for strengthening the domestic, regional and international rule of law.

Police, Justice and Prison Reform

Rampant corruption, inadequate accountability mechanisms, and weak police and judicial systems contribute to the insecurity in the region. WOLA promotes comprehensive reforms that both protect citizen security and respect human rights.

Violence Prevention

WOLA supports responses to violent crime that include prevention programs that help young people in difficult situations meet their own needs, intervention programs that offer alternatives for those most attracted to gang life, rehabilitation for those who wish to leave gangs, and law enforcement that deters crime and reduces violence.

Citizen Security News & Analysis

Why Guatemalans Rose Up Against Government Corruption

In an interview on PBS NewsHour, WOLA Senior Associate Adriana Beltrán explains why Guatemalans have risen up by the thousands to demand an end to government corruption.

Update: Guatemala's President Resigns Amid Strong Allegations of Corruption and Calls for Justice

Analysis & Commentary
After years of a persistent lack of accountability for corruption in government, thousands of Guatemalans are taking a stand. The streets of cities around the country have been flooded in a “paro nacional,” or general strike.

Guatemala’s President Resigns: Press Conference Call at 12:30pm Today

Join the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) for a press conference call on the implications of the resignation of Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina for both Guatemala and the region as a whole.

Central America’s Child Exodus: One Year Later the Humanitarian Crisis is Far From Over

Analysis & Commentary
In an op-ed first published in The Hill's Congress Blog, WOLA Senior Associates Adriana Beltrán and Marc Hanson, the two urge Congress to address the causes of mass migration from Central America at their source.