RECIDIVISM OF GUERRILLA FIGHTERS: IMPORTANCE OF REINTEGRATION AND RECONCILIATION PROGRAMS IN LATIN AMERICA
Fernandez de Soto, Ana Lucia
This paper explores the surge in crime rates that are seen in countries after the termination of an internal conflict. It looks at the drivers for people to join insurgencies, what has motivated people to demobilize and how are they reintegrated into society or failed to do so after an internal conflict is over. It analyzes the circumstances in which crime rates increase in a country that has undergone an internal conflict. I hypothesize that without proper reintegration programs, demobilized combatants may engage in different criminal activities, therefore the latter are likely to pick up after the termination of an internal conflict. In order to test my hypothesis, I propose a two-stage approach. First, using several dimensions of crime, I empirically test whether the observed pattern in Guatemala and El Salvador hold for a larger set of countries after the end of an intra-state conflict. Second, I analyze key features of the reintegration process in Guatemala and El Salvador, countries that have seen increasing levels of crime after their civil wars. My empirical findings point to the importance of reintegration programs of former combatants during post-conflict stabilization and nation-building in countries emerging from an intra-state conflict. As I show in my case studies, the lack of successful reintegration programs may lead former combatants to use their weapons and join criminal structures that can provide the sense of protection and support they received from the insurgent organizations they belonged to. This implies that reintegration and reconciliation efforts are essential pillars of sustainable post-conflict nation-building.
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