The escalation of violence in Gaza and Israel is leaving people in Gaza in urgent need of humanitarian support. Please donate now.

Available documents

No available documents

Oxfam Policy & Practice provides free access to Gender & Development and Development in Practice journal articles.

Download from publisher


Although it is increasingly recognised that violence, crime, and associated fear are challenging democratic governance in Latin America, less attention has been paid to the ways in which state responses to crime contribute to the problem. By analysing El Salvador as a case study, this article addresses three key interconnected issues in the debate. First, it explores the dynamic of violence. It then locates youth gangs as violent actors within this context. Finally, it addresses the state response to the growing phenomenon of youth gangs. It is argued that current strategies, dubbed Mano Dura – Iron Fist, employed by the Salvadoran government serve to reveal the fragility of the democratic project, exposing the underside of authoritarianism that remains key to Salvadoran political life in the transitional process from civil war to peace.

This article is hosted by our co-publisher Taylor & Francis.

Additional details






How to cite this resource

Citation styles vary so we recommend you check what is appropriate for your context.  You may choose to cite Oxfam resources as follows:

Author(s)/Editor(s). (Year of publication). Title and sub-title. Place of publication: name of publisher. DOI (where available). URL

Our FAQs page has some examples of this approach.

Related resources

Here are similar items you might be interested in.

Browse all resources