Small Wars Journal

El Centro

Understanding Bukele’s Gang Crack Down in El Salvador

Tue, 11/01/2022 - 11:01pm
This paper reviews recent gang crackdowns by Salvadoran President Nayib Buckle. El Salvador is home to some of the most powerful gangs in the Western Hemisphere: Mara Salvatrucha or MS-13, the 18th Street Southerners, and the 18th Street Revolutionaries. These gangs compete for control of territory and are present in more than 90 percent of the municipalities in El Salvador.

About the Author(s)

Transnational Cartels and Prison/Jail Gangs: A Social Network Analysis of Mexican Mafia (Eme) and La Familia Michoacana Conspiracy Cases

Mon, 10/24/2022 - 6:28pm
This article is a mixed methods research study, using social network analysis (SNA), on the Mexican Mafia (La Eme) and La Familia Michoacana (La Familia or LFM), with a focus on their alliance, dubbed “The Project.” Using two indictments of the Mexican Mafia that included an attempt to establish a permanent relationship with the Mexican La Familia drug cartel.

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Third Generation Gangs Strategic Note No. 51: Milícias (Militias) Continue to Surpass Gangues (Gangs) in Dominating Criminal Territory in Rio de Janeiro

Tue, 09/27/2022 - 9:03pm
Areas controlled by criminal armed groups (CAGs) in Rio de Janeiro grew by 131% over the past 16 years according to a new study released jointly by the Instituto Fogo Cruzado (Cross-Fire Institute), Grupo de Estudos dos Novos Ilegalismos (Study Group for New Illegalisms) at Universidade Federal Fluminense (Fluminense Federal University) (GENI/UFF) on 13 September 2022. Militias were the fastest growing group, expanding rapidly in suburbs while narcotrafficking gangs retained control of favelas.

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Small Wars Journal–El Centro Fellow Dr. Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera Promoted to Full Professor

Thu, 08/25/2022 - 5:52pm

Small Wars Journal–El Centro Fellow Dr. Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera Promoted to Full Professor

Small Wars Journal–El Centro is proud to announce that SWJ–El Centro Fellow Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera has been promoted to the rank of full professor at George Mason University’s Schar School of Public Policy and Government.

Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera

Professor Correa-Cabrera has had a prolific career including publishing the acclaimed Los Zetas Inc.: Criminal Corporations, Energy, and Civil War in Mexico with the University of Texas Press in 2017. The book applies corporate models to Mexican drug trafficking organizations. Over her career she has served as president of the Association of Borderlands Studies and co-edits Oxford University Press’s International Studies Perspectives. She became a Small Wars Journal–El Centro Fellow in 2021.

Some of her recent publications include: Dismantling Migrant Smuggling Networks in the Americas,” Policy Paper (Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, June 2022) and “The End of the Mérida Initiative?Georgetown Journal of International Affairs. Vol.  23, no. 1 (2022): pp, 59–64.

We have been honored to have her write and work with us and wish her the best of luck in the future. Congratulations again on this well-deserved promotion!

Calling to End the Killing of the Clergy: Information Operations of the Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación

Sat, 08/20/2022 - 6:20pm
The assassination of two Jesuit priests in the state of Chihuahua led to calls by the Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) to protect priests, teachers, and doctors. I argue that this video is simply another form of information operations utilized to portray the cartel in a favorable light. Information operations are incredibly diverse within Mexico’s organized crime system and can include: digital campaigns to make specific cartels look better, narcocorridos (narco-ballads) to construct mythological personas for cartel members, extreme forms of violence like beheadings to communicate to rivals and the local population, food pantries to win over the local population, and even dispute resolution services to become de facto governors, etc.

About the Author(s)

Why is Mexico so Dangerous for Journalists?

Wed, 08/17/2022 - 1:28am
This essay examines the problem of violence against journalists and media workers in Mexico. We use data on killings collected over the past three decades by advocacy groups to provide an empirically rooted answer to why Mexico seems so dangerous for media workers. The reasons, tied to the country's overall governance problems, lead to impunity, government collusion with drug trafficking organizations, and widespread corruption. Further, we find some issues with collecting and maintaining data by advocacy groups, creating problems of accuracy about the scope of killings in Mexico.

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SWJ–El Centro Announces New Fellows

Wed, 07/20/2022 - 10:03pm

Small Wars Journal-El Centro (SWJ–El Centro) is pleased to announce the addition of two new fellows to the Cadre of El Centro Fellows.


The new El Centro Fellows are Dr. Marzena Żakowska and Dr. Paloma Mendoza-Cortés:

New Fellows

New SWJ−El Centro Fellows: Dr. Żakowska (left) and Dr. Mendoza-Cortés (right)

Marzena Żakowska is an assistant professor at the National Security Faculty at the War Studies University in Warsaw. Poland. She holds a PhD. in Security Science from the National Defence University, Warsaw, Poland. She is Director of the Global Affairs and Diplomacy Studies at National Security Faculty, War Studies University and Chair of War Studies Working Group at the International Society of Military Sciences.

Paloma Mendoza-Cortés is a Mexican Professor, researcher, and consultant on national security, defense, intelligence, and private military issues. She holds a degree in Political Science and Public Administration, Master in Government and Public Affairs, from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) and a PhD in Government and Public Affairs  from the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (UAM).

Both Dr. Żakowska and Dr. Mendoza-Cortés enhance the depth of knowledge of the El Centro initiative.  Dr. Żakowska will focus on hybrid threats and bring global perspective and Dr. Mendoza-Cortés will focus on Mexican military and security issues. 

Dr. Robert J. Bunker

Dr. Nathan P. Jones

Dr. John P. Sullivan 

Senior Fellows, SWJEl Centro