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The Situation on the Ground: Petty crime. Carjackings. Muggings. Drugs. Central

America’s reputation hasn’t been the most sterling in recent years, as spillover from both Mexico and South America’s drug trades has rendered the region a focus point for narcotics-related violence. And the stereotype’s not too far off for some of Nicaragua’s neighbors–Honduras and Guatemala are among the world’s most violent countries, while even statistically safer countries like Costa Rica and Panama have seen a spike in murder rates in the past decade. But Nicaragua–despite being among Latin America’s poorest countries—is also among its safest. Its murder rate is only 11 per 100,000 people (compared with 82 in Honduras). Nicaragua’s relative paucity of gang-related violence makes it an ideal vantage point from which to explore Central American culture.
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