Exploring Subregional Conflict: Opportunities for Conflict Prevention

By Chandra Lekha Sriram; Zoe Nielsen | Go to book overview

4
Dynamics of Conflict
in Central America

CHANDRA LEKHA SRIRAM

THIS CHAPTER EXAMINES THE CAUSES AND DYNAMICS OF CONFLICT AND POSTconflict peacebuilding in four Central American countries—El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua—seeking to identify the specific challenges for conflict prevention and peacebuilding in the subregion. The chapter is built upon the premise that the key causes of conflict in the subregion from the late 1970s through the early 1990s (beginning far earlier in Guatemala) must be attended to, lest they form the basis for renewed conflict. It also acknowledges the lessons from recent literature on peace implementation and peacebuilding that posits that conflict alters states and societies irrevocably. As a result, the “old” order cannot simply be rebuilt, and new fissures and causes of conflict may develop during the life of a violent conflict. Last, but certainly not least, it builds upon work that acknowledges the explicitly political nature of peacebuilding, and it articulates politico-economic challenges to the consolidation of peacebuilding.

Key challenges remain for the states of the region, compounded by recent conflicts. The history of state formation in the twentieth century has enabled oligarchic or dictatorial rule, with leaders supported by economic elites, the military, and various U.S. regimes. The societies of the region have had, and continue to have, an extremely uneven distribution of wealth, and land tenure in particular has been a key grievance underpinning several conflicts.1 Many leaders, specifically in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, have, in the face of strong opposition movements,

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Exploring Subregional Conflict: Opportunities for Conflict Prevention
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction- Why Examine Subregional Sources and Dynamics of Conflict? 1
  • 1 - Understanding Conflicts in the Horn of Africa 17
  • 2 - Stability and Change in Central Asia 55
  • 3 - Sources of Conflict in West Africa 93
  • 4 - Dynamics of Conflict in Central America 131
  • 5 - Implications for Conflict Prevention 169
  • Acronyms 189
  • Selected Bibliography 193
  • The Contributors 201
  • Index 203
  • About the Book 209
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