El Salvador has a population of a little more than 6 million people, less than New York City. But the violence in the small Central American country is out of control. It has a murder rate 22 times higher than that of the United States.

Much of the blame lies with the country’s two main gang groups, Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18. The rival groups are constantly warring with each other in turf battles, with the people of El Salvador caught in the middle.

 On this edition of Global Journalist, we look at a country that was once torn apart by a civil war in the 1980’s, and how it’s being threatened by a very different kind of war. 


After a massive corruption scandal rocked Guatemalan politics this summer, Central America's most populous country goes to the polls Oct. 25.

With much of the political establishment discredited, TV comic Jimmy Morales is now the front runner. On this edition of Global Journalist, a look at Guatemalan politics, corruption and the legacy of the country's civil war in the 1980s.

Sayyid Azim / AP

You see the label on coffee, chocolate, t-shirts and even gold, “Fair Trade.” The extra dollars you pay for the products are meant to guarantee they’re produced ethically and sustainably. And that the farmers and workers who produced them are justly compensated. What began as a humble effort by a few churches and activists a half a century ago to help people in the developing world has grown into a multibillion dollar industry. But the movement has attracted critics, who say the label today is mostly marketing that benefits companies in Europe and the U.S.

Joe Gratz / Flickr

A Missouri appellate court will hear arguments next week in the case of a woman from Guatemala who says she did not consent to her son's adoption by a southwest Missouri couple.

The Joplin Globe reports that the case is set to be heard Sept. 9 in the Southern District Missouri Court of Appeals in Springfield. The boy is now 6 years old. He was adopted in 2008 after his biological mother, Encarnacion Romero, got caught up in an immigration sweep at a Barry County poultry plant.