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Stories of migration from some of the best young journalists in Mexico, Central America and the United States

Crime free villages

Jimmy Alvarado and Ruxandra Guidi reporting from El Salvador

Everyone knows that El Salvador is one of the most violent countries in the world. Violence is one of the reasons so many people flee the country for the US every year. But a few small oases of peace reign here, with murder rates that hover around zero and villagers who are content to stay. Surprisingly, that peace is a legacy of the country's bloody civil war two decades earlier.





These isolated towns in dangerous El Salvador are murder-free zones

by Ruxandra Guidi


June 30, 2015

With one of the highest murder rates in the world -- an average of 15 homicides a day -- El Salvador has long had a reputation for violence. Back in the 1980s, the country was ravaged by a civil war and displacement. Today, it is a hotspot for criminal gangs.

But amidst all of this, there is a region in the northwestern part of the country where a cluster of municipalities report almost no homicides, year after year. It is called Chalatenango.

In May of 1980, during the civil war, the Chalatenango town of Las Vueltas and the Sumpul River …

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World in Progress: Crime Free Villages in El Salvador

by Ruxandra Guidi


Sept. 7, 2015

El Salvador in Central America has one of the highest murder rates in the world, with up to 20 homicides a day. Violence seems deeply engrained in society, since the civil war thirty years ago. But amid all the violence, there is a cluster of municipalities in northwestern El Salvador that, year after year, report almost no homicides. (Round Earth Media funded this report with a grant.)

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Las claves de cinco municipios que se vacunaron contra la violencia

by Jimmy Alvarado


May 4, 2015

En Chalatenango hay un corredor formado por cinco municipios que en 2014 no registraron un solo homicidio. Y algunos de ellos tienen a os en paz, como San Jose Las Flores. Son territorios donde las comunidades estan organizadas con un modelo heredado de la guerra civil, cuyos lideres estan atentos al aparecimiento de cualquier sintoma de la epidemia de violencia que vive El Salvador. Como logran mantener los homicidios lejos?

Un toque de queda voluntario

Con un machete al cinto, un hombre canoso y de ojos verdes se aproxima a paso lento a la ventana del vehiculo y advierte con …

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From the field

<Journalist Ruxandra Guidi says of her experience with Round Earth Media's reporting model:

"Reporting in a new place, especially internationally, is a source of anxiety for me: I often worry about how long it’ll take me to get somewhere, whether the cash I carry on me will last the whole trip, whether I have all the historical and social context I need to understand an issue (I never do). My trip to El Salvador with the support of Round Earth Media was no different. What’s more, I was headed to a country that has the unfortunate reputation of having one of the highest crime rates in the world. But within minutes of my arrival, I had the fortune of meeting my collaborator and travel partner — a local reporter who was as invested in the stories as I was, and who understood this new place intrinsically. Jimmy and I got along great and had many hours to get to know each other and our work as we travelled east from San Salvador to Intipucá and then all the way west to Chalatenango, near the border with Honduras. Being able to share our contacts, our experience, and approaches to reporting a story were not only fun but an education for me. Suddenly I was spending every day in this new place with another reporter, much younger than I, who had a different way of working and who saw his country with very different eyes. Having the experience of working together in the field and riffing off each other’s ideas made my stories much richer. It made me wish for a way to replicate my El Salvador experience again, elsewhere, and with other collaborators."

Ruxandra wrote more about how she deals with danger in the field at Mashable.