Mortal Doubt: Transnational Gangs and Social Order

Anthony W. Fontes

Title Conditional: Mortal Doubt: Transnational Gangs and Social Order
Thursday, November 21, 2019
Time: 4:00 pm | CLAS Conference Room, 2334 Bowditch Street

Maras (transnational gangs) like the MS-13 stand at the center of ever-growing politics of fear. Based on years of fieldwork in Central America, Anthony W. Fontes illuminates how the maras became the region’s public enemy #1. However, the problem goes beyond gangs. By providing cover for a host of other actors taking advantage of extreme violence, maras help create a sense of order in the midst of chaos. Fontes will explore how these gangs have become so crucial for making and mooring collective terror in Central American cities, while tracing the ties that bind violence to those residing in far safer environs.

Anthony W. Fontes is Assistant Professor in the School of International Service at American University, and received his Ph.D. in Geography from UC Berkeley. He is author of Mortal Doubt: Transnational Gangs and Social Order in Guatemala City.

Part of the Bay Area Latin America Forum.


Fontes explains obstacles to justice in Guatemala. (Photo by Lissett Bastidas.) Fontes explains obstacles to justice in Guatemala. (Photo by Lissett Bastidas.) 

Women are essential to the smuggling networks that keep Guatemalan prisons running, explains Fontes. (Photo by Lissett Bastidas.)
Women are essential to the smuggling networks that keep Guatemalan prisons running, explains Fontes. (Photo by Lissett Bastidas.) 

Fontes talks to attendees after the event. (Photo by Lissett Bastidas.)
Fontes talks to attendees after the event. (Photo by Lissett Bastidas.) 

A man in a mausoleum in Guatemala City. (Photo by Anthony W. Fontes.)
A man in a mausoleum in Guatemala City. (Photo by Anthony W. Fontes.)