Steven Dudley - "MS-13: The Making of America's Most Notorious Gang" - Virtual Event

Wednesday, October 21, 2020 - 5:00pm - 6:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Steven Dudley

Steven Dudley will discuss MS-13: The Making of America's Most Notorious Gang. He will be joined in conversation by Benjamin Lessing.

Presented in partnership with the University of Chicago Center for Latin American Studies

Virtual event

REGISTER HERE

About the book: The MS-13 was born from war. In the 1980s, El Salvador was enmeshed in a bloody civil conflict. To escape the guerrilla assaults and death squads, many fled to the US and settled in Los Angeles. Today, MS-13 is one of the most infamous street gangs on earth, with an estimated ten thousand members operating in dozens of states and linked to thousands of grisly murders each year in the US and abroad. But it is also misunderstood—less a drug cartel and more a hand-to-mouth organization whose criminal economy is based mostly on small-time extortion schemes and petty drug dealing. Journalist and longtime organized crime investigator Steven Dudley brings readers inside the nefarious group to tell a larger story of how a flawed US and Central American policy, and the exploitative and unequal economic systems helped foster the gang and sustain it. Ultimately, MS-13 is the story of the modern immigrant and the perennial battle to escape a vortex of poverty and crime, as well as the repressive, unequal systems that feed these problems.

About the author: Steven Dudley is the co-founder and co-director of InSight Crime, a think tank focused on organized crime in the Americas, and a senior fellow at American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies in Washington, DC. Dudley is the former Bureau Chief of the Miami Herald in the Andean Region and the author of Walking Ghosts: Murder and Guerrilla Politics in Colombia (Routledge 2004). Dudley has also reported from Haiti, Brazil, Nicaragua, Cuba and Miami for National Public Radio and the Washington Post, among others.

About the interlocutor: Benjamin Lessing, associate professor of political science at the University of Chicago, studies "criminal conflict"—organized violence involving armed groups that do not seek formal state power, such as drug cartels, prison gangs, and paramilitaries. His first book, Making Peace In Drug Wars: Crackdowns and Cartels in Latin America (Cambridge University Press, Studies in Comparative Politics Series, 2017), examines armed conflict between drug trafficking organizations and the state in Colombia, Mexico and Brazil.

Event Location: 
Virtual