El Salvador and Honduras have had the highest homicide rates in the world over the past ten years. Oscar Martinez, author of The Beast, which was named one of the best books of the year by the Economist and the Financial Times, shares a beautiful and immersive account of life in one of the most violent places on earth. Martinez travels to Nicaraguan fishing towns, southern Mexican brothels where Central American women are trafficked, isolated Guatemalan jungle villages and crime-ridden Salvadoran slums. With his precise and empathetic reporting, he reveals the underbelly of some of the most dangerous places in the world, going undercover to drink with narcos, accompanying police patrols, riding in trafficking boats and hiding out with a gang informer. The result is an unforgettable portrait of a region of fear, helping to explain why migrants have been fleeing the area by the millions.
Oscar Martinez writes for ElFaro.net, the first online newspaper in Latin America. The original edition of his book Los migrantes que no importan was published in 2010 by Icaria and El Faro, with a second edition by Mexico's sur+ Ediciones in 2012. Martinez is currently writing chronicles and articles for El Faro's project, Sala Negra, investigating gang violence in Latin America. In 2008, Martinez won the Fernando Benitez National Journalism Prize in Mexico, and in 2009, he was awarded the Human Rights Prize at the Jose Simeon Canas Central American University in El Salvador.