Around Latin America & Caribbean [12.16.14]

Mexico, Nicaragua & Central America

Changing the Hearts and Minds of Latin American “machismo” men


“FROM the age of 13 Victor Toruño walked the dirt streets of Hialeah, a slum in Managua, Nicaragua’s capital, with a shotgun in his hands.

In 2013 social workers from a Nicaraguan NGO, the Centre for the Prevention of Violence (CEPREV), approached Mr Toruño in Hialeah. They showed him crude cartoons that mirrored his own life of violence, alcoholism and domestic abuse. “I saw myself in every image,” he says. It affected him so deeply that he agreed to attend workshops to discuss the impulses that machismo had encouraged in him.

Machismo .. the origins of the word are Spanish, it is a lazy stereotype applied to Latin American men. 

The murder rate among men aged 15-29 in Mexico and Central America is more than four times the global average for that age group, according to the UN. A 2011 study of murders in Ciudad Juárez, on Mexico’s border with the United States, contends that the sadistic humiliation of victims that marks these crimes arises from the region’s corrosive understanding of masculinity.


Young men, competing for jobs in a global market, have fewer opportunities; studious women have more. Denied the role of breadwinner, some men seek to prove themselves through crime, violence and domestic abuse. Often they have grown up without fathers because of divorce, war or migration.

During 15 years CEPREV says it has broken up about 90 gangs in Nicaragua by focusing on young men’s exaggerated sense of masculinity and the violence that it leads to.

In Mexico a programme run by the interior ministry employs social workers to counsel children on the perils of machismo. 

“I used to think women were useless. Now I think they are a treasure,” he says. He helps at home with the children and the housework, and shrugs it off when others laugh at him. he has persuaded his gang mates to renounce guns and enter counselling. Without it, he says, “I’d be dead, in a wheelchair or in prison by now.” Half a dozen wiry young men around him nod in agreement.”

My Approach:

  • Understanding people to their deepest core; understanding them in their socio-cultural context
  • Application of the Sciences of Psychology and Neuroscience
  • Bring about Social / Communal Change 


    • “Word of mouth” …
    • “Shared Dream” …. 
    • বাংলাদেশের মানুষ রাজনীতি নিয়ে গল্প করতে পছন্দ করে কেন? …. 
    • আমি অন্যের চেয়ে এগিয়ে” …. 
    • বিশ্বাস করা” … 
    • স্বপ্নের দিকে এক একটা পদক্ষেপ ফেলে এগিয়ে যাওয়ার মাঝে আনন্দ …. 
    • বাংলাদেশের মানুষ কেন Politics নিয়ে কথা বলতে পছন্দ করে …. 
    • মানুষ আবেগ দ্বারা তাড়িত (Emotion Driven) …. 
    • Happiness যেদিকে – আমরা নিজের অজান্তেই automatically ওদিকে drawn হই …
    • “সবশেষে Greek দের মত আমিও বলব, “Know thyself”, নিজেকে জানো।”

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