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Óscar Martínez

Global Faculty in Residence
(212) 992-6309
411 Laf, Room 352

Óscar Martínez is the editor of special investigations at El Faro, a journalistic project begun in El Salvador, whose online component,, is the first Latin American internet newspaper. In his current role, he coordinated the corruption investigations against two Salvadoran former presidents. He was project coordinator for El Faro’s En el camino and is a founding member of the Sala Negra project. The journalists of El Faro were awarded the Award of Excellence of the Gabriel García Márquez Foundation for New Journalism in 2016. Martínez is dedicated to in-depth journalism on issues of migration in Mexico and violence and organized crime in Central America.   He is the author of the book Los migrantes que no importan (Icaria, 2010), which appeared in the English translation as The Beast (Verso Books, 2013), a chronicle of the journey of Central American undocumented immigrants through Mexico. The Beast was awarded a 2014 WOLA-DUKE Book Award. He is also the author of A History of Violence (Verso Books, 2016), which looks at violence, corruption, gangs and the abandonment of the population in northern Central America. He is co-author of Jonathan no tiene tatuajes (UCA Editores, 2010), Crónicas Negras, desde una región que no cuenta (Aguilar, 2013) and El Niño de Hollywood (Debate, 2018; Verso Books, 2019), which explains through the life of a hit man the story of the Mara Salvatrucha-13. His work is included in the anthologies Crónicas de otro planeta (Debate, 2008), Nuestra aparente rendición (Random House, 2011), Antología de crónica latinoamericana actual (Alfaguara, 2012) and Los Malos (UDP Editores, Chile, 2015). He has published articles, essays and opinion columns in American media outlets, including The New York Times, The Nation and The New Republic.   In 2008, he received the National Prize for Cultural Journalism Fernando Benítez in Mexico and a National Human Rights Prize for the José Simeón Cañas University of El Salvador. In 2013, Martínez was a member of the team that won the first prize in the journalism from the Institute of Press and Society in 2013, the Hillman Prize in 2018, and the Premio Rey de España in 2019. In 2016, he received the Maria Moors Cabot award, given by Columbia University and the International Press Freedom Award, given by the Committee to Protect Journalists. In 2019, he was the first guest to the Global Visiting Fellows program of the Columbia Journalism School.  



A History of Violence

Óscar Martínez's A History of Violence: Living and Dying in Central America was published was Verso Books.


The Beast

Óscar Martínez's The Beast: Riding the Rails and Dodging Narcos on the Migrant Trail was published by Verso.

Teaching and Research Interests

Gangs  organized crime  historical memory  impunity  Central American migration  undocumented community in the United States  refugees  nonfiction writing  long form journalism. 

Óscar Martínez