The northern triangle of Central America stands as one of the most violent in Latin America and the world. According to the latest official statistics on crime in the region, by 2010 Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras countries had combined average murder rate of 62 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. This chapter reviews the relevant history of regime change in El Salvador and Guatemala and suggests an alternative way to understand how their early twentieth century histories have led to today's developments. It interprets the resolution of the transition period in the mid 1990s as the critical juncture that explains the development of post-transition return to violent crime in Central America a 're-corruption' of state-society relationships with antecedents going back at least a century. Based on accounts from El Salvador and Guatemala, skyrocketing levels of criminal violence in post-transition societies are best understood by looking at the history of state institutions of violence.