Abstract: UN peacebuilding in Central America in the 1990s was aimed at achieving 'positive peace'. The operations in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala broadened the concept of peacebuilding as an effort to eliminate the underlying sources of conflict and reduce the likelihood of renewed violence. This article addresses the key question as to whether these missions successfully addressed the specific conditions, especially in the political economies, that have historically fuelled violence in these states. It argues that there is significant room for doubt about the prevailing assumption that market-oriented adjustment policies facilitate the consolidation of peace in countries that are just emerging from civil wars. Indeed, the principal weakness of peacebuilding in Central America is that it has failed to address the underlying sources of violent conflict in the region.