Results 1 to 2 of 2

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

  1. #1
    Senior Member legalatina's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007

    Central American crime wave threatens U.S.

    Monday, May 5, 2008

    Central American Crime Waves Threaten Mexico & the US

    By Jerry Brewer

    The stability of democracies within the northern triangle of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras is at great risk. This vicarious instability, due to violence and criminal activity within the region, poses a significant threat to Mexico and the southern border of the United States. Within these poorly defined borders of the triangle, and points north and south towards Colombia, the porous avenues of this deadly and illicit enemy flows with the blood of victims. The murder rate is defined at over 70 per 100,000 population, compared to an average of 10 per 100,000 in the rest of Central America.

    There is an estimated cache of 2 million military weapons in Central America. These weapons include AK-47 assault rifles, M-16s, RPG projectiles, rocket launchers, and hand grenades, among others. Tracking of these weapons has shown a fluid movement throughout Latin America due to the core region being one of the principal transit points for drugs destined for the United States. Much of the terrain utilized as points of transit via more than 3,000 clandestine airstrips. Too, the Colombian guerrilla army FARC has been routinely linked to this violence, and the transportation of drugs and weapons to Costa Rica via Panama.

    Organized crime elements that are supported by the maras (gangs) are believed to be responsible for scores of murdered women in Guatemala and Honduras. More than 500 murder cases were registered in a year alone. Most of the women in the northern triangle have been killed in what has been described as a "particularly brutal manner," as a retaliatory action by narcotraffickers sending a "message."

    Gang problems in Honduras alone are manifested through the MS-13 and Mara 18 criminal elements that are heavily armed and have little value for life. Revenge killings are high on their agenda.

    Former military conscripts that have been lured into lucrative narcotics trafficking enforcer roles have technical capabilities that include the manufacturing of improvised explosive devices (IED), as well as tactical expertise in assaultive combat roles and related behaviors.

    These heavily armed organized criminals from the northern triangle core region have essentially reached Mexico and points north and beyond. The Mexican State of Chiapas was one of the first to feel the armed influx of these insurgents. The armed violence was quick to escalate. In August of 1998 the Mexican government accused the guerrillas and paramilitary combatants from El Salvador of exporting arms to the region when they encountered the Salvadorans. Later Mexico would prosecute two of these former Honduran military officials for supplying weapons to the Zapatista rebels back in 1994.

    Too, Panama has been identified as a key entry point for drugs and arms into the region with its free trade zones and lax banking laws.

    Throughout El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua regional crime rings are entrenched not only in drug trafficking, but also in extortion, bank robberies, and kidnappings. The illicit arms are certainly the conduit of power and intimidation to keep these enterprises on the march north towards what are perceived as more affluent achievements.

    How have these bands of criminal renegades managed to acquire so much superior firepower? Decades of political turmoil, rebellion and cold war initiatives brought the myriad of munitions from countries such as Cuba, Russia and the United States, among others. The 1980s found the region in a death grip of civil wars with an ideological-political component. Even today urban violence and common street crimes bring forth AK-47s as the weapons of choice.

    Gangs such as the Mara Salvatrucha and Mara 18 that originated in California in the 1980s, when around one million Salvadorans fled to the U.S. during El Salvador's civil war, eventually were deported by the U.S. and returned to their country. This began an explosion of violent crime in El Salvador in the 1990s that set record homicide rates.

    Much of the transition within these countries from authoritarianism to democracy has become conjectural with this epidemic of violence within the core region. These factors bring immediate refocus of choices due to high levels of social inequality, negative rates of economic growth, high unemployment, availability of arms and drugs, and the history of civil wars and armed conflicts as a catalyst. The increases in this level of violent crime will certainly continue to impact the prospects for economic and social development gone unchecked.

    In proactive efforts to reduce the levels of violence, corruption, organized crime and the associated decay circumstantially bred within this culture, international collaboration is necessary due to the different social groups and diverse geographical areas in the region. Democracies in the western hemisphere can't afford to ignore it.


    Jerry Brewer, the Vice President of Criminal Justice International Associates, a global risk mitigation firm headquartered in Miami, Florida, is a guest columnist with

  2. #2
    Senior Member lccat's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    How about an article concerning; Central American and mexican Crime Waves Threaten the United States?

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts