Tag: security

The FARC’s announcement to halt kidnapping: why?

The FARC’s announcement last Sunday that the organization will no longer kidnap civilians was a surprise to most observes and experts of the region. The mainstream media has…

Why Guatemala’s Pérez Molina Is Considering Legalizing Drugs

Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina has been acting strange lately. Just one month after his inauguration, he is already ruffling U.S. feathers, and making waves in the politics…

Overstating Cartels’ Relevance to the American Electorate

The lead article in last week’s Proceso talks about the political importance of capturing El Chapo for both the Calderon and Obama administrations. The article is worth a…

In Ciudad Mier, deploying troops is not enough

Back in November 2010, a small town on the US-Mexico border, Ciudad Mier, made headlines when most of the town’s residents left because of intense fighting between the…

Latin America’s Security Dilemma Continued

Sam Novacich and I have a piece at ISN in which we take a closer look at one of Rio’s Pacifying Police Units (UPP) in the Cantagalo/Pavão-Pavãozinho communities and…

The Skeletons in Brazil’s Closet

In the last year, you’d be hard-pressed to have heard or read anything negative about Brazil (with the exception of President Lula’s pesky affinity for Iran). The South…

Selective Impunity

El Chiguire Bipolar has a good take on the concept of selective impunity. In the Onion-like fashion for which the blog is known, it tells the story of…

Merida 2.0: A New Phase in U.S.-Mexico Security Cooperation

Responding to a growing sense that an exclusive focus on a military-led fight against drug trafficking organizations is failing to curb violence on the other side of our southern border, the United States and Mexico formally announced a shift in their counternarcotics strategy that had been in the works since the fall of 2009. The “new stage” in bilateral cooperation will aim to strengthen civilian law enforcement institutions and rebuild communities crippled by poverty and crime.

Anti-drug bases in Panama and the Drug War in 2010

One of the biggest stories emerging from the Americas in 2009 was Colombia’s decision to let the United States access military installations throughout Colombia in efforts to combat…

The International Reach of Organized Crime

Earlier this year, LatAmThought wrote a commentary about the international reach or criminal organizations in the Americas. Last week, we published an article on the International Relations and…

Paraguay’s Anti-Terrorist Group and the US

On 4 November 2009, the United States announced they would donate US$1.39 million in equipment towards the formation of an elite unit of highly trained troops in the…

Accountability Amongst Brazil’s Police

O Globo, a Rio de Janeiro-based daily, published an article on 24 March talking about a unique and creative way Brazil is battling high levels of crime and…

Coffee Smuggling and the Importance of Successful Nation Branding

At first glance, the Honduran-Guatemalan border at El Florido appears no different from any other international land border crossing in Latin America. Migrant day workers mix with road-weary…

Brazil’s Army Cont’d

I recently had a letter published in this week’s edition (January 31-February 6) of The Economist. The letter, which I’ve copied and pasted below, is in response to…

Brazil’s Other Frontier

It is far less alluring, polarizing, and smaller than the Amazon. It attracts very few tourists and minimal attention from Brazilian and international conservation groups. Nestled between the…

Argentina and the Drug Trade

The nation most known for its meat and tango is facing the possibility of adding something more to the notoriety list: a haven for drug smuggling. Within the…

Colombia buying weapons from Russia?

It is not surprising that Venezuela, Bolivia, and other Latin American governments are strengthening their military ties with Russia. Since the United States suspended arms sells to Venezuela…