Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Guatemala: U.S. should look beyond Mexico in fighting drug trade

Tuesday, November 23, 2010 |

CNN

The United States should provide more money to fight drug trafficking in Central America instead of focusing aid dollars only on neighboring Mexico, a top Guatemalan official said.

Guatemala has seen a significant spike in drug violence, including clashes between authorities and members of the Zetas drug gang, Guatemalan Interior Minister Carlos Menocal told CNN en Español on Monday.

And the country needs help combating cartels, which are increasingly carving out new drug transport paths, he said.

Menocal said Guatemalan authorities have seized $5.8 billion worth of assets from suspected criminal organizations since 2008 -- a quantity equivalent to country's entire budget.

"This shows that the structure of organized crime has many more resources than Central American countries have to combat it," Menocal said.

Through the $1.3 billion aid package known as the Merida Initiative, the U.S. provides support for Mexico's drug war, including aircraft and efforts to beef up the country's courts and other institutions. The U.S. government has pledged $165 million to a project known as the Central American Regional Security Initiative, according to the State Department.

In August, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. was committed to promoting security in Central America.

"We are doing everything we can in the fight against corruption and impunity, in providing the equipment and the support that law enforcement and the military require and helping to build civil society to stand against the scourge of drug trafficking," she said at a meeting of Central American leaders.

But Menocal said Monday that far more is needed -- at least $250 million to build the basics of a regional security force to fight drug traffickers.

"In the end, the large majority of drugs travel through Central America, and the assignment of resources or the financial support of the United States government is not the same as Colombia and Mexico receive," he said.

Corruption and violence are high in Guatemala, according to the United Nations, which created a committee in 2006 to investigate those issues there. Carlos Castresana, the former head of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, announced his resignation earlier this year because he felt the country had not made enough reforms to its justice system.

More than 200,000 people have been killed in the nation since 1970, mostly as a result of organized crime, drug-trade violence and a 36-year civil war that ended in 1996.

There were 6,451 slayings in Guatemala in 2009, in which 230 verdicts were achieved, Castresana said earlier this year. That means, he said, that more than 96 percent of the killings last year were not solved.

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6 Borderland Beat Comments:

Capo said...

Why Guatamala, can't even handle things here in Mexico, so they should spread the few resources they have to a central american country, ya right!

Vanux said...

Ain't that convenient, this is just another excuse for the United States to militarize Central America in an effort to make Coup d'états easier to be carried out. I heard not too long ago that U.S. spook agencies are preparing to get Costa Rica from the south and Honduras from the north to fight Nicaragua using the old "divide and conquer" strategy, all because it is alleged that Costa Rica is complaining about Nicaraguan troops crossing into Costarican territory to aid drug runners. Central America is not leaning towards communism anymore, like the U.S. had us believe a generation ago. Now the excuse is to rid Central American nations of illegal drugs, come on!!! Why don't they start in Mexico??. The truth is that the U.S. can't stand the fact that central America is being run by all too populist leaders, leaders that are telling American interest to go fuck themselves. Don't get me wrong, I am as proud to be an American as the next guy is, in fact, I don't give a rat's ass who or what we invade as long as we [the American people] get our fair share of the loot in return for sending our kids to fight illegal wars, and what do we get for that? the truth is that we get jack shit, all we get is higher prices at the pumps and our kids back in coffins, so I say, fuck that shit!!! So people, don't fall for that old propagandistic crap again, we fell for it before and what happen? It turned out to be just a bunch of bullshit, and now, if they go all the way with that shit it will be our latino kids the ones being deployed to the slaughter house.

Anonymous said...

Neither latinos nor any other particular race will be sent to fight a war. Our military is voluntary and all races make up different troup batallions and branches of military. And no one wants to see our children saughtered in these stupid (but sometimes necessary) wars.

However, when the "United Nations" gets finished with their "committees" to study corruption problems, they need to figure out who besides the US is going to fund this security of Guataemala (or any other country where drugs are trafficked). We are not the only country by a long shot that has a problem using the dope these people grow or manufacture.

And when people talk about social reform, the question is who is going to pay for it. When our dollars become worthless, which is the direction we are heading, there won't be any money for social programs. And here in America, I for one think people get fat and lazy from the "social reforms" our government institutes. Look at all the "social programs" we have had over the past 50 years. Are we better off or worse?

Anonymous said...

It is simply a money grab on Guats. part....

Anonymous said...

'Look at all the "social programs" we have had over the past 50 years. Are we better off or worse?'

Huh? We don't even have a social medical delivery system beyond a total charade for most citizens. Pay out of pocket or start to die is the 'plan' in the US.

US Right Wingers sure take a dingbat view of their world when they actually complain about the pretty much non existent 'social programs' in the US. Wish we had them, but we really don't. Get older and start to get some chronic diseases and you idiots will start to find out. The super rich and the Pentagon get much of the government welfare but the Right never ever complains about that. They don't even see it, yet it's in front of their noses and stinks to high heaven!

Ernest1

'lito 'brito said...

guatamala...NO WAY...who shares a border with guatamala...Mexico....whose country are drugs from guatamala transported through...Mexico...sounds like a Mexican y Guatamalan problem to me ...everybody guard their own borders

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