Thursday, January 20, 2011

Organized drug crime in Central America

The Economist magazine has published an article today about the growing threat to Central America from the organized drug trade. Here's an excerpt:

“Central America is entering an extraordinarily critical phase” in which its peace and security are threatened by “the onslaught of the drug-trafficking organisations”, an official from the International Narcotics Control Board, a United Nations agency, warned this month.

Much of the blame lies with the arrival of the Mexican mafias, mainly the Zetas and the Sinaloa “cartel”. The assassination of Honduras’s top anti-drugs official in 2009 seems to have been a Sinaloa hit. Zeta training-camps and recruitment banners have sprung up in Guatemala. The Mexican mobs are also contracting out their work, taking advantage of Central America’s competitive narco-labour market. They recruit trained hitmen from the pool of soldiers laid off by several countries’ armies, slashed since the end of the civil wars 20 years ago. Guatemala has cut its army’s nominal strength by two-thirds since 1996. Now former members of its notorious Kaibiles special forces are said to have close links with the Zetas, themselves a former Mexican special-forces unit.
Read the rest here.

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