Latin America and the Caribbean is considered to be the most violent region in the world. Despite widespread gains in education, poverty reduction, and living standards, Latin American countries continue to have disproportionately high rates of violent crime. Some may find this puzzling, since many of these countries have particularly powerful military and police forces. This then raises the question: Why haven't new policing strategies in the region had any impact? Is Latin America in a 'Security Trap'?
El estado de Michoacán, México está convirtiendo en un campo de batalla entre el pueblo y los carteles. En respuesta a la violencia que trae el cartel Caballeros Templarios a esta región, grupos vigilantes forman para protegerse.
For the last 50 years, Colombia’s most prominent guerrilla group, the FARC or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, have fought violently for land reform and justice for the poor. Formed in 1964, the Marxist peasant movement has used violence to bring attention to their cause, which has mostly been funded by the lucrative drug trade. However, over the last year in Havana, Cuba, negotiators from both the FARC and the Colombian government have been meeting in an effort to end the 50-year war.
After the murder of former Miss Venezuela and soap opera actress Monica Spear, more concerns have contributed to the discussion of safety in the violence-stricken country. After being in a vehicle deemed “too modest” by her attackers, Monica Spear and her husband were murdered by gunshots, leaving their five-year-old daughter an orphan.
Earlier this week, the Mexican government announced the legalization of growing vigilante groups. The government came to an agreement with the vigilante groups to integrate into the already existing quasi-military groups named the Rural Defense Corps.
In a country that has been battling extreme drug-related violence in a seemingly endless war, mixed opinions regarding the government’s action parallel the uncertainty that surrounds the country’s future. “El regreso del Chapo,” a narcocorrido sung by El Komander begins with the following idolization of one of Mexico’s most infamous perpetrators, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Lorea:
“No hay chapo que no sea bravo"
Así lo dice el refrán
Last week, Argentina’s president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner faced a general strike from some of the largest unions of the country. Most businesses and services throughout the country were closed including transportation, hospitals, schools, and restaurants.1 With many taxi and bus drivers on strike, those who did not participate could not go to work for the day. Picketers blocked off roads, preventing travel throughout the capital. In other cities throughout the country, such as Córdoba, smaller scale strikes had similar effects.
American foreign policy toward Latin America has had an overwhelmingly development based focus; building democratic institutions, promoting economic opportunity and encouraging social equity. With this strategy, American policymakers have hoped that both political and economic liberalization will lead to the submission of Latin American governments to the American interest. This has been proven false in an increasing number of occurrences, such as Argentina, Venezuela and Brazil.