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El Salvador’s Political Management of Criminality

El Salvador’s Political Management of Criminality

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Governance in Central America and Criminality in El Salvador
Governance in Central America and Criminality in El Salvador

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Published by: Jerry E. Brewer, Sr. on Apr 15, 2014
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05/27/2014

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Column 041414 Brewer 
 
Monday, April 14, 2014
 
Governance in Central America and Criminality in El Salvador
 
By Jerry Brewer
 
 With the most recent estimates of homicides reported by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (the latest data being for the year 2012), the northern cone of Central America continues to lead and set records for intentional deaths.
 
Honduras has the world’s highest rate of
murder, with 90.4 per 100,000.
Guatemala’s numbers were 39.9; El
Salvador had 41.2 per 100,000; and, surprisingly, Belize homicides were reported at 44.7. All of which must alarm Mexico's political leaders (where the rate per 100,000 intentional deaths  was 21.5) as their southern borders, seemingly, continue to be elbow to elbow in violence, death and misery, with little progress showing from professed efforts to actively fight crime.
 
In the United States, the 2012 intentional homicide rate per 100,000 population was 4.7.
 
This report graphically and boisterously shows that the Americas' homicide rates have been five to eight times higher than those of Europe and Asia since the mid-1950s, describing the phenomenon as "the legacy of decades of political and crime-related violence."
El Salvador is a case study within this region, having a crime culture that has
 
evolved and been nurtured by a myriad of cultural, political, and transnational circumstances and facilitations at the highest levels. It is simply about power, corruption, and wealth.
 
 What about enforcement and the rule of law? Where are they? And why are arrests so few and far between, with unsuccessful investigations that are not leading to successful prosecutions and convictions?
 
El Salvador’s murder rate is reported at
41.2. Focusing on El Salvador is necessary to see the strategic implications of geographical issues; political situations;
that homeland’s state of readiness to
defend against gangs and domestic and transnational organized crime; and the significance of the threats that are felt by its neighbors and even across the U.S.  border and into major U.S. cities. El Salvador's gang and criminal networks know the U.S. system of criminal justice, as well as the criminal operating networks within. Thousands of Salvadoran's have served prison and jail terms in the U.S., and many have assimilated with other domestic crime networks, plus there are those who have  been suspected and/or reported to have ties to international terrorist organizations.
 
Remarkably, El Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. It borders the Pacific Ocean, and the countries of Guatemala and Honduras. The importance of El Salvador, to serve as a domestic and TCO deterrent in this region, is critically necessary for the security of the entire hemisphere.
 
Proactive and strategic policing and law
 
enforcement is a major facet that is required by all nations within these regions, especially El Salvador.
 
In the history of traditional policing, it is hard to fathom that the need to evolve into paramilitary strategies and war-like engagement would become necessary as it has in Mexico and Central America. Regardless of some public opinion and other pundit conjecture on policing methodology, the rule of law must prevail within a homeland to safeguard human life and property, and provide a harmonious quality of life. Military  versus traditional policing continues to  be debated passionately. However, it is clear to those of us that have administered and led law enforcement organizations in violent areas that superior armament and tactics by criminal combatants is a game changer, and this requires enhance skills, knowledge and abilities to survive -- as  well as to protect and serve.
 
Traditional police were never designed, created and deployed to face the overwhelming superiority of firepower,  weaponry, and tactics being used by transnational organized criminals to confront and effectively ambush and kill military and police officials at the highest levels as we have seen in Mexico and Central America. The caveat that violent drug gangs are the primary prolific nemesis of democratic governments within the hemisphere is also misleading. Logistically speaking, these organized criminal insurgents need weapons, as  well as the means to launder money, facilitate movements, a market to corrupt officials, and regimes that will overlook their actions for unspecified remuneration.

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