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Central America's Criminal and Terroristic Nexus is Maturing

Central America's Criminal and Terroristic Nexus is Maturing

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Central American Criminal and Terrorism Nexuses are Maturing
Central American Criminal and Terrorism Nexuses are Maturing

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Published by: Jerry E. Brewer, Sr. on Apr 21, 2014
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07/05/2014

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Column 042114 Brewer 
 
Monday, April 21, 2014
 
Central American Criminal and Terrorism Nexuses are Maturing
 
By Jerry Brewer
 
 As Central America's northern cone nations set records for willful deaths, Honduras leads the world  with a murder rate of 90.4 per 100,000. El Salvador, Guatemala
and Belize’s homicide rates are
averaging, collectively, 42 percent per 100,000, as people literally fight for their lives. These seemingly unabated rates of murder, plus the kidnappings and assassinations of public figures, police, members of the armed forces and journalists, are the continuing and expanding product -- and chosen role -- of transnational organized criminals (TOC). And much of their achieved movement would not have been possible without facilitation and nurturing by rogue leftist political regimes, and paramilitary and guerilla-like forces, within this hemisphere.
 
Each of the countries in the northern cone of Central America, as well as Mexico and the United
 
States, have shared borders within the regions of hostile operational activities that witness fluid and seemingly unstoppable encroachment by the criminal insurgent-like actors. These TOCs, for the most part, use advanced military-type weaponry, superior firepower and more advantageous military tactics, including seen  before elements of intelligence tradecraft employed by world terrorist organizations.
 
Mexico's military has forced many gangs south into Guatemala and El Salvador. Quick to follow were the Zetas, albeit the Zeta movement south has been described as a proactive movement and not a reactive strategy of retreat. Their reach into Central America has corrupted police, while they have recruited talent and trained recruits in Guatemalan camps. Movements into Honduras graphically mark the Zeta's area of influence as a clear indicator of turf superiority, as they have expanded their territorial range from the Gulf of Mexico coastal states to Central  America. The transnational influence and power of the Zetas paved the way for an upswing in the long distance shipping of cocaine from South  America, much of this through the risky Central America drug pipeline into lucrative North American markets. Other violent criminal activities, including human and sex trafficking, have matured into lucrative markets of incredible revenue. These awesome endeavors required a power that had to
 
prevail against all obstacles designed to interdict. In El Salvador alone, the strong and violent Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang became a fertile recruiting ground for the Zetas. Law enforcement and government concerns and fears that powerful Zeta alliances would lead to jail  breaks, to free previously captured gang members, became realities.
 
This insurgent-like equation  became the new organized crime-terror nexus. Fear, intimidation, political tampering, kidnappings, murders, bombings, and torture  became the norm. The organizational similarities of organized crime and terror merged to essentially form a single merchant of violence and death, available to the highest or most powerful bidder or survivor. Groups emerged as third generation gangs possessing extensive, asymmetrical warfare capabilities. The critical question that must be asked, again -- and much more  vociferously: where are all of these
affected nation’s priorities,
strategies and proactive solutions to protect against TOCs using asymmetric tactics against the States and further threatening their nations' security and economy?
 
Many ask, “Just how real and serious is this?” As far back as
2009, the previous director of the CIA, General Michael Hayden,
stated: ‘‘Escalating violence along
the U.S.-Mexico border will pose the second greatest threat to U.S.

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