E D I T O R I A L and O P I N I O N


Chameleon-like Gangs and Guerrillas blurring their Agendas in Latin America
By: Jerry Brewer

As if Mexico and much of Latin America are not mired in enough record setting murder and violent atrocities, the spectre of organized criminal subversives continue to pose significant security threats to homelands across borders. It is now clear to many that a large part of their order of business is not about drug trafficking, but also influencing elections, threatening governments, military, and police officials; as well as drawing attention to their moniker de guerre. This rebellion of sorts that has consistently been portrayed as drug cartels versus drug cartels; “prohibition” claims in which legalization of drugs would stop the violence, and constant references to poor disadvantaged youth has set many unrealistic goals and agendas to halt the killing. There is a monumental failure to address the many underlying motivations and social dynamics of this violence that are not popular with governing officials. It is easy to blame voracious drug demand from the US that gives demand and supply perpetual life. It is also easy to coin the phrase of many world nations mired in poverty that this violent crime is fuelled by unemployment and lack of opportunities. Power and greed are two terms that need to be astutely and aggressively injected into proactive and strategic dialogue on this transnational murdering scourge. Identity is a curious necessity for so many of these insurgents. Could their original cause or motivation for violence be a lesser need? Territorial confrontations, allegations of disrespect, as well as status and prestige are often cited as the prime rationale for the murdering onslaught. Power struggles are a key ingredient of control within the transnational criminal network theatre.


The dynamics cited in lack of opportunities for youth and assorted economic issues are no doubt great topics of conversation. A saying from long ago was that the US border was paved with gold. This euphemism was used to cite that even the minimum wage in the US was so much more than what so many could earn in their own countries. Drug trafficking and extracting what has been reported to be a US $80B out of the US across the border for illicit drugs, gave new perspectives to ideologues that now see minimum wage labour as a joke. The hunger for massive US dollars that has now expanded into many foreign currencies by transnationals comes in many and competing methods of illicit markets. Human and sex trafficking has boomed. A minimum of US $32B is attributed to human trafficking revenue. Trafficking for sexual purposes is believed to far exceed those numbers. Kidnappings and extortions have also become major sources of illicit revenue that know no boundaries due to the wealth of so many of the victims willing to pay to survive. Many pay and do not survive. This year in Mexico alone the nation saw the highest number of reported kidnappings in the first half of 2013 since at least 1997. Peace and truce talks throughout Latin America with governments and guerrillas and gangs appear to be clear indications of the deception by these transnational organized criminals that seem to crave the attention and power they perceive they have. Too, their negotiating agendas often fail to address the reasons why they do what they do with impunity- often citing their identity as a voice of the people and calling for government representation Preventing violence over the long-term has not been the hallmark of these talks. Some fear that the narrow focus on truces alone may actually be part of the problem. Many insurgents and gangs are linked to other transnational criminal markets and some with allegations of political support from rogue regimes. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, US-based social scientists held a dim view of gang truces believing these kinds of agreements legitimized gangs, “reinforced the authority of leaders, deepened cohesion among their rank and file, and reproduced -- rather than reduced – violence.” In Cuba current negotiations since November of 2012 between Colombia and its largest left-wing guerrilla insurgency of five decades, known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, shows little progress The group has essentially held Colombia hostage, with an estimated figure of 220,000 people killed with hundreds of thousands displaced. Perceived by some as tongue-in-cheek, FARC leader Ivan Marquez characterized the talks "an important step in the right direction to end the conflict and to achieve a real democracy in Colombia." The truth is that FARC insurgents have taken hostages and murdered many civilians, including women and children. Their rationale for attacks and assassinations against military and police having been justified, is their citing the political ideology of starting out as a grassroots-supported guerrilla movement that had the interest of the repressed rural population. Their history of having taken advantage of previous concessions by the Colombian government to talk, disarm, and seek peace is well documented.



Duplicitous behavior and vacillation by these transnational criminal leaders professing peace but never laying down their arms, while demonstrating the importance they attach to image and status maintenance, negates much hope for a return to the rule of law voluntarily. CRIMINAL JUSTICE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATES United States of America —————————— jbrewer@cjiausa.us Jerry Brewer is C.E.O. of Criminal Justice International Associates, a global threat mitigation firm headquartered in northern Virginia. His website is located at www.cjiausa.org BREWER Published archives TWITTER: CJIAUSA


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