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Column 012609 Brewer

Monday, January 26, 2009

Latin America and the Paradigm of Geopolitical Choices

By Jerry Brewer

Latin America will quickly interpret that change in U.S.


leadership will not always follow an idiosyncratic pattern of
stances that are inherent in the competition to elected offices.
What will matter to Latin America is action beyond mere words
and promises. Failure in transcending this dichotomy could
seriously decompose political and social bonds early in the
transition phase of a new regime. In fact, Mexico has
emergency needs of support and guidance systems as they
fight toe to toe with the murderous narcotraffickers and well-
armed organized crime elements.

Latin America is a hub of contrasting economic systems such as


socialism and capitalism. What has evaded the hemisphere
has been a developmental dynamism in economic growth and
democratic stability. Although, within a hemisphere of
considerable diversity exists cultural and institutional
interconnection and pride. The commonalities most certainly
don't outweigh the differences. Corruption has been rampant in
many regions of the southwestern hemisphere. Too,
democracy has taken a toll as leftist leaders have permeated
the once anti-communist strongholds with anti-U.S. propaganda
and actions.

Irrespective of the current perceived ideology that has eroded


confidence in the ability of the U.S. to maintain a continued
relationship with Latin America of fairness, trust, and
accountability, the cultural, social and economic bonds still
seem to prevail. A common theme is a resurgence and
resilience against social dissolution, economic stagnation, and
political decay.

Extraordinary leadership and cooperation could be a catalyst


for change, in lieu of empty promises and totalitarian regimes
that seek to remain in office indefinitely with hidden agendas.
Two of the factors that will build sound structures of government
that will stand tall and united are those that place a high value
on life and human rights. The U.S. administration must
aggressively lead as an example during times of violence,
death, and mayhem to their neighbors to the south. This
leadership model must demonstrate a willingness to be flexible,
efficient, and responsive to basic needs.

Oppressive and other rogue regimes throughout Latin America


that deny human rights and basic freedoms must be rejected by
a committed alliance of democratic nations for positive and
progressive change. Those countries turning a blind eye to
terrorism, drug trafficking, and harboring transnational criminal
insurgents must be confronted by a united effort of neighbors
declaring a zero tolerance for such actions.

A common agenda to be brought forward by a new U.S.


administration for its neighbors to the south is cooperative and
strategic initiatives to aggressively disrupt, deter and defeat
terrorist networks. A dynamic, intelligence-driven effort should
be a top priority by those democratic nations working in spirited
unison to purge this escalating world calamity. These strategies
should thrive among cooperating nations with diverse
languages, social networking, and great cultural awareness.
The threat environment for these nations is asymmetrical due to
the many cultures and networks inherent within the regions.
Strategic counterterrorism initiatives, properly deployed against
these targets, must acutely focus on possible state sponsorship,
religious ideology (if a factor), political or related goals,
organizational aspects, and the geography of the effected
region.

Through concerted efforts of appropriate counterterrorism, due


diligence and proper use of the intelligence cycle/apparatus, the
plans, modus operandi, and motivations of the terrorist networks
will be interdicted. Complacency in this cooperative theater of
operation will most certainly result in more lost lives and
despair. Radicalized terrorists, narcoterrorists, and related
transnational organized criminal insurgents have a flexibility to
rapidly adapt and remain flexible in strategies, tactics,
surveillance, attack, and escape.

The sophistication of these groups cannot ever be minimized.


Their extremism is an obvious factor, along with their loosely
organized/decentralized nature that survives some loss of
leadership due to death or capture. Reports by the Washington
Times have already linked Middle Eastern terrorists to Mexican
drug cartels, whereas U.S. intelligence has reported similar links
within Honduras.

Latin America has undergone prolific upheaval over the years.


From being dazzled by the early days of Fidel Castro and
revolutionary Che Guevara chanting and advocating anti-
imperialist vision, to calling for armed struggle. Election feuds,
economic deterioration creating turbulent changes in the
economy, and fighting to overturn tyranny have been significant
challenges leaving moral scars that have reigned for decades.
Mexico's valiant fight against narcoterrorists attempting to
terrorize a democratic nation through massive death and war-
like atrocities remains a current world concern.

Choices must be made within the western hemisphere as to the


direction of acceptance or rejection of short and long-term
recommendations and strategies. Voices of leftists and left
leaning regimes will be strong and intimidating.

——————————
Jerry Brewer is Vice President of Criminal Justice International
Associates, a global risk mitigation firm headquartered in Miami,
Florida. jbrewer@cjiausa.org