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Column 010311 Brewer Monday, January 3, 2011 Many Latin Americans are Up Against Despotic Rule in 2011 By Jerry Brewer In what has traditionally been a popular annual theme throughout the Americas — the question, is there a future for continued democracy in Latin America, may not now be the most pressing concern in the New Year. While there are South and Central American nations that continue to demonstrate unstable positions of democratic government, many of these countries have demonstrated even weaker enforcement of law and order. Moreover, several nations are also experiencing destabilizing and counter democratization trends. It is important for Latin Americans to continue to genuinely reflect on the true issues of real democracy, as their elected governments posture to address other serious conflict and uncertainty. With the region’s varying levels of democracy — and those that are purely façades, democracy will continue to serve as an important legitimizing force of government. A free press, respect for human rights, and free and competitive elections, all serve as critical checks and balances on potential abuses of power and give real meaning to the concept of selfgovernment and sovereignty. Consequently, remaining democratic must be a priority for those wishing to be free of tyranny. What possibly could be a more pressing issue than maintaining pure democracy? One of the first issues that comes to mind, with factual perspective and much evidence demonstrated, is the potential threat to hemispheric and U.S. security with the growing influence and involvement of Iran in the region. Concern and fear did not wane recently when elected government officials in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Uruguay joined ranks and voted to support a Palestinian state. Evidence of leftist government support came when an early advisor and “global political strategist” to President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Norberto Ceresole, advised that Latin America “must forge alliances with Arab nations to fight

against the U.S.,” and what he called “the Jewish financial mafia.” Chavez subsequently played a major role at the first South American-Arab Summit in Brazil, attacking the U.S. and Israel as the chief enemies of Latin America. Nicaragua’s leftist President Daniel Ortega has continued the rhetoric from the beginning of his presidential campaign comeback, after being voted from power over 15 years ago. He spoke of the “evils of capitalism and the U.S.” He also emphasized, “The U.S. no longer rules Latin America. The Yankees no longer rule Nicaragua.” Ortega, like many of his leftist leader supporters, is also trying to extend presidential term limits (to a third term) beyond established constitutional provisions. In almost comical fashion, in which he addressed the recent Costa Rican and Nicaraguan dispute of the border at the mouth of the San Juan River, Ortega accused Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama, Mexico and Colombia of representing the interests of narcotraffickers. Costa Rica’s strong international support prompted Ortega to announce, “Drug traffickers are directing Costa Rica's foreign policy." He claimed that the Nicaraguan soldiers deployed in the disputed border region are there to fight the war on drugs. He said any country that opposes Nicaragua's military presence in the area must therefore be defending the interests of narcotraffickers. The major flap on this incident was allegedly due to a group of Nicaraguans dredging the river who set up camp on the Costa Rican side, backed by about 50 soldiers. As leftist leaders throughout the Americas continue their efforts to centralize both political and economic power in their own hands to the detriment of their countries' democratic institutions, Mexico continues to fight a transnational battle against drug traffickers and criminals of organized crime within their homeland. Recent small bombs placed on cars in Mexico raises even more fears of eventual far larger and more deadly vehicle-borne explosive devices being utilized, due to the progressive nature demonstrated by these organized criminals so far in the use of superior armament. In 2011, the Mexican government pledges to “continue its allout assault on Mexico’s cartels.” Their basic premise, with much merit, is that their strategies have succeeded in weakening Mexico’s drug cartels, although the U.S. drug demand remains voracious for product. Mexico is also witness, and contrary to the opinion of some, that the “war on drugs is key to the prohibitionist paradigm.” Mexico knows that their rates of murder, kidnapping for ransom, robbery, human trafficking, and related violent crime, which are out of control, would not simply stop if drugs were legal. They face an enemy that seeks to control and rule the Mexican homeland.

The New Year could bring a new era of continued global conflict and insurgency to the Western Hemisphere through continued leftist rhetoric and manipulation, as well as provocative military movements and massive arms purchases. Instead, the region's leaders should show their strength and commitment for freedom, and the safety and welfare of all people. —————————— 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

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