"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Broke US wastes $660 million on Central American Drug War

The Failed Drug War
Congress spent nearly $700 million in money we do not have on a Central American drug war that cannot be won
  • Homicide rates in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras are significantly higher than in violence-plagued Mexico.
  • Congress refuses to consider decriminalization to destroy the power of the violent cartels.

The U.S. is spending hundreds of millions in money we do not have to fight a drug war in Central America.

U.S. officials estimate that 84% of U.S.-bound cocaine passes through Central America. In Guatemala, the Congressional Research Service recently noted, at least 40% of the country is believed to be under the "effective control" of drug traffickers. Homicide rates in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras are significantly higher than in violence-plagued Mexico, yet few cases result in convictions reports the Los Angeles Times.

Since 2007, Congress has appropriated $496 million for an aid program, the Central America Regional Security Initiative. The Department of Defense has kicked in $160 million of "counter-narcotics support" funds over the same period.

Guatemalan President says drug war has failed

The Drug War in Guatemala: A Conversation with Giancarlo Ibarguen
Over 5,000 drug killings a year.

Bruce Bagley, a Latin America expert at the University of Miami, says those are paltry numbers compared with the $1.9 billion in dedicated drug-war funds provided to Mexico since 2007, or the roughly $8 billion given to Colombia in the decade-long aid program that had some success in rolling back cartel influence there.

In recent years, the U.S. has also showered Central American governments with hardware to help stem the flow of drugs: aircraft, boats, X-ray cargo scanners, ballistic vests and wiretapping centers.  Translation - American businesses are making money selling products to the government to fight the "war" on drugs.

Villa Nueva's video surveillance system is one of several projects meant to help fight the explosion in violent crime that has destabilized local governments and prompted some residents to head north toward the U.S., often illegally, in search of peace.

But the crime-fighting initiative goes far beyond surveillance cameras. The U.S. is also investing in civic projects under the theory that the drug war here cannot be won without more skilled and trustworthy police and prosecutors, along with an engaged citizenry that has reason to hope.

  • U.S. "security initiative" tax dollars provide poor children with alternatives to crime such as break-dancing performances and clown and juggling programs.

(Los Angeles Times)

Also see our article:
THE FEDERALIST - US Marines are on the ground in Guatemala

The Drug War creates a militarized society.  But politicians
refuse to decriminalize drugs to remove the gang violence.

The murder capital of the world

Honduras had the highest per-capita murder rate as Mexican drug cartels expanded smuggling networks into Central America. U.S. officials say the north coast of Honduras is the beginning of a drug pipeline to the United States.

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