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Column 060914 Brewer




Monday, June 9, 2014
Hemispheric Crime, Risks to
Mexico and Counterinsurgency
Needs
By Jerry Brewer
Although there is a myriad of opinion and other
pundit conjecture on the status and projected
plight of Latin America as it relates to crime and
violence, Mexico's apparent unabated rates of
homicide, kidnappings and assassinations, with
targets that include public figures and
journalists, continue.
Last week alone in the resort mecca of Acapulco,
another journalist was found murdered with his
body bearing signs of torture, four days after he
was kidnapped by unknown gunmen. The victim
wrote a political column for a weekly newspaper,
with one of his final reports describing protests
against violence and extortion by local and
federal authorities. Acapulco today is a
battleground of lawlessness and homicide with
impunity.
The US State Department recently warned that
the number of kidnappings throughout Mexico
is of particular concern and appears to be on the
rise. According to statistics published by the
Mexican Secretaria de Gobernacion (SEGOB),
during the first 11 months of 2013 kidnappings
nationwide increased 32 percent over the same
period in 2012. Guerrero State (Acapulco) was
listed with the highest numbers of kidnappings.
To the south of Mexico, the United Nations
reports that Honduras retains the world's
highest murder rate. Not surprisingly, El

Salvador was listed as second and Venezuela
third.
What is outrageous is the fact, as the UN
reported, that nearly 40 percent of the 437,000
murders committed globally in 2012 took place
in the Americas, with the majority in Central and
South America.
Where is the progress that so many local nation
leaders and their political cronies regurgitate in
this hemisphere? Where does the US officially
stand, beyond token meetings with Mexican and
other Latin American government leaders and
throwing mega-dollars their way for so-called
"assistance"? Where is the oversight and quality
control of US efforts and resources expended
anywhere in Latin America at this point?
While many of the northern tier nations of
Central America are facing nearly identical
problems, Mexico too faces a war-like dilemma.
Recently, Mexicos army again deployed
additional forces to two of the northern states,
Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas, which border the
US. This was reportedly done to reinforce police
and military units in place.
However, many of these saturation strategies
simply displace the organized criminal
insurgents that move to areas of lesser attention
and control, where there are essentially no
policing infrastructures. They remain in those
locations until they are swept again.
And, throughout all of this arrests and successful
prosecutions are rare while the number of
deaths mount measurably.
Evidence of the sweeping effect," from Mexico
into northern cone nations of Central America,
was partly reflective of former Mexican
President Felipe Calderon's aggressive military
response to violence and crime. However,
Mexicos southern borders, with Guatemala and
Belize, are virtual revolving doors.
Mexicos current president, Enrique Pea Nieto,
who pledged to build a better police
infrastructure and to remove the military from
enforcement venues, has had little recourse but
to fight superior armed criminals head on, while
he too seeks to protect his crime fighters from
ruthless criminals and ambushes. Even the US
Border Patrol is requesting additional training to
include cover and concealment strategies to
combat resourceful and well trained criminal
insurgents.
These insurgent-like threats continue to
graphically demonstrate the new organized
crime-terror nexus. Fear, intimidation, political
tampering, corruption, kidnappings, murders,
bombings, and torture seem to have become the
norm in the Americas. The organizational
similarities of organized crime and terror have
definitely merged to essentially form a single
merchant of violence and death. Groups have
emerged as third generation gangs possessing
extensive, asymmetrical warfare capabilities.
Interdiction efforts along the lines of a
successful counterinsurgency campaign can
neutralize insurgents, secure populations, and
reestablish government legitimacy where
threatened. Without order and the rule of law
the insurgents succeed by inflicting chaos and
disorder everywhere they can. These
governments will fail unless they can maintain
order and reduce fear. Building effective policing
infrastructures must eventually follow military
success in stabilizing regions in which
competent investigations and arrests can lead to
prosecutable victories, with extended
incarceration for violent offenders.
The primary goals of transnational organized
criminals are to gain power, territory and
control for massive profits, and to remain in
place doing so. They exploit voids in leadership
and rule of law in cities to gain this power and
control. Corruption of police, military and
government is thus a bonanza for them if there
is resistance, they simply kill, and the numbers
are astronomical. Anyone helping to attain their
goals is an ally until they no longer serve a need.
Much of the dilemma ahead regarding these
problems is that transnational criminal
organizations are flexible and adaptable; as well,
they receive cooperation from guerrilla groups,
and suspected rogue government military and
security officials.
The South and Central American corridor into
Mexico and the US is a primary conduit of
criminal organizations, where evildoers flourish
and kill with impunity in both directions. To
adequately address security challenges and be
effective against these enemies of the state, there
must be cooperation and consistent proactive
dialogue between neighboring nations. Without
these critical elements of support, higher
economic and social costs will continue to
significantly impede development, increase
crime, and further retard the quality of life for
millions.

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. TWITTER: CJIAUSA
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