Sep 30, 2011

Drug War: Responding to Violence in Central America -- A Report by the United States Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control

"Violence in Central America has reached crisis levels. Throughout Central America, Mexican drug trafficking organizations, local drug traffickers, transnational youth gangs, and other illegal criminal networks are taking advantage of weak governance and underperforming justice systems. This report outlines a series of concrete steps that the United States can take to support the seven countries of Central America as they try to improve security. The report does not call for large amounts of new money but instead recommends investments in key programs with host country partners.

The report’s most important recommendations for the Administration and
Congress include:

  • Expansion of first-rate, vetted law enforcement units which work with the Drug Enforcement Administration – such as those in Guatemala and Panama – to all seven countries in Central America; 
  • Elimination of  unnecessary red tape by allowing security assistance destined for Central America to be managed directly by each of the U.S. embassies in Central America rather than the U.S. Embassy in Mexico; 
  • Establishment from existing resources of Narcotics Affairs Sections in U.S. embassies in Central America – particularly in Honduras and El Salvador; 
  • Increased support for witness, judge and prosecutor protection programs in Central America which would help empower individuals to utilize their countries’ justice systems;    
  • Greater encouragement of extraditions of high-level criminals from Central America to the United States; and
  • Collaboration with the countries of Central America to map the causes and sources of violence in the subregion to better understand the interactions between Mexican and local drug trafficking organizations, transnational youth gangs and other illegal criminal networks."

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