Small Wars Journal

In Latin America, Lines Between Crime and War Begin to Blur

In Latin America, Lines Between Crime and War Begin to Blur by Janine Davidson, Defense in Depth

While attention was focused last week on President Obama’s trip to Asia, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel was on a separate mission to boost military-to-military relations in another important part of the world: Latin America. Hagel’s trip to Mexico and Guatemala, two countries plagued by spiraling drug violence, highlights the increasingly blurred line between military activities and law enforcement.

Where drug traffickers have proven too much for local police to handle, as has been the case in Mexico and Guatemala, governments have called in their military. To assist in this fight, the U.S. is negotiating a deal to sell $680 million in Black Hawk helicopters and is considering providing drones as well. U.S. advisers have also helped set up anti-drug and anti-trafficking interagency task forces in the region to coordinate efforts among military, intelligence, and law enforcement agencies. In this expanding mission, U.S. military advisory activities stretch conventional boundaries…

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Categories: El Centro