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Tough love for Central America

By Kevin Casas-Zamora, a former vice president and minister of national planning in Costa Rica and a senior fellow in the Latin America Initiative at the Brookings Institution (LOS ANGELES TIMES, 22/06/11): During Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s trip to Guatemala this week, the governments of Central America will unveil their strategy for fighting entrenched organized crime in the region. The meeting is meant to raise the profile of the isthmus’ severely deteriorated security situation and marshal international resources to the task of improving it. The stakes are high. Central America’s drug-related security plight is as grave as Mexico’s. Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador have violence rates second only to those of active war zones. Honduras’ murder rate (77 per 100,000 people in 2010) is 15 times that of the United States and more than four times that of Mexico. Moreover, in the last decade, murder rates have gone up in every country in the region, in some cases dramatically. The narcotics ma...
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