This is a source for analysis, interviews, and commentary on security in Latin America. Herein you will find rumors, the results of off the record interviews, and information you'll not find in international or United States news media.
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Why doesn't anyone worry about Guatemala?
I don't spend much time reading the Guatemala Times, but I have to admit, they did a great job on making a list of interesting and perhaps important events related to the country's on going security crisis. You can find it here.
The Southern Pulse network (now with its database and new website finally in beta testing) has learned that one in four immigrants crossing from Guatemala to Mexico are stopped, detained, and deported. Simply put, the Mexico/Guatemala border is less patrolled and much, much less secure that the US/Mexico border.
Couple that fact with the fact that Ecuador, Nicaragua, and now Honduras have all relaxed visa requirements for a number of countries, including China, Iran, and Russia (see? some diplomacy has paid off for these international "bad boys"), and you've got basically an open sieve into Mexico from just about every sketchy country in the world...
Enter Alvaro Colom, the embattled president of Guatemala (pictured above, thanks Guat. Times).
He's a chain smoker, runs around with a 12-man security detail, and recently dealt with a scandal that blew up when he discovered that his chief of intelligence had bugged his bedroom, living room, and office - only to turn around and sell the intel to Mexican organized crime. Alvaro Colom's political party is littered with old school organized criminal elements who are in bed with Mexican organized crime, and his police are just as corrupt as the guys in Mexico.
More detail here and here.
Now, consider Colom's limited budget, limited number of trusted personnel, and double-dish security issues with both organized criminals and street gangsters running amock.
What will happen if Calderon manages to put too much heat on the DTOs in Mexico?
As we've already seen, there is a clear and well documented spillover, and not north but south. Guatemala is today a serious issue, and if there is any state in the Americas that is close to failure, it is Guatemala, not Mexico. Why doesn't the US government see this?
Why doesn't mainstream media talk about it? Probably because its too far away from US borders. The truth is, however, that if Guatemala becomes a failed state, both Mexico and the US will suffer. I sincerely hope it does not come to that.