From Adam Thomson, the Financial Times: Central American nations straining to contain the threat from violent and well-armed drugs cartels should push for the creation of a regional Nato-style military force, Guatemala’s president has said.
In an interview with the Financial Times, centre-left President Álvaro Colom insisted that only a significant improvement in security intelligence combined with a regional project to combine military strength would rid Central America of the vicious gangs.
His comments come as Guatemala battles against increasingly sophisticated and well-funded drug cartels, which have proved more than a match for the country’s depleted security forces and have undermined governability in Central America’s most populous country. . . .
Mexican cartels, displaced by that country’s crackdown on organised crime, have muscled in on local Guatemalan drug routes. The Zetas, originally enforcers for Mexico’s notorious Gulf cartel but now a crime organisation in their own right, have overtaken parts of Guatemala’s Petén region – about one-third of the national territory – to facilitate cocaine smuggling from South America to the US. . . .
Mr Colom, who is now in his final year in office, told the FT that while the region’s governments have learned what sovereignty means, the drug traffickers have not: while they travel through Central America almost at will, the region’s national armies and police forces cannot cross international borders without the permission of each country’s congress.
“What good is it if the forces of one country are pursuing drug traffickers who cross a river but then have to stop to avoid an international incident?” he said. “Why not have a type of Central American Nato?” (photo: directorblue)