Publications

What we found was evidence of a grim, multisided confict with no clear end in sight: Gangs are now present in each of the country’s 14 regional departments, controlling entire neighborhoods and imposing untold violence and fear on the population. The Salvadoran government developed a relatively well-regarded plan that promises a more balanced approach to the gangs, but there is little funding for the program and international donors have been slow to buy in. The hard security strategy is what is most evident on the streets

Last December, the Latin America Working Group Education Fund (LAWGEF) and Center for International Policy (CIP) traveled to Honduras for a first-hand look. What we found was a security situation in shambles and a country in dire need of reform. We have compiled our findings into this report which paints a picture of the most alarming issues facing Honduras today, including mass migration, the disturbing and highly visible militarization of law enforcement, grave threats against human rights defenders, and a lack of an effective and independent justice system. The report also examines the role U.S. assistance has played, and can play, in the plight of the Honduran people.

This report finds that U.S. assistance has dropped near the lowest levels in more than a decade—about US$2.2 billion foreseen for 2014. But dollar amounts are deceptive. While U.S. diplomatic efforts are flagging, other less transparent forms of military-to-military cooperation are on the rise. For example, the report finds that Special Operations Forces, whose budgets are not being cut as they re-deploy from Iraq and Afghanistan, are visiting Latin America more frequently for joint training in war-fighting skills, intelligence gathering, and other military missions.

Colombia is the only country in the Americas to have significantly reduced insecurity measures in the past 10 years, but Colombia offers no model for Mexico. Some tactics may apply, but the strategy does not. The experience of "Plan Colombia" since 2000 is more of a cautionary tale.

 

A still-unfolding scandal in Colombia is revealing American Commission on Human Rights,” establishing that the government’s intelligence agency not only spied upon major players in Colombia’s democracy—from Supreme Court and Constitutional Court judges to presidential candidates, from journalists and publishers to human rights defenders, from international organizations to U.S. and European human rights groups—but also carried out dirty tricks, and even death threats, to undermine their legitimate, democratic activities.

Pages