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Column 060412 Brewer

Monday, June 4, 2012

Wishy-washy U.S. Practices Take a Toll in Central America

By Jerry Brewer

Central America's history has shown an all too frequent unstable position of democratic government, and most of the region's nations have demonstrated even weaker enforcement of law and order. Furthermore, many of those nations that have been making progress in terms of democratization are again experiencing destabilizing and counter democratization trends.

Although there are varying levels of democracy -- and those that are purely façade, democracy will continue to serve as an important legitimizing force of government. A free press, respect for human rights, free and competitive elections, among other things, serve as checks and balances on potential abuses of power and give real meaning to the concept of self-government and sovereignty.

Central America has been a frequent intelligence tasking mandate by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency through the years, and specifically during the Cold War.

In Nicaragua, the Sandinistas gained power in the summer of 1979, political heirs of a legendary peasant guerrilla named Augusto Sandino who fought the ruling Somoza family and the U.S. Marines until he was killed in 1934.

The Sandinistas, once in power and through Daniel Ortega's brother Humberto, openly stated that "Marxist-Leninism is the scientific doctrine that guides our revolution."  This while the CIA reported Nicaragua's Sandinista regime funneling arms from Cuba, the Soviet Union and the rest of the communist bloc, even North Vietnam, to the Farabundo Marti guerrilla movement.

When former Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua resurfaced as President in 2007, after being voted from power some 20 years before, he began his campaign by speaking of the "evils of capitalism and the U.S." He also emphasized, "The U.S. no longer rules Latin America. The Yankees no longer rule Nicaragua."

And today, solidarity for humanity throughout the Americas may indeed be an immaculate perception. Elections all over Latin America have demonstrated a myriad of diverse beliefs and opinions on who can be the most effective leaders.

Latin America's history is full of episodes of state terrorism. State terrorism is a major contributor to the rise of guerrilla movements, as evidenced in the Central American wars of the 1970s and 1980s.

After World War II a number of Latin American nations went from non-democratic to democratic systems of government, and less stable populist systems of government became bureaucratic authoritarian states with sustained rule under military regimes. Others oscillated back and forth, between democratic and non-democratic systems.  And over the past two decades Latin American countries have, for the most part, adhered to the cyclical patterns of alternating between varying forms of democratic and autocratic rule.

The current state of political affairs throughout Latin America is one clouded by trepidation and uncertainty. A hesitation that probably seeks to comprehend current U.S. internal democratic yet disparate strife and unity over partisan world and wartime agendas.

As U.S. attention has been mostly diverted to other world threats, Latin America has continued to sort and evaluate true U.S. intentions and loyalties to this Hemisphere. With leftist external influences on their doorsteps, they have struggled with perceptions and many have failed to define their true national and world identities.

Venezuela President Hugo Chavez's consistent bellicose demeanor towards the United States, and arms buildup throughout South America, lent obvious credence to this perception, along with his left-leaning agenda and other dubious activities.  Norberto Ceresole, the late sociologist and global political strategist from Argentina, was an early advisor to Chavez. Ceresole believed that Latin America "must forge alliances with Arab nations to fight against the U.S." and what he called "the Jewish financial mafia." Chavez subsequently played a major role at the first South American-Arab Summit in Brazil, attacking the U.S. and Israel as the chief enemies of Latin America.

Central America witnessed one of the largest guerrilla insurgencies in Latin America during the decade of the 1970s. Cuban and Soviet Union financed troops and supply lines throughout Nicaragua and El Salvador were attempting to overthrow governments via their revolutions. Yet they were not successful as a people united rejected an enemy and an ideology.

Now, growing instability in certain Latin American states is obviously of concern to the U.S.  This while the U.S. is showing progress as it presses governments in Central America to work together in the sharing of intelligence; and to even allow security forces from one nation to operate on the sovereign soil of another, Honduras for example.

This unified effort supersedes previous years, as hundreds of aircraft flew contraband unimpeded from South America to isolated landing strips in Honduras alone.

However, as the violence and death tolls continue to mount in Mexico and Central America due to intercontinental organized criminal insurgencies -- coupled with transnational and local gangs, many citizens are asking for aggressive enforcement efforts to end.  El Salvador has sought gang truces, whereas the forthcoming Mexican presidential election holds an unknown certainty for continued interdiction efforts.  


Jerry Brewer is C.E.O. of Criminal Justice International Associates, a global threat mitigation firm headquartered in northern Virginia.  His website is located at

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