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Column123013 Brewer

Monday, December 30, 2013
The Americas Must Confront Hemispheric Difficulties in 2014

By Jerry Brewer

True peace does not act as a pretext for justifying a social structure, nor does the absence of violence resulting from the domination of one part of society over others. Today’s vast and rapid cultural changes demand that we not be constricted to the limits of un­derstanding and expression of any one culture.

Many throughout this hemisphere have been disoriented by the paradigmatic nature of the massive and record setting death and barbaric violence levels that have saturated Mexico and Central America over the last decade.  In South America, Venezuela is following suit with a homicide rate that rose again in 2013, and has quadrupled over the past 15 years.

Violent deaths among youth in Argentina are at a ten-year high

Moral judgments, fairly or unfairly, are spewed and made regularly, escalating suspicion in contiguous nations to include habitual mistrust and attributable moral discernment. Lessening of this impetus is difficult due to the illusory nature of the conflicts.

The common good and peace in society are of course affected by the true rule of law, as well as its absence. And there is no doubt that the regions of this hemisphere sustaining the most victims of criminal violence are those besieged by transnational organized crime. This infamous network of crime is now well established throughout the Americas, and many peo­ple from Canada to the southern tip of Argentina have blood on their hands as a direct result of comfortable and silent complicity.

Painful suffering in many parts of this hemisphere has resulted from mass protests, where thousands of people have called for an end to corruption and impunity, and for freedom, justice, respect for human and civil rights, and a voice to address a variety of other demands that must not be silenced by force.

Provid­ing a strategic and proactive treatise for solutions to the war-like conditions has proven elusive. Many of the political charlatans vying for control of governments have lacked the credentials and necessary skills, knowledge and abilities to be effective.  Many have simply used vast sums of money for influence and power to push their agendas, while agenda proposals and goals of these politicians, from their inception, too often failed to show or identify the means of achieving them.

All this while countless citizens believe that money must serve and not rule.

A major failure within Latin America continues to be for demands and significant legislation for the legitimate rights of women to be respected on the basis of equality and dignity.  

What should morally outrage and disturb this hemisphere and trouble our consciences is the horrendous crime of femicide. Since 2000, more than 3,800 women and girls were murdered in Mexico, and many remain missing. Guatemala also finds itself facing the horrors of femicide. And while these two nations are not alone, the abductions and brutal killing of women in both became almost routine.

In Guatemala City, Guatemala, femicide has claimed the lives of nearly 2,200 women and girls since 2001. Women live in constant fear of being snatched from the streets by gangs, or forced off buses at gunpoint into empty lots.

The majority of victims of femicide have been described as virtually unrecognizable, due to torture and sexual mutilation. Many of these acts of femicide can be described as acts of recreational, hedonistic or lust killers, murders by individuals or groups who hunt and kill human prey for personal enjoyment. Some social scientists describe this femicide enigma as a result of women being described and categorized as "expendable," "usable," "abusable" and "disposable" within societies of inequality, displacement, and extreme poverty (Intersecting Inequalities: A Review of Feminist Theories and Debates on Violence against Women and Poverty in Latin America, the Central America Women’s Network, 2010).

While the hearts of many people are gripped by fear and desperation as violence is still on the rise in many of these nations, there are some countries showing fiscal growth and potential, although illegal economies account for eight to 15 percent of world GDP. 

There is evidence indicating that Mexico, Panama, Colombia, Chile and Peru will have the fastest growing companies in Latin America for 2014.  Mexico is described as a great market, with an economy that is on the right track with excellent trade relations. Peru too is listed as one of Latin America’s fastest growing economies. Panama is the fastest growing economy in the Americas, with a 7% GDP growth predicted for 2014.

A new cultural synthesis should be achieved that pursues the value of life and dignity of each human being and the pursuit of the common good and concerns that should shape all economic policies.

Should there be a separation between the economy and the common good of society? This in lieu of political discourse lacking in perspectives, justice, transparency or plans for true and integral development?


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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