2006 May 29 Monday
Gangs Gaining More Power In Latin America

Why do I want to keep Latin America out of the United States of America? A Der Spiegel article about organized crime in Latin America provides excellent evidence. Organized crime groups of all sizes are taking control increasing of parts of Latin American countries.

Gangs of kidnappers spread fear and terror in Caracas and Mexico City. Cocaine cartels control the area around Mexico's northern border. El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are the territory of the "Maras," adolescent street gangs that live mainly off extortion. The paramilitaries and guerrillas of Columbia support themselves by raising money through kidnappings and drug trading.

They relay anecdotes of Brazilian neighborhoods which gangs have physically closed off with gates guarded by automatic rifle toting teens.

I do not want the United States government and US local and state governments to become more like Latin American governments. Do you?

An entire continent is slipping backwards in time. The spread of violence and crime show that large parts of Latin America are far from joining the leading industrial nations of the Western hemisphere. In constantly expanding their power, the gangs demonstrate the weakness of the region's governments; wherever there is a power vacuum, the gangs take over. "Organized crime can only survive as long as it escapes punishment," says Alba Zaluar, a Brazilian researcher who specializes in the study of violence, "so it creates its own territories in order to assure that it won't be punished there."

Latin America's often decrepit democracies are easy prey. The court system barely functions in most countries; the police are often corrupt and cooperate with drug dealers. Many politicians can be easily bribed, and parliamentary positions are perceived as opportunities for self-enrichment.

Last week's events demonstrate just how powerful the gangs of Sao Paulo have become -- gangster squads plunged Latin America's largest city into a state of terror for days. They carried out 293 attacks, murdering 41 policemen and security officers, burning 83 buses and firing gunshots at subway stations and fire departments. The terrified police reacted unusually violently, shooting 107 suspects in seven days. Many of the city's residents no longer dared to leave their homes. Schools and stores closed for fear of violence. The bustling metropolis turned into a ghost town.

You have to read the whole article to appreciate the extent of the decay. The Brazilian government negotiated a peace with the leader of a large Brazilian gang, granting his group all sorts of concessions in order to get a halt to the fighting. The Brazilian government conceded some sovereignty to a drug gang. Think about it. Officially Brazil is a democracy. In reality parts of it are not ruled by the elected government and in other parts the elected government does the bidding of the bribe-payers and extorters against the interests of the electorate.

Meanwhile, back in the United States the Imperial Senate has gone over to the Dark Side of the Force and beat back attempts to totally eliminate criminals from their massive amnesty program for illegals. Why does the Imperial Senate want the US to become like Latin America? I understand that El Presidente Bush is promoting his family dynasty by building up an electorate for George P. Bush. But what turned the Senate to the Dark Side? Our own corporate bribers?

A lot is at stake in the current fight in the US Congress over immigration. Lawrence Auster tells the US House of Representatives say NO to the Senate's monstrous Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act (CIRA, S.2611). I agree. Contact your US House Representative and tell your rep you expect his or her strenuous opposition to the Senate CIRA bill. Complained about immigration? Direct your complaints where they will matter. Yell at your elected representatives. Write your newspaper. Send emails to friends telling them how to contact their elected representatives and urge them to do so. A lot is at stake.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2006 May 29 04:41 PM  Democracy Failure

Jason Malloy said at May 29, 2006 10:06 PM:

What needs to be done (and maybe it has, I don't know) is to find good metrics of local government corruption and efficacy in the U.S. and see how it tracks demographic shifts and compositions.

John S Bolton said at May 30, 2006 1:56 AM:

That would help, but not quite so much as observing that a very widespread character in Latin America is a cynical, passive and stoical, response to freedom for aggression. All political tendencies of size there actively pursue freedom for aggression.
The ethnic identity of immigrants in this connection is relevant, and all the more legitimate to consider, in that each such immigrant adds to the affirmative action burden, regardless of whether they personally use it or not.
Therefore, also, our politics must follow that of the source countries, increasingly with each such cohort.
The affirmative action quotas dictate that government jobs reflect the ethnic composition in this way.
This dictates a latinization, in the very worst sense, of government here, and eliminates the incentive for Americanization. They don't need to change to suit us; but policy requires our institutions and customs to change to accomodate their weaknesses, traditional and newly-acquired.
That there is said to be nothing wrong in 'putting food on the table for their family' has a very different and sinister meaning in the context of such source cultures.

Ian Lewis said at May 30, 2006 9:11 AM:

Are there any countries that do reasonably well in that region of the world? Maybe Costa Rica? I am curious.

crush41 said at May 30, 2006 10:43 AM:


Chile probably comes closest. It's politically stable, has a reasonably high standard of living (PPP of $9,900), unemployment under 10%, nice climate (at least in the central and south part of the country), and is the least corrupt country in Latin America (also one of the whitest).

Ian Lewis said at May 30, 2006 10:49 AM:

Crush, Thanks. The reason why I brought up Costa Rica is that I know many people look to retire there because of favorable Tax Laws, along with the water and weather. And I was making an assumption that people would not want to move there if it was not stable.

Robert Hume said at May 30, 2006 11:32 AM:

Vote out any incumbent with a grade Vote out any incumbent with a grade

perroazul del norte said at May 30, 2006 11:42 AM:

Costa Rica's last case of serious civil unrest was the 1948 revolution. The abolition of the Army resulted from that episode.

Costa Rica has corruption problems, but-unlike Mexico-they do take some action gainst the thieves:
A similar problem is faced by Costa Rican President Abel Pacheco, who has been at the centre of an investigation since 2003, also because of supposedly illegal campaign financing.


Pacheco's predecessor, Miguel Angel Rodríguez (1998-2002), who was appointed head of the Organisation of American States (OAS) on Sep. 15 and was forced to resign from that post less than a month later, is accused of receiving a kickback during his presidential term, in a telecommunications deal involving the French firm Alcatel.

Rodríguez was immediately handcuffed and arrested when he returned to his country after resigning as OAS chief.

Another former president in Costa Rica, Rafael Calderón (1990-1994), is barred from leaving the country until an investigation of his alleged participation in a corruption case involving Social Security funds is completed.

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