Saturday, June 26, 2010

Central America Wants the US to Help Them

Central American countries each have their own reason to ask for help.  Basically, they are just overwhelmed with the task at hand.  For example: El Salvador is the most dangerous country in the world. Their murder rate is 71 murders per 100,000 people, well above the world average of 9.6 per 100,000. This year alone, 12 Salvadorans have been killed every 24 hours.

 Technology has been one of the reasons.  By using cell phones to make threats to Salvadorans at home and in the U.S., last year gang members managed to bring in between $750,000 and $800,000 dollars into prison and they use these illicit profits of extortion to corrupt the correctional system from within.

Efforts to block all cellular calls from the prisons have been circumvented by complicit prison officials. 1855 cell phones were confiscated last year, yet many more find their way in, sometimes stashed in soccer balls skillfully kicked over the prison walls to inmates waiting within.  - Is that a goal?

The International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) also includes Honduras and El Salvador.  Two and half years ago CICIG began work as an independent investigative team with unprecedented judicial power, the result of an agreement between the United Nations and the Guatemalan government. The CICIG has forced the removal of 2000 police officers as well as several prosecutors and Supreme Court judges. Its work has also facilitated the prosecution of high-ranking officials including former President Alfonso Portillo.

In search of such a comprehensive solution, Funes and his counterparts in Guatemala and Honduras have called for international support. They want Washington to help finance the expansion of CICIG.

I am not sure if another mission is afoot - but it is good to keep an eye out for it.

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