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Guatemala President Wants "NATO-Style" Force to Battle Narcos

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #693)
Consequences of Prohibition
Politics & Advocacy

Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom said Central American countries threatened by Mexican drug cartels should lobby for the creation of a regional NATO-style military force in an interview with the Financial Times Wednesday. The center-left politician said only a combined regional military force and improved intelligence could thwart the power of the violent and well-armed drug trafficking organizations.

Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom would rather go to war with the narcos then legalize drugs. (Image: World Economic Forum)
Guatemala and other Central American nations form a transit corridor for South American cocaine destined for North American markets, an industry estimated to be worth as much as $40 billion a year. Mexican cartels seeking to expand their operations or fleeing the pressure cooker of the vicious drug war at home have moved into those small, relatively weak neighbors, with the Zetas in particular establishing a presence in Guatemala's Peten province.

In May, Zetas killed 27 farm workers at a ranch when they came looking for the owner, who wasn't there. A few days later, Zetas killed and dismembered a Guatemalan prosecutor working on the case. Drugs gangs are suspected in the killing of Facundo Cabral, the celebrated Argentine folk singer, who was gunned down as he headed toward the airport after a Guatemala City concert earlier this month. The attack was believed to be aimed not at Cabral, but at his Guatemalan concert promoter.

Colom, who is now in his final year in office, said that national borders meant nothing to the traffickers, while the region's armies and police forces have to respect the sovereignty of their neighbors.

"What good is it if the forces of one country are pursuing drug traffickers who cross a river but then have to stop to avoid an international incident?" he said. "Why not have a type of Central American NATO?"

Colom said he was against legalizing drugs and looked for financial assistance from the US to help fight the battle.  "Without support of co-responsibility from the consumer markets, this is going to be a permanent war," he said.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


joe oint (not verified)

           this is kind of funny.  what is guatemala thinking,  we are going to pay for their drug problems?  i dont think so!  even if we had the money,  they should take care of their own problem!  if we cant stop it in our own country,  what makes them think we can do anything in theirs?  i think it is just a way to get money from us.  whether they would use it for their law enforcement or not!

Thu, 07/21/2011 - 2:01am Permalink
TrebleBass (not verified)

In reply to by joe oint (not verified)

It's different because the US is a consumer market and Guatemala is a transit market for the US (obviously they also have their own drug consumption, but it is drastically less than the amount of drugs that passes through the country). Using drug war logic, the US has a shared responsibility. If it was legal they probably would make money form the transit of drugs going through their country, but instead cartels and gangs make that money. I agree that they are just trying to get money like Mexico's government is trying to get money and Colombia's government, and US law enforcement from the federal government. Everybody asks for money to fight the drug war because it's an endless war and you always need more money, but it's like Tommy Chong said in a documentary (i think it was The Union) (i don't remember the exact words): "It's like making a bad movie that costs 30 million dollars. The movie doesn't make any money, but somebody made 30 million dollars."

Thu, 07/21/2011 - 11:39am Permalink
Tanja Ganja (not verified)

In reply to by joe oint (not verified)

LMAO! I agree what a joke. Stop the war, the only way to stop the "war" is to stop fighting the inevitable. Legalize it, tax it and you will make money not blow money on the problem that would not be a problem if it was legal. If you can't beat 'em join 'em, right. Take the money out of the cartels pockets by competition and also by not letting them have the power they do since they control and monopolize the drug market. Give them a run for their money, I'm sure they will be filing bankruptcy soon, lol.... You never know, crazier things have happened.

Thu, 07/21/2011 - 3:55pm Permalink
saynotohypocrisy (not verified)

Just like the rest of our rulers, he's forgotten about this one tiny little detail.

 If alcohol is legal, people have a perfect right to use the indisputably safer competition of cannabis, and no bogus law can change that.

WHERE do people get the gall to use alcohol and just order other folks not to use cannabis, without even the pretense of a plausible explanation? "We have enough problem with alcohol" is, to put it mildly, not a serious answer to the question of why alcohol's competition is verboten.

Start at the beginning, prohibs.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 9:38am Permalink
Gallagher (not verified)

There is a very interesting YouTube video of Chomsky expressing his views on drug prohibition. As he says, it is a policy to control the 'dangerous classes', i.e. the people who are not corporate wage slaves or corporate slave drivers. The War on Drugs is a US created moral crusade, and because drug use is 'a serious evil for the individual and is fraught with social and economic danger to mankind' (UN Single Protocol on Narcotic Drugs,1961), the US therefore has carte blanche to 'invade' Mexico, Central America, and certain South American countries because they are allowing drugs to get into the US. This is no different to Reagan's support of the Contras and other right-wing elements south of the border, with the War on Drugs now being the pretext for US military and economic expansionism.

Mon, 07/25/2011 - 11:38pm Permalink
XXX (not verified)

I totally agree that we have a crisis in our hands and if we do  not act quickly, it is not if, but when will it will happen they will be in are neighborhood and affect are family and friends. very few people know the truth or see the dramatic picture of people killed and kidnapped because of  we spent billions of U.S. dollars for the prevention of drugs coming in to the United state and nothing is working. the reason it doesn't work is that it is clear of the corruption of law enforcement stealing money and assisting the drug cartel smuggling items across the border.

We need to send a portion of our military near the south boarder and began to strike the heart of the cartel. Our costal guard and navy to hit the waters of the pacific ocean, Atlantic ocean, and gulf. While the army and national reserved guard the front line and the marines and air force take out each of the main drug cartel at the same time. there is no excuse why we are failing the war on drug none. We must hold those people accountable for this failure. We know the leaders  of the drug cartel and the some of the major key players. but nothing will be done unless it is a U.S. politician senator, president or family that is killed. in order to get support of this I do agree NATO must intervene and go town by town take down the problem. Corrupt cop and politician are sentence to no less of 15 years and a maximums of 60 years in participating of this.  I do understand many of the police official are force to look the other way, if they don't the cartel will kill their family and love ones. Anyone entry the U.S. should get a minimum of 8 years to 15 years in prison. People will disagree what I have to say, but wait any see when their child is killed by a bullet and their 1 year child is taken from them and killed to smuggle drugs into this country. Or even their son or daughter is torture and acid poured onto them. then they want someone to step in.




                                                                                                    sincerely XXX

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 7:09pm Permalink

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