Cartels are getting their swagger back in Colombia, drug-war violence is skyrocketing in Mexico, Central American countries like El Salvador and Honduras are now saddled with some of the highest homicide rates in the world, and parts of Brazil are open battlegrounds. So just what’s behind the angry ride of the apocalypse through this hemisphere?
What we’re seeing is the rise of insurgencies that have no ideology beyond greed, but wage guerrilla wars as fearsome as those of the past that claimed to represent the poor and oppressed.
Bogota thought it had just ended its 50-year-old civil war with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)—but surprise!—the drug-fueled killing goes on. Other rebel groups remain defiantly active, and there are signs that the FARC peace accords might not be a done deal just yet, as attacks persist.
One of the reasons FARC commanders can’t convince units to stand down is because those guerrillas in the mist are still running lucrative cocaine production operations. Meanwhile, other narco-traffickers in the Andean nation are firmly on the comeback trail. Add it all up and Colombia is churning out more coca now than it did back when Pablo Escobar was blowing up planes and running for congress, with production at a whopping 710 tons in 2016.
As for Mexico, a recent study makes the case that the current infierno de violencia is now the second-worst conflict in the world behind Syria. In El Salvador the murder rate is 81 per 100,000, with Honduras lagging just behind, making them the deadliest countries per capita in the Americas. As in certain parts of Mexico, the security crisis is so severe in El Salvador that citizen militias called autodefensas are taking up arms to fight the gangs themselves.
The loss of state control to violence-crazed, paramilitary outlaw and vigilante groups across Latin America is an ominous sign, indicative of a twisted new species of conflict that experts say is already impacting U.S. interests.
Read more at The Daily Beast
Inside the Rise of Latin America’s ‘Gangster Warlords’
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