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CLAI Event Addresses Solutions to Security Issues in Latin America

Dr. Max Manwaring (far right) chairs a panel that includes top U.S. officials responsible for citizen security in the hemisphere. Seated, left to right, are DHS Assistant Secretary for International Affairs (Acting) Mariko Silver; Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Dr. Frank Mora and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Roberta Jacobson.

The problems of violence and organized crime faced by Latin American countries are growing in number.  To find lasting solutions to this problem, experts at the 14th Annual Western Hemisphere Security Colloquium, hosted by GWSB’s Center for Latin American Issues, gathered to address how nations can work together to protect their citizens against the tribulations caused by domestic gangs and organized criminal networks.

According to experts at the conference, held May 8-10, gangs and political mafias in Latin America pose a grave and multi-dimensional threat to social development and regional stability in the Western Hemisphere.  Speakers and panelists stressed that the violence posed by these gangs can no longer be treated just domestically, but must be solved through a series of changes and strategies both internationally and locally.

Conference participants explored ways to confront deteriorating security conditions and examined various approaches to fighting organized crime.

Fabio Armao, a professor of international relations at the University of Turin in Italy, noted that one problem behind the growing threat of organized crime in the region is the lack of understanding about the aims of such groups, and how they operate as a unit.  Armao stressed the importance of not over simplifying the problems of violence faced by local governments and recognizing that these are transnational issues.

Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs for the U.S. Department of State, Maria Otero, called for a recommitment to basic human rights, noting that goals to empower youth and reduce organized crime can be carried out through basic equipment and training for both citizens and officials in regional areas that are plagued by gang violence.

Other panels during the two-day event explored the United States’ role in security and examined regional strategies where governments are collaborating to improve safety.

For a complete list of speakers, please visit:

Posted by gwsb on May 24, 2011 | Filed under: GWSB News.

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