US Secretary of State John Kerry

The US State Department budget proposal for 2014 has reduced aid for Colombia and Mexico while increasing funds for Central America, reflecting changes in regional priorities.

In its budget request to US Congress earlier this week, the State Department allocated $323 million to Colombia, a $61 million decrease compared to 2012, reported a senior State Department official (the figures were collated before the 2013 budget was finalized). A total of $205 million was allocated to Mexico, a $124 million decrease from 2012. Meanwhile, funds allocated to the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) rose by $26 million to $161.5 million.

Previous years' assistance to Mexico and Colombia had involved providing very expensive military equipment, said the official, whereas now the focus was on less-costly capacity strengthening. Increased funds to Central America reflected increased drug trafficking and crime in that region, they added.

InSight Crime Analysis

The State Department's 2014 budget request follows the pattern of the previous year, in which aid to Central America was increased by 3.5 percent from 2012, and aid to Colombia and Mexico was cut.

As noted by the State Department official, this reflects the changing nature of the counternarcotics assistance rather than any decreased importance of Colombia or Mexico in the international drug trafficking landscape. The two countries continue to receive by far the greatest proportion of the State Department's aid to Latin America.

However, Central America is certainly increasing in importance as a hub for drug trafficking operations, as the pressure brought to bear on drug traffickers operating in Mexico in recent years has had the knock-on effect of increasing organized crime in the isthmus, particularly in the "Northern Triangle" of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. This helps explain the increased budget for the region.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
Prev Next

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

Venezuela Prisons: 'Pranes' and 'Revolutionary' Criminality

In May 2011, a 26-year-old prison gang leader held 4,000 members of the Venezuelan security forces, backed by tanks and helicopters, at bay for weeks. Humiliated nationally and internationally, it pushed President Hugo Chávez into a different and disastrous approach to the prison system.

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Money

  Drugs Extortion Criminal Cash Flows Millions of dollars in dirty money circulate constantly around Bajo Cauca, flowing upwards and outwards from a broad range of criminal activities. The BACRIM are the chief regulators and beneficiaries of this shadow economy.

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

Nariño, Colombia: Ground Zero of the Cocaine Trade

The department of Nariño in southwest Colombia is the main coca-producing area in the country and in the world. It is a place scarred by poverty and years of armed conflict between guerrillas, the state and paramilitary groups. Perhaps nowhere else in the country are the challenges...

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

Trafficking Firearms in Honduras

The weapons trade within Honduras is difficult to monitor. This is largely because the military, the country's sole importer, and the Armory, the sole salesmen of weapons, do not release information to the public. The lack of transparency extends to private security companies, which do not have...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Murder

  Life of a Sicario Anatomy of a Hit   The BACRIM's control over territories such as the north Colombian region of Bajo Cauca comes at the point of a gun, and death is a constant price of their power.

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Trafficking Firearms Into Honduras

Honduras does not produce weapons,[1] but weapons are trafficked into the country in numerous ways. These vary depending on weapon availability in neighboring countries, demand in Honduras, government controls and other factors. They do not appear to obey a single strategic logic, other than that of evading...

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

Closing the Gaps on Firearms Trafficking in Honduras

As set out in this report, the legal structure around Honduras' arms trade is deeply flawed. The legislation is inconsistent and unclear as to the roles of different institutions, while the regulatory system is insufficiently funded, anachronistic and administered by officials who are overworked or susceptible to...

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

InSide Colombia's BACRIM: Power

  The Bajo Cauca Franchise BACRIM-Land Armed Power Dynamics The BACRIM in places like the region of Bajo Cauca are a typical manifestation of Colombia's underworld today: a semi-autonomous local cell that is part of a powerful national network.

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Counting Firearms in Honduras

Estimates vary widely as to how many legal and illegal weapons are circulating in Honduras. There are many reasons for this. The government does not have a centralized database that tracks arms seizures, purchases, sales and other matters concerning arms possession, availability and merchandising. The laws surrounding...