f_0016620_14362

F_0016620_14362 - Peace Without Security Central America in the 21st Cetury by Richard Millett and Thomas Shannon Stiles D uring the last decades

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The Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations Peace Without Security: Central America in the 21 st Cetury by Richard Millett and Thomas Shannon Stiles D uring the last decades of the twentieth century, Central America became a battleground between the major ideologies of the bipolar system. Tens of thousands died; hundreds of thousands fled the region. With the end of the Cold War, these conflicts finally ended through negotiated peace agreements and relatively free elections, and many believed that security would inevitably follow. The hope was that the Washington Consensus and free market economies would guarantee economic recovery and stability. Instead, what emerged was an era of peace without security. Threats to the government and to the safety of the population were no longer from traditional guerilla movements or draconian state measures, but a rising tide of violent crime, both organized and disorganized, both transnational and domestic. Michael Shifter of the Inter-American Dialogue notes that while Central America civil wars have ended, “the problem of physical insecurity—aggravated by the availability of arms—persists, and may even be more acute than before.” 1 As a Salvadoran working in Washington, D.C. expressed it, “It is much more dangerous for me to go home now than it was during the war.” 2 Crime has become not only a major security concern, but a dominant domestic political issue. In Honduras, for example, one successful presidential candidacy resulted from the fact that the candidate’s son had been murdered, giving credibility to his pledge to crack down on crime. More recently, Guatemalan Vice President Eduardo Stein declared that, Democratic governance is in jeopardy…because of drug money going into local elections….That is the gravest danger in the long run because of the kind of controls that derive from their money financing local campaigns. 3 There are several causes for Central America’s epidemic of crime. The end of the civil conflicts left tens of thousands of former combatants without jobs or land, accustomed to a violent lifestyle. The region was awash with weapons and ammunition. Public confidence in the police and the administration of justice was very low. As former Honduran President Carlos Roberto Reina expressed it, “In our countries, the civil law is made for the rich and the poor have no access. The criminal Richard Millett is a Fulbright professor at the Center for the Study of the Americas, Copenhagen Business School. Thomas Shannon Stiles is an adjunct professor of political science at Webster University. 31
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MILLETT AND STILES The Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations law is applied to the poor, and the rich and powerful have immunity from it.” 4 There was a global growth of both organized and common criminal activity following the end of the Cold War. Latin America was especially hard hit, becoming a region with some of the world’s highest rates of violent crime. Transitions to more democratic
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This note was uploaded on 02/01/2012 for the course POLS 351 taught by Professor Shaw during the Fall '08 term at Boise State.

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F_0016620_14362 - Peace Without Security Central America in the 21st Cetury by Richard Millett and Thomas Shannon Stiles D uring the last decades

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