December 18, 2006 Inventory of Conflict and Environment
This case study demonstrates how the Colombian Civil War has impacted neighboring countries. It specifically focuses on the effect the conflict has on the Darién Province in the south of Panama, which is comprised of mainly dense tropical forest. Since the mid-1990s Colombian paramilitaries have crossed the border into Panama in pursuit of FARC guerillas. As a result, the region is now recognized as one of the most dangerous places in the world due to the increase in violent conflict and threat of possible kidnappings. As violence has increased, conservationists have been kept from doing their job in the region, which holds a national park (named a Biosphere Reserve in 1981), and RAMSAR protected wetlands. Now, excessive deforestation, poaching and overuse of land threaten the fragile ecosystems of the Darién....
On December 20, 1989, the 82d Airborne Division conducted their first combat jump since World War II onto Torrijos International Airport, Panama. The 1st Brigade task force made up of the 1st and 2nd Battalions, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, parachuted into combat for the first time since World War II. In Panama, the paratroopers were joined on the ground by 3rd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment which was already in Panama. After the night combat jump and seizure of the airport, the 82nd conducted follow-on combat air assault missions in Panama City and the surrounding areas....
Generally, truth commissions are bodies established to research and report on human rights abuses over a certain period of time in a particular country or in relation to a particular conflict. Truth commissions allow victims, their relatives and perpetrators to give evidence of human rights abuses, providing an official forum for their accounts. In most instances, truth commissions are also required by their mandate to provide r#ecommendations on steps to prevent a recurrence of such abuses.
December 17, 2004 Minorities at Risk Project // Center for International Development and Conflict Management // University of Maryland
Antillean Black immigration into Panama dates to two separate periods. The first was during the early 19th century, when African slaves from the Antilles were brought as a labor source for the Panamanian Railroad and an early attempt at a trans-isthmus canal. Most of this group returned, but a small group remained behind. Panama has been in a period of transition since the United States ceased administering the Canal Zone. Though the country has lost both financial and political stability, what this means for black Panamanians is not clear. Gentrification threatens to widen the economic gap between Blacks and other Panamanians, as does the closure of U.S. military bases, which had traditionally employed them. Since many Blacks had attended schools managed by the United States, they are now at a disadvantage when it comes to competing for Panamanian jobs. The good news is that political activism against blacks has not been observed in recent years. However, virtually complete absence of Panamanian Blacks in the Western English-language media sources may mask large-scale discrimination, poverty, and lack of advocacy. At present, Blacks do not seem to have mobilized to improve their situation. How such mobilization might develop in context of the economic and political changes in Panama is unknown....
December 17, 2004 Minorities at Risk Project // Center for International Development and Conflict Management // University of Maryland
Panama's indigenous population can be divided into three distinct groups the Guaymi, the Kuna and the Choco. The largest of the three, the Guaymi, number approximately 70,000 and live in the western provinces of Bocas del Toro, Chiriqui and Veraguas. Indigenous people in Panama face discrimination, poor health and low literacy levels. However, any risk assessment must address the three main indigenous groups separately as each is faced with a different set of problems and policies.
From 1903, when the United States was granted a concession to use the canal in perpetuity, the Canal Zone became a veritable state within the state of Panama. On 31 December 1999 it was handed back to Panama, which will now be responsible for managing the canal, and the American bases established to "protect the waterway" will gradually be dismantled.
February 3, 2009 Center for Strategic and International Studies // Human Rights and Security Initiative
Throughout the 1980s, the United States assisted the Salvadoran government in keeping the leftist FMLN insurgency under control. A U.S. military advisory group comprised primarily of Special Forces troops advised and trained the Salvadoran military to reach hearts and minds through civil defense and civic action campaigns.
On October 12, 1983, militant Marxists carried out a violent coup against the moderate Marxist government. The United States resolved to rescue six hundred American medical students, restore popular government, and deny Cuba greater involvement in Grenada.
There was no Civil Affairs planning prior to the invasion of Grenada, but the Civil Affairs teams that were deployed improvised with reasonable success. The U.S. military focused on rebuilding Grenadian infrastructure that had fallen into disrepair under the Bishop regime of 1979-1983.
When General Manuel Noriega of Panama lost the 1989 election, he installed himself as head of government. Following the death of a U.S. marine, President George H.W. Bush ordered the invasion of Panama to protect U.S. interests and remove Noriega from power. Civil-military objectives in Panama were to support U.S. military forces in establishing law and order, to support to the new central government and city governments, to manage a refugee camp, and to assist in nation building programs. CA units successfully carried out several missions despite imperfections in civil-military planning....
November 24, 2008 University of Pittsburgh // Ford Institute for Human Security
Human security is emerging as a sophisticated and compelling strategy to address the extreme problems of children in contemporary wars. The child soldier is increasingly seen as an icon of ‘new’ wars – transformed from a young person into a weapon. Whether as members of local militias or as suicide bombers, child soldiers are children growing up among failed adults in failed communities. Some not only fail to learn to read or write, they also fail to learn the humanity they need to be successful neighbors and parents.
Turning children into weapons is an act of generational destruction. Failed adults are more likely to make failed neighbors and failed parents. The cycle can continue for generations. Thus the real costs of war cannot be tallied for years, for decades, for generations….
Child soldiers reveal the genocidal aspects of contemporary wars. Child soldiers are, explicitly or tacitly, direct attacks on the generational transitions of communities. The cruelty of new wars reveals major gaps in educational policy frameworks currently in use by the international community. Education policy today focuses thinking about education as a civil rights problem. This leads to concerns for access to the ‘provision’ of institutional services. Developed during the post World War II period, education was constructed as a neutral, technical process complete with generic experts who taught and generic students who learned. Their classrooms were ordered around literacy and numeracy. Their ends were national economic growth. Little attention was paid to security issues and their consequences, either shorter or longer term.
This approach to development, while admirable, is insufficiently compelling to drive today’s strategic operations in the brutal, even genocidal face of ‘cultural identity’ wars and their aftermath. Under these conditions, when civil societies are threatened to their generational core, traditional classrooms and curriculum are no longer sufficient. The problem is no longer one of civil rights. It has become a much larger problem of generational survival.
This paper suggests that the emerging human security frameworks, while still mired globally in failing narratives, may offer the best direction for future work. Emerging human security narratives focus on the protection of local populations, especially children. They require defense against the forced recruitment of child soldiers. These new narratives center on the protection of generational agency. They mobilize local and external communities to actively secure safe places for children to grow and develop as normally as possible.
How then should scholars and strategists examine the practical questions of deterrence? What appears to be working on the ground in new wars? Against the allure of muscular and violent warriors stands a small group of internationals working side by side with caring local parents and neighbors desperate to defend their children. Together they have constructed an emerging strategy of local community protection that places at its center, the protection of children’s agency in the face of those who seek its annihilation. This paper examines the problems of research and data collection under these conditions, turning to ‘fugitive literature’ and strategic desk reviews. It briefly surveys general, large-scale responses to recruitment deterrence in Bosnia, Albania, Ingushetia, Sierra Leone, Colombia and Panama. It concludes that while causal claims may not be advisable, scholars can at least begin to map the strategic intent of the institutions involved. Beyond that, more work is needed to map the political and cultural economies that either threaten or defend children....
The 110th Congress has maintained a keen interest in the effects of crime and
gang violence in Central America and its spillover effects on the United States. Since
February 2005, more than 2,000 alleged members of the violent Mara Salvatrucha
(MS-13) gang have been arrested in cities across the United States. These arrests
have raised concerns about the transnational activities of Central American gangs,
and governments throughout the region are struggling to find the right combination
of suppressive and preventive policies to deal with them. Some analysts assert that
increasing U.S. deportations of individuals with criminal records to Central American
countries may be contributing to the gang problem.
Several U.S. agencies have been actively engaged on both the law enforcement
and preventive side of dealing with Central American gangs. An inter-agency
committee worked together to develop a U.S. Strategy to Combat Criminal Gangs
from Central America and Mexico, which was announced at a July 2007 U.S.-Central
American Integration System (SICA) summit on security issues. The strategy, which
is now being implemented, states that the U.S. government will pursue coordinated
anti-gang activities through five broad areas: diplomacy, repatriation, law
enforcement, capacity enhancement, and prevention.
During the first session of the 110th Congress, several Members introduced
immigration legislation – H.R. 1645 (Gutierrez), S. 330 (Isakson), and S. 1348
(Reid) – that included provisions to increase cooperation among the United States,
Mexico, and Central America in the tracking of gang activity and in the handling of
deported gang members. However, none of those bills were enacted. On October 2,
2007, the House passed H.Res. 564 (Engel) supporting expanded cooperation
between the United States and Central America to combat crime and violence. The
Consolidation Appropriations Act, FY2008 (H.R. 2764/P.L. 110-161), included the
provision of $8 million to the State Department to combat criminal youth gangs, $3
million more than the Administration’s request.
In June 2008, Congress appropriated $60 million for Central America in the
FY2008 Supplemental Appropriations Act, H.R. 2642 (P.L. 110-252). Those funds
will serve as initial funding for the Mérida Initiative, a new anticrime and counterdug
aid package for Mexico and Central America. With that funding, the State
Department reportedly plans to use roughly $13 million to support direct anti-gang
efforts, with another $4 million included for justice sector reform, $8.6 million for
police reform, and $18 million for related development programs.
This report describes the gang problem in Central America, discusses country
and regional approaches to deal with the gangs, and analyzes U.S. policy with respect
to gangs in Central America. It will be updated periodically. For more information
on the Mérida Initiative, see CRS Report RS22837, Merida Initiative: U.S. Anticrime
and Counterdrug Assistance for Mexico and Central America. For information on
the activities of Central American gangs in the United States, see CRS Report
RL34233, The MS-13 and 18th Street Gangs: Emerging Transnational Gang Threats....
September 16, 2008 En la Mira - The Latin American Small Arms Watch
Although all countries, in theory report their authorized transfers - and
such information may even be available in certain public databases - the
task of providing an overview of SALW transfers, their parts and
munitions, is an arduous one. Nonetheless, despite the difficulties, we
have some extremely positive initiatives on a global scale, such as for
example, the Small Arms Survey, recognized as an important source of
information, especially on SALW production and transfers, as well as the
Norwegian Initiative on Small Arms Transfers (NISAT) which has a
database containing transfer records going back to 1962.Despite these
important initiatives, themselves when researchers, activists and policy
makers try to understand a regional market, such as Latin America and
the Caribbean, they encounter a dearth of information. With the intent of addressing this shortcoming, En La Mira has, since 2007, dedicated an
issue to transfers of SALWs, parts and ammunition in this region. Further, according to statistics from the United Nations Commodity Trade
Statistics Database (UN-Comtrade or Comtrade), USD 6.7 billion were
exported between 2004 and 2006, while USD 6.5 billion were imported.
Despite the fact that Latin America and the Caribbean represent 6% and
3%, respectively, of total transfers worldwide during this period, 42% of
firearms related homicide is committed in the region. This discrepancy
between the international transfer volume share and the levels of armsrelated
violence in Latin America and the Caribbean calls attention to
itself, above all because of the tragic and startling number of homicides.
Obviously, far from wishing to increase arms transfers in order to be more
in sync with homicide rates, we decided, a year ago, to study this issue
and periodically monitor its development based on our interest in
understanding the primary legal entry and exit routes of firearms and
ammunition. The result is a report - based on customs information as
stated by Latin American and Caribbean countries and their respective
partners - whose objective is to describe the movement of the SALW
imports and exports, as well as ammunition and parts, during the present
decade. Based on this data, we answer the following questions: who
exported and who imported? From whom? What? And when?
It is worth restating that the intent of this report is not to explain the
cause of arms imports and exports by Latin American countries. Beyond
merely providing information, we do indeed wish to awaken, by means of
the information presented here, the curiosity of other researches, activists
and government staff members such that they may continue to perform research in their countries regarding the transparency of this information,
on who is using the transferred SALW, and how.
The data used for this report came from the NISAT database, which
contains more than 800,000 entries for SALW transfers worldwide since
1962. The NISAT database gets its information from different sources,
COMTRADE among them. In this study we decided to restrict ourselves
to data from this latter source because, in theory, all countries report
transfers to the UN. This data is declared in accordance with the
Harmonized System (SH) merchandise classification system. The HS has
existed since 1988and, in 2007, was revised for the fourth time; previous
revisions were in 1992, 1996 and in 2002. Regarding the period analyzed,
we are looking at data up until 2006, since at the time the study closed
this was the most recent year available on NISAT....
May 28, 2007 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
The world is coming to recognise the interdependence of security and development issues. Moral imperatives
aside, poverty is no longer acceptable for reasons of simple common safety. Technology and globalisation
have made it possible for even the most marginalized groups to pose a threat to the most powerful.
Areas allowed to descend into social disarray generate, and provide refuge for, organised criminals and political
militants. Global security requires global development.
The problem is that the opposite is also true: development requires security. Investors do not put their
money in places where the rule of law does not prevail. Skilled labour does not reside in countries where
personal safety is at risk. Crime and corruption are derailing attempts to address the global polarisation of
wealth, as people choose not to invest their lives or their money where they are insecure. For the poor that
remain, the threat of crime retards their efforts to better themselves, as they structure their activities around
avoiding victimisation. Trust among countrymen is lost, and with it goes social cohesion. Cynicism about
the ability to succeed within the law breeds further insecurity, and whole regions can find themselves locked
into a downward spiral of victimisation and social disinvestment.
Further, crime and corruption undermine democracy itself. The primary responsibility of the state is to
ensure citizen security, and when it fails to establish basic internal order, it loses the confidence of the
people. When civil servants and elected officials come to be viewed as part of the crime problem, citizens
effectively disown their government. They become subjects rather than citizens. Whatever role the state
might play in development is seriously challenged by the loss of popular support.
It is therefore imperative that crime be addressed as a key development issue. Until threats to life and property
can be brought to acceptable levels, developing countries with serious crime problems will struggle to
gain the public confidence needed for forward progress. A foundational level of order must be established
before development objectives can be realised.
Due to its geographic location between the world's cocaine suppliers and its main consumers, Central
America has been exposed to exogenous organised crime pressures that would be challenging for countries
many times as large. Unfortunately, the region is particularly vulnerable to incursion by organised crime
due to a range of domestic factors, and this report opens by considering several of these, including social
and economic pressures, lack of law enforcement capacity, and a history of conflict or authoritarian rule. It
then looks at the nature of organised crime and violence in the region in some detail. Finally#, it considers
how the crime problem is undermining development efforts....