The Latinization of Terrorism

I received an email the other day on a Public Health listserve that was essentially a forward of a US Department of State issued travel warning to Colombia. **(Follow this link to the USDS page, or this link to the document in our scribd library)** I imagine that it was forwarded as 'heads-up' to students and colleagues who might be working in the country. My curiosity in the region prompted to take a quick read, and I was quite surprised. The third sentence:

"The potential for violence by terrorists and other criminal elements exists in all parts of the country."

A number of different groups are lumped together under the 'terrorist rubric": 

"Small towns and rural areas of Colombia can still be extremely dangerous due to the presence of narco-terrorists."


"terrorist groups such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the National Liberation Army (ELN), and other criminal organizations continue to kidnap and hold civilians for ransom or as political bargaining chips."

The date of issue by the Department of State is March 25, 2009; that coincides nicely with a visit to Mexico accompanied by a rousing speech by Hillary Clinton. Concurrent with the visit are a number of news items revealing the increased levels of what may be drug-cartel-related violence in a number of cities in the U.S. - one from the NYTimes, a Yahoo/McClatchy story, even Amy Goodman from Democracy Now covered the topic today

It appears that an increased effort to re-invest war money back into the U.S. (and possibly out of the Middle East) may be under way. There have been whispers of hope that the Obama administration may lean towards a change in approach on this front, and even the labeling of the War on Drugs as a failure in the popular press. This CNN article discusses the need to address an imbalance in arms that drug cartels currently enjoy, and of the $700 million that Mexico will receive in the effort. Colombia already enjoys an immense amount US aid to combat drug violence there. It appears that the War on Terror is making a shift to the soils of the Americas. 

photo credit: greenchange

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