Why Are The Kids Here?

The U.S. government allowed the Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel to carry out its business unimpeded between 2000 and 2012 in exchange for information on rival cartels, an investigation by El Universal claims.
Dr. Edgardo Buscaglia, a senior research scholar in law and economics at Columbia University, says that the tactic has been previously used in Colombia, Cambodia, Thailand and Afghanistan.
“Of course, this modus operandi involves a violation of public international law, besides adding more fuel to the violence, violations of due process and of human rights,” he told El Universal.
Tens of thousands of children from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras are showing up illegally, often without any parents or relatives, at the Texas border. Their numbers could reach 90,000 this year and grow to 150,000 next year – up from only about 6,000 in 2011, according to government estimates.Latin American republics, particularly those that slip into military dictatorships. “The constitutions of independent Spanish America charged the military with protecting the political system, conserving internal order, defending the government against internal subversion, and maintaining law and order. In effect, the military became a fourth branch of government, with constitutionally defined status and a political mission…Almost any coup, any barracks revolt, could be justified as an effort to preserve the constitution or restore constitutional government purportedly threatened by government abuses.”
After making the dangerous journey with the help of human and drug traffickers who prey upon them, this rush of children and teenagers are straining U.S. resources, from temporary shelters to immigration courts.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees could get involved in the coordination, given that children from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras might have to flee their native countries quickly and travel to a neighboring one once they apply for refugee status. The United States or other Central American countries could be their final destinations.
Neighborhoods that house the vast majority of Latin America’s urban poor. Until recently, scholars have mainly viewed these settlements through the prisms of crime and drug-related violence, modernization and development theories, populist or revolutionary politics, or debates about the cultures of poverty. Yet shantytowns have proven both more durable and more multifaceted than any of these perspectives foresaw. Far from being accidental offshoots of more dynamic economic and political developments, they are now a permanent and integral part of Latin America’s urban societies, critical to struggles over democratization, economic transformation, identity politics, and the drug and arms trades. Integrating historical, cultural, and social scientific methodologies, this collection brings together recent research from across Latin America, from the informal neighborhoods.Authorities in Mexico, Guatemala and the US have stated that cooperation between these two violent drug cartels will likely undermine law enforcement efforts aimed primarily at disruption the flow of drugs to the United States. This is an especially troubling concern considering that an alarmingly small percentage of all drugs transported through Central America are actually consumed there – nearly all of it goes to the US.

Between both Zetas and Maras, the groups are responsible for the murders of hundreds of people – possibly thousands. They’re also thought to be behind a number of high profile prison breaks where dozens of inmates have been freed – including high ranking members of various factions of these and other drug cartels. And because both groups kill their rivals indiscriminately, it’s difficult to determine how many lives have been lost as a result of the actions of these cartels, and how many more will die in the future.

In America, the drug problem is right here at home. Drug related violence and crime is epidemic and results in many of the same consequences seen in Central America. The sexual exploitation of girls and boys, largely
by American men, has reached alarming proportions in Central America,
according to children’s rights advocates who say the region is now a
priority in their struggle against child prostitution and pornography.

A major reason for growth in the Central American child-sex trade,
children’s advocates say, is that traditional destinations for such
activity–chiefly Thailand and the Philippines–have blunted the sex tourism
business over the last two years by enacting public awareness campaigns
and stricter laws and enforcement measures.

Prostitution among the children who live and work on the streets of Latin
America–their number has been estimated at up to 40 million–has long
been a consequence of the region’s poverty. But as such countries as
Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Nicaragua step up efforts to
promote their beaches, volcanoes and natural beauty as tourist
destinations, they attract greater numbers of men from North America,
Europe and other Latin American countries looking for sex with children.

“What we are seeing is the dark side of tourism,” said Heimo Laakkonen,
the head of UNICEF in Costa Rica. Laakkonen said that while sexual
exploitation of minors is not a new problem in the region, “with the increase
in tourism, the problem has gotten worse.”


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