Violence in Latin America seen as a threat to US security
Published: May 17, 2012
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In a country that has seen more than 50,000 deaths in six years, it took the finding of 49 headless bodies, some also missing arms or legs, to shock Mexican officials. The discovery of the bodies, on a road about 120 miles from the United States, highlighted a problem addressed recently during a spring meeting at the World Bank headquarters in Washington. Outgoing World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick warned that the violence doesn't solely threaten Latin American citizens. It also poses a security threat to the United States, he said. "The U.S. (needs) to take it seriously as a nation," he said, addressing an audience gathered for a forum on "Reducing Murder Rates in Central America: Searching for Solutions." The meeting addressed Latin American countries with some of the highest rates of violence, including Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. But countries such as Mexico and other nations in South America are not exempt from the problem. However, Zoellick pointed out that the dramatic numbers of homicides "for countries not at war" are in Central America. Consider, he said, that Spain has roughly the same population as Central America. In 2006, Spain registered 336 homicides, but Central America registered 14,257 homicides in the same time period -- an average of 40 a day. Gangs, the drug trade, and widespread and easy access to firearms -- leftovers from civil wars -- threaten people but also the development and future of the region, Zoellick said. Even in a cloister, you can't escape the effects of the violence, said Sister Mary Francis de la Cruz Montero.
Copyright (c) Catholic News Service /U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The CNS news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed, including but not limited to such means as framing or any other digital copying or distribution method, in whole or in part without the prior written authority of Catholic News Service .