Military leaders from the region attending the conference shared their thoughts about the effects of illicit trafficking, the rise of criminal gangs and the ways to combat them.
GENERAL OSCAR TAPIA (Belize):
“It undermines democracy; it corrupts public officials and policemen. On account of this, it is important that we fight back and keep the citizens safe. The only way to accomplish this is to combat narcotrafficking where there are breeding grounds for trouble, like corruption, violence and arms trafficking.”
GENERAL-DE-BRIGADA FRANCISCO SALINAS (El Salvador):
“It’s a growing problem at the moment. The country is a transit point for drugs, especially to the south. The change that I see at the moment is that the drug traffickers, who use the country [as a transit point], are paying [locally] with drugs, and this leads to a more serious problem, a quite large social problem. This problem is having a big impact on our youth.”
GENERAL-DE-BRIGADA BAYARDO R. RODRÍGUEZ (Nicarágua):
“Illicit trafficking in Nicaragua has affected society as a whole in some way, to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the distance from the capital, in regions where the state’s apparatus of power is difficult to bring to bear. Specifically, the aim of organized crime is to operate in these so-called ‘gray’ or ‘green’ zones.”