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Guatemala’s crossroads:
Democratization of violence and second
chances
Speaker: Julie López
Working Paper Series on Organized Crime
in Central America
December 14, 2010
Guatemala’s crossroads:
Democratization of violence and second chances
1.
NATURE AND ROOTS OF OC IN GUATEMALA
• Genesis of corrupt and criminal structures.
• Role of armed conflict Peace Accords change.
• Infiltration of State institutions.
2.
GUATEMALA AND OC FROM SOUTH TO NORTH AMERICA
• Geography of criminal activity.
• Links with criminal activity in Guatemala.
• Organization local and foreign of DTOs.
3.
•
•
•
•
CAUSE AND EFFECT OF NEIGHBORING OC ACTIVITY
Human rights concerns.
Strategies to confront challenges posed by OC.
Political alliances and political will.
Role and relevance of foreign assistance.
4. CONCLUSIONS
Guatemala’s crossroads:
Democratization of violence and second chances
1. NATURE AND ROOTS OF OC IN GUATEMALA
• Genesis of corrupt and criminal structures.
A
Local crime
lord, Capo
+
B
+ C = OC
Foreign OC
network
• 80s – Colombians
• Late 90s – Mexicans
(DTOs)
Local
authorities
• 40s – Municipal
• 60s – Military,
police, customs,
immigration.
• Late 90s – Police,
customs,
immigration.
Guatemala’s crossroads:
Democratization of violence and second chances
1. NATURE AND ROOTS OF OC IN GUATEMALA
• Role of armed conflict Peace Accords change.
• 1960s
– Military territorial control 100%.
• 1980s: Armed Conflict
– Military training without quality control.
– First Colombian incursions.
– Free elections. Civilian government.
• 1990s: Peace Accords
– Military release national control positions.
– New Police absorbs recycled officers linked to army.
– Clandestine intelligence apparatuses are not dismantled.
– Colombian DTOs decline. Mexicans rise.
• 2000s
– Last military control posts released.
– Police training without quality control.
– Mexican DTOs proliferate.
Guatemala’s crossroads:
Democratization of violence and second chances
1. NATURE AND ROOTS OF OC IN GUATEMALA
• Infiltration of State institutions:
15 years of civilian governments.
Infiltration vs. “being part of.”




OC and civilian work force.
Public office: Appointments & political favors – 1960s.
Corruption, ineptitude & organized crime.
Weak Civil Service Law.
Political parties.
OC infiltrates the army and the police – 1970s
 Sleepers & moles in military careers – 1980s
 Weaknesses in police are exploited – 1990s
 Misusing the military force – 2000s
Guatemala’s crossroads:
Democratization of violence and second chances
2. GUATEMALA AND OC FROM SOUTH TO NORTH
AMERICA
• Geography of criminal activity.
Illegal immigration &
trafficking in persons.
Car theft.
Arms trafficking.
Money transportation.
Kidnapping and extortion.
Drug trafficking.
Guatemala’s crossroads:
Democratization of violence and second chances
2. GUATEMALA AND OC FROM SOUTH TO NORTH
AMERICA
• Links with criminal activity in Guatemala.
Drug trafficking
Car theft
Gang activity,
extortion, small-scale
drug distribution.
Illegal immigration &
trafficking in persons
Kidnapping
Arms trafficking
Guatemala’s crossroads:
Democratization of violence and second chances
2. GUATEMALA AND OC FROM SOUTH TO NORTH
AMERICA
 Foreign groups
• Organization local
and foreign of DTOs.
• Territory vs. routes.
Sinaloa Cartel
Zetas (former Gulf Cartel)
 Local main groups
Lorenzana family
Mendoza family
 Local small groups
Leones / España / Javier
Overdick family
Turcios family
Ramírez & Ortiz Chamalé
Guatemala’s crossroads:
Democratization of violence and second chances
3. CAUSE AND EFFECT OF NEIGHBORING OC ACTIVITY
 Human rights concerns:
• Localized policies to fight OC: Colombia & Mexico.
• Increase of OC activity and inadequate responses.
• Abuse of authority: Army & Police.
• Old habits inherited from counterinsurgency.
• Security forces ill-equipped to fight OC.
Guatemala’s crossroads:
Democratization of violence and second chances
3. CAUSE AND EFFECT OF NEIGHBORING OC ACTIVITY
 Strategies to confront challenges posed by OC:
• Installation of CICIG.
• Police Reform & human rights activist Helen Mack.
• Institutional strengthening in justice system.
• Tax reform.
• Social assistance programs in areas where basic
services are scarce.
Guatemala’s crossroads:
Democratization of violence and second chances
3. CAUSE AND EFFECT OF NEIGHBORING OC ACTIVITY
 Political alliances and political will:
• National Accord for the Advancement of Security
and Justice.
• Complexity in reaching consensus in Congress.
• Weak political party structure.
• Political will: Scope and depth of commitments.
• Long-term solutions: Government vs. State policies.
• Liabilities in the proximity of 2011 elections.
Guatemala’s crossroads:
Democratization of violence and second chances
3. CAUSE AND EFFECT OF NEIGHBORING OC ACTIVITY
 Role and relevance of foreign assistance:
Merida Plan.
U.S. technical and financial assistance.
Plight for more comprehensive assistance.
Proposals of focusing strongly on Central America.
Technical assistance from Mexico.
Regional cooperation between U.S., Mexico and
Guatemala.
• Roadblocks: Corruption, policies & political will.
•
•
•
•
•
•
Guatemala’s crossroads:
Democratization of violence and second chances
4. CONCLUSIONS
• Long-term policies will not be executed without political
will.
• Political will cannot be achieved without strengthening
the political party system and formation policy.
• Observing and strengthening the Civil Service Law could
help reduce corruption levels in State institutions and
contribute to curb OC influence.
• Eradicating impunity and practicing fiscal transparency
will be achievable in the extent that corruption is
reduced.
• As long as the police and the military are misused in
terms of their capabilities, Guatemala will be unable to
stop the influence and control of OC organizations.
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