HomeNewsBriefUS Senators Warn of Potential 'Security Crisis' in Caribbean
BRIEF

US Senators Warn of Potential 'Security Crisis' in Caribbean

CARIBBEAN / 14 SEP 2012 BY CLAIRE O'NEILL MCCLESKEY EN

A new United States Senate report argues that the Caribbean faces a potential security crisis, and that the US must take action to prevent a future increase in drug trafficking through the region.

On September 13, the US Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, headed by California Democrat Dianne Feinstein and Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley, released an assessment on organized crime and security in the Caribbean (.pdf).

Citing a recent increase in violence in the region, the Senators warned of a potential “security crisis” in the Caribbean, arguing that the US must do more to support these countries in the fight against drug trafficking.

In addition to expressing support for the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), created in 2011, and for Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) operations, the report makes three principal recommendations: first, the US should create more Sensitive Investigate Units (SIUs), or highly vetted, DEA-trained police units, in Caribbean nations. Second, the US should provide the full criminal history of deportees sent back to the Caribbean so that these countries are better prepared to deal with future criminal activity. Finally, the US should work with partner nations in the Caribbean to create or improve legal tools needed to combat drug trafficking, such as wiretapping and asset forfeiture laws.

InSight Crime Analysis

As the report admits, drug trafficking in the Caribbean is minimal compared to in Mexico and Central America; only an estimated 5% of the cocaine destined for the United States passes through the region.

There have been some recent signs however, that traffickers are turning back to the Caribbean to move their product northwards. As a February 2012 United Nations report noted, there has been a marked increased in gang violence in the Caribbean, likely linked to drug trafficking activity. Additionally, aerial surveys by the US Military’s Southern Command have shown an increase in maritime trafficking events on the Caribbean side of the Central American isthmus.

As the report acknowledges, this potential shift back to the Caribbean is a result of the increased pressure on land routes through Central America and Mexico, a phenomenon known as the “balloon effect,” where pressure in one area simply pushes traffickers (or drug crops) into another.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

CARIBBEAN / 23 JUL 2013

In Caribbean locations like the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, criminal groups have established clear-cut alliances with political parties and…

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC / 24 OCT 2018

US authorities arrested two Dominican citizens in connection to a multimillion-dollar fentanyl shipment delivered from Mexico, suggesting that relations between…

CARIBBEAN / 7 SEP 2011

Top Jamaican security officials will meet with their Cuban counterparts to strengthen anti-narcotics cooperation between the two countries.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.