Belize, which borders Mexico and Guatemala, has become dominated by the cartels Los Zetas and Maras, warns a report by Inter-American Dialogue in Washington.
Belize the New Drug Haven
According to the policy analysis group and intelligence in the last 30 years has intensified the phenomenon of drug trafficking in the small Central American nation that has become important point for smuggling cocaine from South America to the United States.
Despite having a population 43 times smaller than Guatemala or 15 times less than the average Central American countries, Belize faces growing murder rate, gang, the problem of being important point for the drug and lack of resources.
Inter-American Dialogue that higher ranks cartel operations are performed in the jungles of Petén and the Keys, a chain of 450 small coral islands, to smuggle drugs, people, weapons, wood and exotic animals.
Drug trafficking tentacles extending from Belize
Inter-American Dialogue alert increasingly becomes a center for trafficking of drugs and contraband.
The safety analysis set eyes U.S. now in Belize.
Belize is a small country that borders Mexico and Guatemala on the Caribbean coast, south of Quintana Roo. For some it is almost heavenly: is rainforest and small luxury hotels located in the Keys Caribbean. And some little known is that increasingly becomes a center of drug trafficking and smuggling of weapons and people, as well as Guatemala, as well as Honduras or El Salvador, and as they are near the border with Mexico.
“(The) analysis of organized crime and insecurity in the northern triangle of Central America to ignore or minimize the role of Belize will leave out a key player,” said a recent report of the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington.
Belize, he added, “has proven to have geographic and strategic importance for traffickers of illegal goods (weapons or drugs), smugglers and gangs.”
In fact, in 2012 a Lebanese linked to arms trafficking, including Arab extremist group linked to Hezbollah, was arrested in Cancun, Mexico: Raffiq Laboun Allaboun Mohammed, who had, among other things, false Belizean passports.
But in the last 30 years the main challenge for the country’s drug trade has been that it is a transfer point for cocaine from South America to reach the United States.
The problem now has increased. The arrival of gangs, corruption, the Mexican cartels, the political disputes with other countries in Central and fact which in turn is surrounded by nations in trouble will not help the situation in Belize.
The result in any case is not only insecure and penetration of offenders, particularly the Mexican cartels, in governing bodies. With a population of 321,115 people, recorded 146 murders in 2012. The figure seems small, but it represents 44 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants.
According to UN data, the homicide rate in Mexico in 2012 was 22.7 per 100,000.
According to the report of the Inter-American Dialogue, despite having a population 43 times smaller than Guatemala or 15 times less on average relative to other Central American countries, Belize faces “a growing murder rate, gang, a role as a of transshipment of drugs, and a budget for public safety is not proportional to their needs. “
But, despite the problems and the reality of the presence of groups like Los Zetas gangs or maras, the Belize situation seems largely ignored. After all it is a nation with a population of English-speaking, with a population mostly of African descent and Maya.
The origin of the Spanish names in Belize is equally simple: many are descendants of the Maya who came here fleeing the Caste War of Yucatan, in the mid to late nineteenth century.
The half of the population is below 20 years of age and with an unemployment rate reaching nearly 19.5% of the social problem issue is also not something to ignore.
Worse, the report said, “the territorial dispute between Guatemala and Belize imposes a serious obstacle to a stronger partnership between the two countries to combat organized crime.”
Guatemala and Belize not only have a historical dispute, since English settlers coastal territories occupied practically the Captaincy General of Guatemala to create their own state, but current differences, especially in the jungles of Peten, where an ill-defined border lends smuggling of all kinds, including timber and exotic animals, as well as drugs.