Border security is a matter of national security for the USA:
Report at the Washington Post,
Mexican drug cartels bring violence with them in move to Central America
Drug cartel violence in Mexico is quickly spilling south into Central America and is threatening to destabilize fragile countries already rife with crime and corruption, according to the United Nations, U.S. officials and regional law enforcement agents.
How bad is it?
The Northern Triangle of Central America — Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras — has long been a major smuggling corridor for contraband heading to the United States. But as Mexican President Felipe Calderón fights a U.S.-backed war against his nation’s drug lords, trafficking networks are burrowing deeper into a region with the highest murder rates in the world.
The Mexican cartels “are spreading their horizons to states where they feel, quite frankly, more comfortable. These governments in Central America face a very real challenge in confronting these organizations,” said David Gaddis, chief of operations for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
And democracy is in peril,
The expansion of cartel power in the Northern Triangle threatens to undermine democratic gains made since the end of civil conflicts here in the mid-1990s. Analysts say the lucrative profits of the drug trade wield powerful influence in these countries, where half the people live in poverty.
“The Guatemalan government is weak, and the drug cartels provide services that the state does not,” such as health clinics, soccer fields and schools, said Fernando Giron Soto, a researcher at the Myrna Mack Foundation, a human rights organization in Guatemala City whose doors are guarded by armed sentries. “It’s the same thing that Pablo Escobar used to do in Medellin” during the 1990s in Colombia, he said.
In many areas of the Northern Triangle, police are ineffective, if they exist at all, experts say. Guatemala and Honduras have fewer than half as many police per capita as Mexico, U.N. data show. In Guatemala, as many as seven of the country’s 22 provinces appear to be under the control of criminals, according to the International Crisis Group report.
It’s not just a distraction: this is a crucial problem for our national security.