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Sunday, 24 August 2014

U.S. Military: More Counter-Narcotics Funding Will Help Stem Exodus of Children from Central America

Bill Conroy
Narco News

Critics Argue Drug-War Money is Part of the Problem, Not the Solution

Some 58,000 migrant children, mostly Central Americans, have made the treacherous journey to the U.S. southern border alone over the past 10 months, but actions being considered by U.S. officials to combat the problem with more military and drug-war aid to their countries, critics warn, may worsen the violence that provokes this unprecedented exodus.

The number of unaccompanied children that have arrived at the U.S. border so far this fiscal year is up 106 percent from the same period a year earlier — with the total expected to reach 90,000 before Sept. 30, the end of the current fiscal year.

To put that latter number in perspective, it is nearly five times larger than the number of Border Patrol agents now stationed along the entire southern border.

The Obama administration paints the crisis as a humanitarian issue sparked by poverty, violence and the tug of family bonds. Congressional Republicans point the finger at the Obama administration’s lax enforcement of immigration laws.

Seemingly lost among the fray of political talking points over the child-migrant flight, however, is the stance of the U.S. military — which, unlike the president or Congress, is openly talking about the drug war as being a primary driver of the exodus.

Jose Ruiz, spokesperson for the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), said the transnational criminal organizations now entrenched in Central America have created elaborate networks “capable of moving drugs, money, arms and people” around the world.

“Sadly, crime syndicates that profit from human smuggling prey on victims willing to put themselves and their loved ones at great risk by entrusting ruthless criminals with their safety,” he added.

Gen. John Kelly, commander of SOUTHCOM, recently penned an opinion piece for the military press that lays out the nexus he sees between the flight of unaccompanied children and the pervasive narco-trafficking networks in Central America — particularly in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, the major source nations for the child-migrant surge.

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