'Fighting drugs needs local focus'

Latin America organised crime analyst calls trend of using armies to fight drug gangs "disturbing".

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    Latin American countries have been afflicted by the problem of drug trafficking for decades. In the face of the growing menace, the Guatemalan government has decided to deploy its army to stave off the crisis.

    As part of Al Jazeera's Drugs Central programme, Shihab Rattansi spoke to Steven Dudley, co-director of Insight Crime, an organisation that studies organised crime in Latin America.

    Dudley told Al Jazeera: "It's disturbing that the army is being brought to fight the drug gangs."

    He said the Guatemalan army is trained to deal with armed conflict, not drug trafficking, and believes the real emphasis should be placed on police.

    Dudley said even the army can be infiltrated by the criminal gangs, so reinforcing local police should be the priority.

    He added that the fight against drugs must be carried out in this fashion throughout the entire region in order to thwart criminal organisations.

    "Other social issues like creating more schools and more employment opportunities have to run parallel to it."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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