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View Full Version : U.S. pledges funds to fight Central America gangs


SteelersMongol
07-20-2007, 04:34 AM
(Reuters) -- The United States has pledged $4 million to help Central American governments draft a regional security strategy to fight violent youth street gangs and drug trafficking.
art.

U.S. envoy Thomas Shannon says fighting youth gangs and drug trafficking can't be done through policing alone.

Thomas Shannon, U.S. assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs, made the cash pledge Wednesday while in Guatemala to sign an agreement with the Central American Integration System to improve intelligence sharing and policing.

"This is an integrated strategy, all of these threats are connected," Shannon said after the signing. "The gangs traffic drugs and arms, and the major drug cartels use the gangs to do their work."

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says as much as 75 percent of Colombian cocaine passes through Central America on its way to the United States, with powerful cartels battling for control of Guatemala's lawless jungles and porous border with Mexico.

Shannon promised $1 million to strengthen regional security coordination between the Central American countries and Mexico, which participated in the meeting as an observer.

Central American officials attending the meeting told local media a complete security plan could cost up to $800 million for increased law enforcement and more technical equipment and training.

Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras are overrun with violent youth street gangs, known as "maras" that trace their origins back to Salvadoran immigrants on the streets of Los Angeles, California, in the 1980s and 1990s.

Crime is on the rise in Guatemala, with close to 6,000 people killed in the country of 12 million last year, one of the highest rates in Latin America.

On Tuesday, the day Shannon arrived in the country, a gang member known as "The Worm" was found dismembered, his body parts and heart left in plastic bags scattered around a football field. Police say a rival gang killed him.

Human rights investigators say gang members often are targeted and killed by vigilante groups or police death squads, fed up by an inept justice system that fails to control crime rates and gang extortions.

Bodies of young gang members, known for their distinctive tattoos, are often found bound and tortured.

Some $3 million will be dispersed over three years by the U.S. Agency for International Development to fund rehabilitation programs for youths in gangs.

"We have to remember that this type of delinquency has profound social roots and our way of fighting it cannot only be through policing," Shannon said during a news conference in his visit.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/americas/07/19/central.america.gangs.reut/index.html

SteelersMongol
07-20-2007, 04:38 AM
I just want to know what do you guys think about "How successful is it going to be?" Or should the question be "When the US has better things to do at home, why is it trying things off the continent?"

Buzz05
07-20-2007, 05:54 AM
Its not going to work. Remember the Raegan days...well I dont either but I heard about them in history class. But the Drugs Czars and everything didnt do anything to help. in fact things got worse after that. Rather then dump money into these places the government should try to clean up its own streets and get rid of its own gangs. There has been a 174 homicides here in Baltimore thus far this year. Man that $4million would go a long way here in recruiting more police officers and helping to rid the streets of pimps, pushers, and dealers.

Preacher
07-20-2007, 12:54 PM
Its not going to work. Remember the Raegan days...well I dont either but I heard about them in history class. But the Drugs Czars and everything didnt do anything to help. in fact things got worse after that. Rather then dump money into these places the government should try to clean up its own streets and get rid of its own gangs. There has been a 174 homicides here in Baltimore thus far this year. Man that $4million would go a long way here in recruiting more police officers and helping to rid the streets of pimps, pushers, and dealers.


ROTFL....

Let me guess, Reagan was a little red man with horns and a tail?

Buzz05
07-20-2007, 01:09 PM
ROTFL....

Let me guess, Reagan was a little red man with horns and a tail?

Beats me, all I know about is Raegan-omics haha

Cape Cod Steel Head
07-20-2007, 01:15 PM
Beats me, all I know about is Raegan-omics hahaYou mean they didn't teach you about Just say No?

Preacher
07-20-2007, 04:03 PM
You mean they didn't teach you about Just say No?

LOL... Just say no was about as effective as the Clinton's administrations little dally with people teaching kids how to put condoms on bananas.

Government should just STAY OUT of raising children. It scares me every time I see it... regardless of whether it is from the left or the right.

revefsreleets
07-20-2007, 04:03 PM
I would love, just for one year, for the US to remove ALL aid to foreign countries. ALL of it. 80% of our foreign aid goes to countries filled with people who hate us, and it would be very interesting to actually see what life would be like for these people without us.

Preacher
07-20-2007, 04:21 PM
I would love, just for one year, for the US to remove ALL aid to foreign countries. ALL of it. 80% of our foreign aid goes to countries filled with people who hate us, and it would be very interesting to actually see what life would be like for these people without us.

Very interesting question... However, that would also include all money's we give to the U.N., NATO, etc.

revefsreleets
07-20-2007, 04:31 PM
Very interesting question... However, that would also include all money's we give to the U.N., NATO, etc.

Well, we are way behind on our UN dues, but I digress. My point is it'd make the World realize just how valuable our support (at the expense of the US average Joe taxpayer) really is. I know lots of people around the World say they hate our government but are okay with our citizenry, but it is the government that has appropriated all this aid that we spread around the world.

tony hipchest
07-20-2007, 07:47 PM
sorry for the skeptical answer steelersmongol, but from just readin what you posted it sounds like were gonna hand over $4,000,000 to who could or could not be some crooked politicians to pay several people for a year or two to have a cozy office and sit around and bullshit and hypothesize about how they can spend even more US dollars to try and cure a problem.

the money will go to nothing more than an overpriced brainstorm session at the least, that is more of a vacation to those involved as opposed to actual work.

sounds like bullshit pork to me. i thought the whole "war on drugs" in the early 90's was supposed to take care of this.

that silly game of whack a mole created a meth epidemic which in turn helped lower the prices of crack. :thumbsup:

stlrtruck
07-20-2007, 08:58 PM
Maybe the US Government should pay better attention the things happening within it's own borders. Immigrants flying US Flags upside down and under a different countries flags! Illegals getting credit cards, social security, and health care that even our own can't afford!

Forget the other countries and take care of our own for awhile!!!!!

Preacher
07-21-2007, 09:04 PM
Maybe the US Government should pay better attention the things happening within it's own borders. Immigrants flying US Flags upside down and under a different countries flags! Illegals getting credit cards, social security, and health care that even our own can't afford!

Forget the other countries and take care of our own for awhile!!!!!

Problem is... if we ignore all the other countries, then the problems will come to our doorstep. For instance, if we ignore Turkey... Thier military will not be strong enough to stop the next take over in government.... when islamic militants get too much control. That will spell danger to the U.S., as it will be another major nation in Islamic control.

revefsreleets
07-22-2007, 01:09 PM
Problem is... if we ignore all the other countries, then the problems will come to our doorstep. For instance, if we ignore Turkey... Thier military will not be strong enough to stop the next take over in government.... when islamic militants get too much control. That will spell danger to the U.S., as it will be another major nation in Islamic control.

That's kind of the point, though. In order for the rest of the World to appreciate our role, they need "the whip". They need to see what a truly stabilizing force this Country is, in spite of past blunders. I realize this would ultimately complicate things for us in the short haul, but we'd be rewarded with a lot more international cooperation after the year of turmoil was over.

stlrtruck
07-22-2007, 01:50 PM
Problem is... if we ignore all the other countries, then the problems will come to our doorstep. For instance, if we ignore Turkey... Thier military will not be strong enough to stop the next take over in government.... when islamic militants get too much control. That will spell danger to the U.S., as it will be another major nation in Islamic control.

I'm not saying ignore those other problems completely, I'm saying focus some attention back to those of us who live in this country. Seems to me that when we can't control our own borders, how the heck are we going to control someone elses?

SteelersMongol
07-22-2007, 09:20 PM
I would love, just for one year, for the US to remove ALL aid to foreign countries. ALL of it. 80% of our foreign aid goes to countries filled with people who hate us, and it would be very interesting to actually see what life would be like for these people without us.

WE DON'T HATE YOU. :hug: :smile:

Preacher
07-25-2007, 06:47 PM
That's kind of the point, though. In order for the rest of the World to appreciate our role, they need "the whip". They need to see what a truly stabilizing force this Country is, in spite of past blunders. I realize this would ultimately complicate things for us in the short haul, but we'd be rewarded with a lot more international cooperation after the year of turmoil was over.

Actually I was replying to Stltruck! Your a hundred percent right.

Stltruck... You and I both know what will happen if that money comes back to the states... It will end up in the politicians pockets... both dem and repub.

SO sad.

I used to REALLY believe in my party... and trusted the other one.

Now I neither believer nor trust in either.

X-Terminator
07-25-2007, 07:30 PM
37 people were just shot in Philadelphia in the last FIVE DAYS and 230 people murdered in that city in less than 8 MONTHS...and we're worried about gangs in Central America???

Sorry, but I'm going to need a little help understanding this one...

Preacher
07-26-2007, 02:36 AM
37 people were just shot in Philadelphia in the last FIVE DAYS and 230 people murdered in that city in less than 8 MONTHS...and we're worried about gangs in Central America???

Sorry, but I'm going to need a little help understanding this one...

I think the conventional logic goes (not that i agree or disagree with it... )

If we help crack down on CentAm gangs... we get the drugs routes where they start... instead of where they end...

The idea would be something like.... Chop down the tree closer to the trunk, so that one chop brings down more branches.

I don't know if it is true... but I think that is the idea.

stlrtruck
07-27-2007, 09:04 PM
I think the conventional logic goes (not that i agree or disagree with it... )

If we help crack down on CentAm gangs... we get the drugs routes where they start... instead of where they end...

The idea would be something like.... Chop down the tree closer to the trunk, so that one chop brings down more branches.

I don't know if it is true... but I think that is the idea.


Great in theory - problem is that no one in power here in these United States uses theory in application!!

revefsreleets
07-29-2007, 07:04 PM
Well, think about this, though. In a sense we may deserve to be hated, at least a little bit. I can't help but think of America's insane fascination with the triumvirate of evil, Drunky, Cokey and Dopey (Spears, Lohan and Hilton), Harry Potter book releases, reality TV, etc, etc.

Our young people idolize pieces of human garbage and expend thousands of hours a year wasting away in front of the boob tube, wedging their increasingly expanding behinds deeper into the sofa pillows munching Doritos and playing XBox while kids from around the World flock here to take advantage of the greatest post secondary and post graduate educational infrastructure ever established. We are lucky enough to retain enough of them to enable us to keep our edge. God forbid if these kids ever decided to go home en masse. We'd be left with a Country filled with blithering idiots. Ever looked at a list of graduates from a PhD program at any US College? 80% are foreigners. If it's science or engineering it's closer to 100%. Read this.

Children study under parking lot lights
Impoverished Guinea students lack electricity
Friday, July 20, 2007
Rukmini Callimachi
Associated Press

Conakry, Guinea- The sun has set in one of the world's poorest nations and as the floodlights come on at G'bessi International Airport, the parking lot begins filling with children.

The long stretch of pavement has the feel of a hushed library, each student sitting quietly, some moving their lips as their eyes traverse their French-language notes.

It's exam season in Guinea, ranked 160th out of 177 countries on the United Nations' development index, and schoolchildren flock to the airport every night because it's among the only places where they'll always find the lights on.

Groups of elementary and high school students begin heading to the airport at dusk, hoping to reserve a coveted spot under the oval light cast by one of a dozen lampposts in the parking lot. Some come from more than an hour's walk away.

The lot is teeming with girls and boys by the time Air France Flight 767 rounds the Gulf of Guinea an hour and a half before midnight. They hardly look up from their notes as the Boeing jet begins its spiraling descent over the dark city, or as the newly arrived passengers come out, shoving luggage carts over the cracked pavement.

"I used to study by candlelight at home but that hurt my eyes. So I prefer to come here. We're used to it," says Mohamed Sharif, 18, who sat under the fluorescent beam memorizing notes on the terrain of Mongolia for the geography portion of his college entrance test.

Parents require girls to be chaperoned to the airport by an older brother or a trusted male friend. Even young children are allowed to stay out late under the fluorescent bulbs, so long as they return in groups.

"My parents don't worry about me because they know I'm here to seek my future," says 10-year-old Ali Mara, busy studying a diagram of the cephalothorax, the body of an insect.

Most are working on memorizing their notes, struggling to commit to memory entire paragraphs dictated by their teachers on the history of Marxism, or the unraveling of colonial Africa, or the geology of Siberia. Tests are largely feats of memorization, a relic from Guinea's French colonial rulers.

The students at the airport consider themselves lucky.

"We have an edge because we live near the airport," says 22-year-old Ismael Diallo, a university student.

It's an edge in preparing for an exam in a country where unemployment is rampant, inflation has pushed the price of a large bag of rice to $30 and a typical government functionary earns around $60 a month.

The lack of electricity is "a geological scandal," says Michael McGovern, a political anthropologist at Yale University, quoting a phrase first used by a colonial administrator to describe Guinea's untapped natural wealth.

The territory has rivers that if properly harnessed could electrify the region, McGovern says. It has gold, diamonds, iron and half the world's reserves of bauxite, the raw material used to make aluminum.

For 23 years, the former French colony has been under the grip of Lansana Conte, a reclusive and temperamental army general who grabbed the presidency in a 1984 coup.

Preacher
07-29-2007, 07:21 PM
Well, think about this, though. In a sense we may deserve to be hated, at least a little bit. I can't help but think of America's insane fascination with the triumvirate of evil, Drunky, Cokey and Dopey (Spears, Lohan and Hilton), Harry Potter book releases, reality TV, etc, etc.

Our young people idolize pieces of human garbage and expend thousands of hours a year wasting away in front of the boob tube, wedging their increasingly expanding behinds deeper into the sofa pillows munching Doritos and playing XBox while kids from around the World flock here to take advantage of the greatest post secondary and post graduate educational infrastructure ever established. We are lucky enough to retain enough of them to enable us to keep our edge. God forbid if these kids ever decided to go home en masse. We'd be left with a Country filled with blithering idiots. Ever looked at a list of graduates from a PhD program at any US College? 80% are foreigners. If it's science or engineering it's closer to 100%. Read this.


I couldn't get through your part of the post to read the article...

Dang good post...dead right on. Funny thing is... (without getting into politics), everyone likes to say it is our Geo-political posturing that causes and drives terrorism. However, what are they REALLY afraid of?

I can't help but think of America's insane fascination with the triumvirate of evil, Drunky, Cokey and Dopey (Spears, Lohan and Hilton), Harry Potter book releases, reality TV, etc, etc.

Their children becoming like ours. That is why we are "The Great Satan."

And yeah... I just shake my head when I hear about teachers saying that they "Don't believe in homework." What a joke.

Even more so... I can't believe that people can go through college, and not write a paper more then 3-4 pages! Not have to do a research project that requires more then 3 or 4 sources.

What a joke.

revefsreleets
07-29-2007, 07:26 PM
It's there now.

I'm ashamed of my own laziness and complacency when I was in school when I read something like this. Of course I didn't understand that I was taking anything for granted at the time, but I do now...

Preacher
07-29-2007, 07:38 PM
It's there now.

I'm ashamed of my own laziness and complacency when I was in school when I read something like this. Of course I didn't understand that I was taking anything for granted at the time, but I do now...

Yep. Too true. I remember shaking my head at the fact that I was required to write 10-12 page papers with at least 10 sources.

Then I got into seminary (Grad school), and it was 17-22 page papers with not just 10-12 sources, but scholarly sources as opposed to banal sources... AND also, a NUMBER of article sources.

After grad school... It just got worse!

SteelersMongol
07-30-2007, 03:44 AM
Cities Sue Gangs in Bid to Stop Violence

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - Fed up with deadly drive-by shootings, incessant drug dealing and graffiti, cities nationwide are trying a different tactic to combat gangs: They're suing them.

Fort Worth and San Francisco are among the latest to file lawsuits against gang members, asking courts for injunctions barring them from hanging out together on street corners, in cars or anywhere else in certain areas.

The injunctions are aimed at disrupting gang activity before it can escalate. They also give police legal reasons to stop and question gang members, who often are found with drugs or weapons, authorities said. In some cases, they don't allow gang members to even talk to people passing in cars or to carry spray paint.

"It is another tool," said Kevin Rousseau, a Tarrant County assistant prosecutor in Fort Worth, which recently filed its first civil injunction against a gang. "This is more of a proactive approach."

But critics say such lawsuits go too far, limiting otherwise lawful activities and unfairly targeting minority youth.

"If you're barring people from talking in the streets, it's difficult to tell if they're gang members or if they're people discussing issues," said Peter Bibring, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. "And it's all the more troubling because it doesn't seem to be effective."

Civil injunctions were first filed against gang members in the 1980s in the Los Angeles area, a breeding ground for gangs including some of the country's most notorious, such as the Crips and 18th Street.

The Los Angeles city attorney's suit in 1987 against the Playboy Gangster Crips covered the entire city but was scaled back after a judge deemed it too broad.

Chicago tried to target gangs by enacting an anti-loitering ordinance in 1992 but the U.S. Supreme Court struck it down in 1999, saying it gave police the authority to arrest without cause.

Since then, cities have used injunctions to target specific gangs or gang members, and so far that strategy has withstood court challenges.

Los Angeles now has 33 permanent injunctions involving 50 gangs, and studies have shown they do reduce crime, said Jonathan Diamond, a spokesman for the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office.

The injunctions prohibit gang members from associating with each other, carrying weapons, possessing drugs, committing crimes and displaying gang symbols in a safety zone - neighborhoods where suspected gang members live and are most active. Some injunctions set curfews for members and ban them from possessing alcohol in public areas - even if they're of legal drinking age.

Those who disobey the order face a misdemeanor charge and up to a year in jail. Prosecutors say the possibility of a jail stay - however short - is a strong deterrent, even for gang members who've already served hard time for other crimes.

"Seven months in jail is a big penalty for sitting on the front porch or riding in the car with your gang buddies," said Kinley Hegglund, senior assistant city attorney for Wichita Falls.

Last summer, Wichita Falls sued 15 members of the Varrio Carnales gang after escalating violence with a rival gang, including about 50 drive-by shootings in less than a year in that North Texas city of 100,000.

Since then, crime has dropped about 13 percent in the safety zone and real estate values are climbing, Hegglund said.

Other cities hope for similar results.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera sued four gangs in June after an "explosion" in gang violence, seven months after filing the city's first gang-related civil injunction.

Fort Worth sued 10 members of the Northcide Four Trey Gangsta Crips in May after two gang members were killed in escalating violence, said Assistant City Attorney Chris Mosley.

"Our hope is that these defendants will be scared into compliance just by having these injunctions against them," Mosley said.

However, some former gang members say such legal maneuvers wouldn't have stopped them.

Usamah Anderson, 30, of Fort Worth, said he began stealing cars and got involved with gangs as a homeless 11-year-old. He was arrested numerous times for theft and spent time in juvenile facilities.

Anderson says if a civil injunction had been in place then, he and his friends would have simply moved outside the safety zone.

"That's the life you live, so you're going to find a way to maneuver around it," said Anderson, a truck driver who abandoned the gang life about seven years ago and has started a church to help young gang members.

The ACLU and other critics of gang injunctions favor community programs. The Rev. Jack Crane, pastor of Truevine Missionary Baptist Church in Fort Worth, is helping Anderson's group provide gang members with counseling, shoes and other resources needed to help them escape that life.

"We don't want to lose another generation," Crane said.

Some residents in the Fort Worth safety zone say they feel better with the injunction in place.

Phoebe Picazo, who recently moved to the city to care for her elderly parents, said she hears gunfire almost every night.

"This has always been a quiet community with a lot of seniors, but now we're having to keep our doors locked," Picazo said. "With the injunction, I feel better for my folks."

http://apnews.excite.com/article/20070730/D8QMPKJ80.html