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  1. Do Falling Murders in Rio Mean Success for Brazil's UPPs?

    18 December 2013
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    Homicides have fallen 65 percent in the Rio de Janeiro favelas where Police Pacification Units have been installed during four years of the flagship scheme -- an impressive figure, but one that could just indicate a displacement of violence to other regions. A study by Rio's Public Security Institute (ISP) looked at 22 Rio neighborhoods where Police Pacification Units (UPPs) have been in operation for more than a year.

  2. Why do Brazilian police kill?

    20 November 2013
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    An average of five people were killed by police every day in Brazil last year, according to an annual security report, revealing an entrenched culture of violence within the country's security forces. Brazil's Forum of Public Security joined forces with US non-governmental organization (NGO) Open Society Foundations to conduct an in-depth study of police killings as part of its annual report, concluding that the country's security forces are beset by a "culture of violence."

  3. Whither Rio de Janeiro’s Police Pacification Units?

    18 November 2013
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    Rio de Janeiro’s Pacification Police Units (UPP) are celebrating their fifth year in 2013. They do so with generally positive approval ratings from the media and society as a whole. A recent study by Instituto Data Favela indicates that 75% of favelas inhabitants approve of the UPPs. Notwithstanding major crises and criticism, the UPP constitute the single most important public security initiative in the state. And yet the persistent informality of the UPP may eventually undermine its sustainability. (See also: Rio slum pacification police accused of torture, murder)

  4. Let the gangs wither and the state turn a profit

    04 November 2013
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    As a law enforcement professional, I was waiting impatiently for the government’s recommendations for fighting gang crime. I’ve been especially impatient to see what kind of initiative they would come up with to attack the root of the problem: the cannabis trade. My disappointment when they announced what it was as great as my impatience had been. The right approach would have been to rob criminals of their source of income.

  5. Rio police charged over torture and death of missing favela man

    02 October 2013
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    Ten police in Rio de Janeiro have been charged with the torture and killing of a resident of the city's biggest favela in a case that has highlighted anger about extrajudicial killings. For more than two months, Amarildo de Souza was simply classified as "missing", but the suspicious circumstances of his disappearance and the notorious record of Rio's police sparked demonstrations that forced the authorities to respond.

  6. Breaking the taboo about drugs

    Global Commission on Drug Policy
    17 May 2013
    Other news

    After more than four decades of a failed war on drugs, calls for a change in strategy are growing louder by the day. In Latin America, the debate is positively deafening. Statesmen from Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico and Uruguay are taking the lead for transformations in their own drug regime, which has set a strong dynamic of change across the region and around the world. Their discussion has expanded to the US, where public opinion toward regulation is also changing. (See also: Western leaders study 'gamechanging' report on global drugs trade)

  7. In Latin America, U.S. focus shifts from drug war to economy

    04 May 2013
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    Relationships with countries racked by drug violence and organized crime should focus more on economic development and less on the endless battles against drug traffickers and organized crime capos that have left few clear victors. The countries, Mexico in particular, need to set their own course on security, with the United States playing more of a backing role. That approach runs the risk of being seen as kowtowing to governments more concerned about their public image than the underlying problems tarnishing it.

  8. blog-del-narco

    'They stole our dreams': blogger reveals cost of reporting Mexico's drug wars

    02 April 2013
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    For three years it has chronicled Mexico's drug war with graphic images and shocking stories that few others dare show, drawing millions of readers, acclaim, denunciations – and speculation about its author's identity. Blog del Narco, an internet sensation dubbed a "front-row seat" to Mexico's agony over drugs, has become a must-read for authorities, drug gangs and ordinary people because it lays bare, day after day, the horrific violence censored by the mainstream media.

  9. argentina-drugwar

    No one is safe from Argentina's drug war

    25 February 2013
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    For years the country was largely untouched by the brutal cartels that control the drug trade in Latin America. But an eight-year-old boy is proof those days are over. As little more than a transit-route, Argentina had escaped the worst of drug-related violence that has plagued many South American countries for decades. Now, the effects of the drug trade are increasingly visible – particularly in Rosario, which is acquiring the inauspicious title of Argentina’s “narco” capital.

  10. pena-nieto

    Mexico goes after the narcos

    24 February 2013
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    Gang-outreach schemes, community centers, employment projects and construction programs aimed at transforming chaotic urban jungles. “There is a complete lack of focus,” says Alejandro Hope, a security analyst and former member of Mexico’s intelligence agency. “It is such a mishmash of different programs that we will not know what works and what doesn’t. It is setting up itself for being a major waste of money.”

  11. no

    Report: Mexico disappearances constitute 'crisis'

    19 February 2013
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    Human Rights Watch called Mexico's anti-drug offensive "disastrous" in the report Mexico's Disappeared: The Enduring Cost of a Crisis Ignored, that cites 249 cases of disappearances that the group says mostly show evidence of having been carried out by the military or law enforcement. The report says the "enforced disappearances" follow a pattern in which security forces detain people without warrants at checkpoints, at homes or work places, or in public. When victims' families ask about their relatives, security forces deny the detentions.

  12. pena-nieto-new-strategy

    Mexico unveils new strategy in war on drugs and for preventing crime

    12 February 2013
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    Mexico's new administration has offered the first details of its new strategy in the country's war on drugs, saying the government will spend $9.2bn this year on social programmes to keep young people from joining criminal organisations in the 251 most violent towns and neighbourhoods across the country. The government will flood those areas with spending on programmes ranging from road building to increasing school hours, said President Enrique Peña Nieto and Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, the interior secretary.

  13. perez-molina

    Guatemala's president: 'My country bears the scars from the war on drugs'

    18 January 2013
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    This is at the heart of the awakening in Latin America, a feeling that drugs prohibition has allowed rich and powerful cartels to rise to such prominence that they threaten the institutions of the state – the police, the judicial system, the army, the media, and the body politic. In Latin America it is not about rehab and criminality, it is about an existential threat to the state.