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OAS Secretary General Invites Countries of the Continent to Jointly Face Organized Crime in the Summit on Security in Central America

  June 22, 2011

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today welcomed the effort of the countries of the Central American Integration System (SICA) to face the phenomenon of crime with integrated strategies and invited all countries of the continent to apply the principle of shared responsibility. "In the understanding that the threat is shared, we must face it together," Insulza said.

In his remarks, the head of the OAS said there are enough diagnoses of the situation on the activities of organized crime, and what is needed now is "to address what we can do effectively to confront it." In this sense, he highlighted two points that in his view must be incorporated into a plan of action: to accept shared responsibility and seek balances in the investment of state and private resources in the fight against crime.

He asserted that, in his judgment, there are no misdirected initiatives by governments in the strategies they employ to attack drug trafficking, confiscate drugs and disband criminal groups. "But that road alone does not work," he warned. It could work, he continued, "if we successfully strike against and restrict demand and supply; if we successfully cut off the flow of money that goes from north to south to finance not only drug trafficking but also human trafficking and arms trafficking, piracy; if we confront the flow of drugs from south to north; and to do all this by applying the principle of shared responsibility."

These issues must be included in the conversations of the governments of the continent, Secretary General Insulza said, in the understanding that international crime must be faced through coordinated strategies that incorporate realistic views on the genesis of the phenomenon. Criminality has different manifestations and to fight against it is a challenge that democratic institutions must face through all available means, he underlined.

On the second point, the head of the hemispheric Organization called attention, based on what was said by the President of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli, to the costs of private security, to the huge imbalance of what is invested by the state and civil society in protecting against crime. He said that, in this sense, cooperation is a privileged way to have effective and sustainable results, and he praised the initiative of SICA and its Group of Friends, to establish solid bases on which to build a strong and novel attack on criminals. "The conference of Guatemala is not an endpoint to this objective, but a starting point," he noted.

On the OAS initiatives, Secretary General Insulza said the Organization "fully shares the approach based on the principles of effectiveness of help, and seeks new and better ways to conduct its own activities beginning with greater appropriation, alignment, harmonization, orientation towards results and accountability. In this order, we wish to offer our support to the strengthening of institutions of SICA and make our capacities and efforts available to it to achieve the greatest effectiveness possible in this goal."

Furthermore, he offered human and technical resources of the OAS "to drive legislative harmonization processes in Central America," as well as to facilitate dialogue between the institutions of the executive and legislative powers and the judicial branch, with the goal of achieving effective cooperation in legal matters and fulfilling the international instruments on the different manifestations of organized crime.

Present at the same meeting was the OAS Secretary for Multidimensional Security, Adam Blackwell, who said that "the Central American countries have a rich arsenal of resolutions they can base their actions on, and the Security Strategy that was approved today is one example of it. Now it is possible to take action," he asserted. Ambassador Blackwell recalled that the political bodies of the OAS have defined 117 specific mandates in the area of security "that form the commitment of the countries of Central America, and that can also serve as legal framework to subregional cooperation."

The summit on Security in Central America is being held in Guatemala City today and tomorrow, June 22 and 23, with the participation of Central American heads of State, the presidents of Mexico, Felipe Calderón, and of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, and the United States Secretary of State, among others. The meeting was convened by the President of Guatemala, Álvaro Colom, and is taking place two weeks after the OAS General Assembly in San Salvador that addressed the implementation of a coordinated plan of action at the continental level to fight against organized crime.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-738/11