Latin American Leaders Meet to Discuss Increasing Violence in the Region

Drug wars and escalating violence has prompted a summit in Panama between Latin leaders from Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala and Panama. The summit, being held today will address the substantial increase in crime and violence in an effort to counter drug-trafficking, money laundering and organized crime groups.

The summit between Presidents Felipe Calderon of Mexico, Alvaro Colom of Guatemala, Alvaro Uribe of Colombia, and Martin Torrijos of Panama is a clear recognition by the leaders of these countries that they share a common problem.

Mexico's crime rate hit record highs when it topped off at over 5,400 drug-related killings, according to Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora, as reported by CNN.

President Calderon has made fighting drug lords his top priority, sending thousands of federal police and soldiers to combat the war on drugs. But it is not only a problem for Mexico and Latin America. The violence in Mexico and elsewhere south of the
border has the potential to spill over to the United States. A report entitled Joint Operating Environment 2008 issued
in November by the U.S. Joint Forces Command clearly states, "The growing
assault by the drug cartels and their thugs on the Mexican government
over the past several years reminds one that an unstable Mexico could
represent a homeland security problem of immense proportions to the
United States."

Following a meeting with President-elect Barack Obama on Jan 12, 2009 in Washington, DC at the Mexican Cultural Institute, Calderon said, "The more secure Mexico is, the more secure the United States will be."