Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Latin America security by the numbers

  • Since 2005, 168 explosive devices have gone off in Santiago, Chile. There have never been any arrests.

  • Cuban dissidents say there are now 90 political prisoners on the island, a number that has doubled in the past nine months.

  • Ecuador has spent US$6 billion on its armed forces since 2007, tripling the defense budget between that year and 2012.

  • El Salvador spends 10.8 percent of Gross Domestic Product on security, three times what Costa Rica spends, according to a government study.

  • Honduras suffered 7,172 homicides in 2012, up from 7,104 in 2011 and 6,239 in 2010. Last year’s homicide rate of 85.5 per 100,000 people was down slightly from 2011 (86.5) because the population increased more quickly than homicides increased.

  • Guatemala’s police placed a US$14.2 million order for new uniforms, shoes, boots, sweaters, belts, smoke grenades and munitions.

  • During the November 20 - January 20 unilateral cease-fire declared by Colombia’s FARC guerrillas, the group’s violent actions were reduced by 87 percent, according to Bogotá’s Corporación Nuevo Arco Iris think tank.

  • Landmines laid by guerrillas and other illegal armed groups killed 13 children, and wounded 52 more, in Colombia last year.

  • Bolivia’s government says it will spend US$35-40 million on anti-drug activities this year.

  • Peru’s government says it will manually eradicate 22,000 hectares of coca in 2013, up from 14,171 hectares last year. In 2011, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime found 64,400 hectares of coca in Peru.

  • 54,000 Mexicans signed a petition asking President Obama to take several administrative measures that would limit cross-border gun trafficking into Mexico. None of the suggested measures appeared in the White House’s January 16 proposal.

  • One out of every 300 guns circulating in Mexico “is legal and complies with all requirements,” according to Mexico’s Defense Secretariat.

  • Of 726 men and 95 women surveyed in Mexico’s federal prison system, 60 percent were serving sentences for drug crimes.

  • Standing in for the far more voluble President Hugo Chávez, who continues to convalesce in Cuba, Venezuelan Vice-President Nicolás Maduro gave a ten-minute state-of-the-nation speech on January 15.