Terrorists, Drug Traffickers, and Gangs in Latin America: Undermining Democracy

Washington, D.C.

June 9, 2010

Latin America faces growing challenges from armed non-state actors who are able to operate in territories where governance is contested. This includes parts of Mexico and the tri-border region adjacent to Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. These non-state actors—including criminal gangs, drug traffickers, and terrorist groups—pose a threat to democracy and stability in Latin America, as well as to U.S. security.

The Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis and Hudson Institute and the Center for Latin American Studies convened a panel of experts to discuss this growing set of challenges and the threats these groups pose to Latin America and the United States.

Latin America Panel

The Panelists

Robert Pfaltzgraff (moderator) is president of the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, and the Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of International Security Studies at the Fletcher School, Tufts University.

Jaime Daremblum (introductory remarks), is the director of the Hudson Institute Center for Latin American Studies and former Costa Rican ambassador to the United States

Douglas Farah is a senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center. His work includes consulting with the Defense Department, Department of Homeland Security, and others on these issues. He worked as a foreign correspondent and investigative reporter at the Washington Post for twenty years, leaving that position in 2004.

Roy Godson is an emeritus professor of government at Georgetown University and president of the National Strategy Information Center. He has authored, coauthored, or edited more than thirty books and monographs, including Adapting America's Security Paradigm and Security Agenda.

Matthew Levitt is the director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy's Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. He is a former deputy assistant secretary of the treasury for intelligence and analysis.

John Walters, Hudson Institute's Executive vice president, served as director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) at the White House. In this cabinet-level position, Walters coordinated all aspects of U.S. federal drug control policy, including interdiction and efforts to fight trafficking abroad.