Mexico and Central America Share Problem

By Dialogo
February 21, 2013

Overwhelmed by unprecedented violence generated by organized crime, Central America and Mexico discussed some commonalities at a summit celebrated in San Jose, Costa Rica, on February 20: drug trafficking and immigration.

On his first official tour since taking office, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto arrived in Costa Rica on February 19 for a bilateral visit prior to the regional summit celebrated on February 20, with an agenda that included not only trade, but also the sensitive issue of regional security.

“We are a Latin American nation closely related to Central America. We are looking to strengthen our friendship bonds, business relations, and to promote Mesoamerican integration,” Peña Nieto said in a speech before Congress after signing agreements to boost trade and cooperation projects with Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla.

Chinchilla, whose country is leading the Central American Integration System (SICA) for six months, stated that the security issue will be discussed at the regional summit, although she added that it will not be the only important issue on the agenda with Mexico.

Other topics of discussion include “common issues,” such as drug and human trafficking and migrant smuggling, since they are trying to “redefine” the joint fight against organized crime, Minister of Foreign Affairs Enrique Castillo said.

According to the UN, Central America is currently the most violent area without war in the world, especially Honduras and Guatemala, which share almost a 1,000 km jungle border with Mexico.

In recent years, cartels have gone through a process of becoming corporations, such as the case of the violent Mexican cartel “Los Zetas,” now involved in human trafficking, extortion, and other criminal activities, Prosecutor Jorge Chavarría stated.