Ambassador Albert Ramdin. "Illicit Networks, Political Instability, and Criminal Violence" Tuesday 21May, 2013

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1 Keynote Presentation Ambassador Albert Ramdin Assistant Secretary General-Organization of American States Council on Foreign Relations Workshop on "Illicit Networks, Political Instability, and Criminal Violence" Tuesday 21May, 2013 Multidimensional responses to Transnational Organized Crime Let me begin by thanking the Council of Foreign Relations for their kind invitation to join this important and timely dialogue and to share my views on Regional Security Threats and the impact on the Americas. Thanks as well to Micah Zenko and Paul Stares for reaching out to the OAS and for collaborating with my office on these very central issues. Ladies and gentlemen, I am absolutely convinced that one of the greatest tests of leadership in the 21st century will be our ability to work collectively to produce joint policies which address today s security challenges; and our willingness to align identified priorities with resources to facilitate cooperation, action and results, in spite of the diversity in this hemisphere. The OAS has been working towards this goal with member states, as we see security as one of the cornerstones of our multilateral agenda. Over 1

2 the past few days in particular, the OAS has played a crucial role in discussions on this issue. As some of you may have read, Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza presented the Drug Report to President Jose Manuel Santos of Colombia, in his capacity as Chair of the Sixth Summit of the Americas. The drug study was commissioned by the leaders of this Hemisphere in April of last year. Just yesterday, the Report was presented here in Washington at the OAS Headquarters. This Report started with a mandate, and it will no doubt stimulate very open-dialogue at almost every level of governance when it comes to drug policies in the Americas. It is our hope that the Report and the policy discussions which follow, are able to generate opportunity for our policy makers to open their minds to exploring new approaches to interrelated security challenges. The Washington Post says it s the first time that a multilateral organization has done something like this; that the Report was done to generate a rethinking of the war on drugs. This subject also has a prominent place in U.S foreign policy, and it continues to be a challenge to the hemisphere. We ve seen countries battle to keep drug producers and production, at bay; we ve also witnessed others in the struggle to secure their borders, aware that they are trans-shipment points. No country wants to be seen solely a consumer but there is no denying the market remains for illicit drugs, since trade is still successful. 2

3 Against this background, the Government of Guatemala selected the theme "Alternative Strategies for Combating Drugs for the OAS General Assembly, which will take place in a few weeks. Security has consistently been a high priority on the agenda of our countries in the last few years. In 2011, the Government of El Salvador selected the theme Citizen Security in the Americas when it hosted the OAS Assembly. The desire was to focus the attention of the international community on high levels of insecurity, crime and violence, still paralyzing parts of the region. So I am hoping that this Report will generate the kind of policy debate needed to translate ideas into action and possible results. I understand and agree that security will always be a factor, to one degree or another, on domestic, international and multilateral agendas. In spite of this, it is still my hope that our agendas will be followed by actions, and our discussions will generate creativity, and even courage to take bold steps to generate possible solutions. We all understand that security challenges do not exist in isolation. From drug trafficking to homicides, larceny, kidnapping and even money laundering, security issues in this hemisphere are often linked. In many cases these links exist because of the void or vacuum in our regulatory, political, economic and governance frameworks and systems. At the same time, security threats are also continuing to evolve. For every solution which takes us 10 years to adopt or implement, agents of insecurity are 10 steps ahead. Our collective response to security challenges 3

4 therefore, demands immediacy. We must be prepared to implement short term actions and do so expeditiously. This includes more targeted training of law enforcement personnel in many of our countries. It also means moving with determination to strengthen the judiciary by updating legislation; and improving domestic, sub-regional and international mechanisms for exchange of information, interdiction, extradition and where possible, joint action. On a political level, our governments need to prioritize investments and budgetary allocations in social and economic development programs, education, job creation, affordable housing, healthcare, and things like business ownership. Ladies and Gentlemen, there are some sobering facts which we need to take into consideration, contained in the OAS Report, relevant to what we are talking about today: Illicit Networks: Current research estimates that transnational organized crime is an $870 Billion a year global business. The international drug trade accounts for an estimated $320 Billion and is the largest single source of illicit income for these groups. Their supply chains can move drugs as easily as they can move firearms, people, counterfeit goods, stolen car parts whatever illegal goods are in demand. Their reach is global and their enterprises are varied. 4

5 They have diversified their activities to include money laundering, intellectual property theft, contraband, cybercrime, the control and exploitation of prostitution, robbery and the sale of stolen goods, illegal mining, kidnapping, extortion, and the victimization of migrants. Organized crime is flourishing in ungoverned spaces and under-served communities. Sometimes those spaces are in the deep jungles; sometimes they are in the inner cities. These spaces can be the unpatrolled areas of the Caribbean or in cyberspace. In their global operations they command air, land and sea forces. To protect and expand lucrative criminal endeavours, criminals are continuing to commit acts of extreme violence with disturbing frequency. In the Americas, 25% of homicides are related to organized crime and the activities of criminal gangs, while in Asia and Europe that figure is just 5%. As we looked closer at the trends, we also saw different levels of criminal violence in our countries. The data shows that countries which suffer the highest levels of violence related to transnational organized crime are those normally viewed as producing countries and transshipment countries not the end-market countries. This, even though the lion s share of the profits from illicit drug trade are made in the end-market countries. The existence of different levels of criminal violence in our countries is of course related to differences in our ability to guarantee protection for citizens and to ensure that laws are actually enforced. Now, is this ability a function of the relative wealth of the state? Possibly. But then how would we explain the situation of Nicaragua? 5

6 Which, despite being considered the second poorest country in the Hemisphere, has a much lower homicide rate and lower rates of crime in general than its neighbours to the north (Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala). Clearly, other factors are at play other reasons for the differing levels of violence. Aside from the bloodshed due to bullets, knives and needles, the huge volumes of cash generated by these illicit activities trigger serious additional problems in the region, especially in the producing and transit countries. This vast illicit wealth feeds two forms of corruption. One is the corruption of individuals public or private employees who end up as facilitators or operators at some point in this economic process. The other is the corruption of institutions, governmental or private sector, such as financial institutions, which become increasingly entangled in money laundering activities, thereby establishing dangerous linkages between legal and illegal spheres and generate grey areas in which apparently legal players take part in clearly illegal actions. The evidence shows that the illicit drug problem has led, chiefly at the production and transit stages, to the corruption of government officials at various levels. In turn, it heightens bribery, collusion, and more illegal activity. As the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) pointed out in its Report on Citizen Security and Human Rights, in some countries, corruption and impunity have enabled criminal organizations to develop and establish parallel power structures. 6

7 Research suggests that the illegal drug economy and organized crime cannot survive without corruption. This in turn, is why organizers of the trade go to great lengths to exploit and perpetuate state weakness and corruption so that their businesses can thrive in an environment where there is no certainty that the laws will be enforced. They also use their wealth to corrode the social fabric of our communities, undermining many of the positive foundational values shared by our societies. What we are doing to help: The OAS is actively engaged in the hemispheric response to Transnational Organized Crimes. Our Member States have accepted that a multidimensional response is required to address crime, violence and insecurity. They have also acknowledged that collaborative and coordinated efforts are required to address the multiple problems caused by this scourge. Our work in the region has produced positive tangible results. We have helped countries set up financial intelligence units to prevent money laundering; we have worked to implement computer emergency response teams to tackle cyber threats; strengthen detection techniques to identify suspicious cargo; worked with countries to identify and expose cases of human trafficking and adopt better techniques to manage risks at airports and sea ports. We have also worked with countries to mark and manage firearms, reduce the demand and supply of illicit substances and support to victims of crime and violence; established Drug Treatment Courts as an alternative to 7

8 incarceration for certain types of drug offenders; and established observatories on crime and on drugs to improve the ability of our member states to make evidence-based policy decisions. We have also been a lead player in the gang truce in El Salvador, leading programs to promote alternatives for at-risk youth and former gang members trying to reintegrate back into society. We have also worked to support Inter-American Legal cooperation on criminal matters and continue our work with Member States to consolidate the Inter-American Social Protection Network, which is a platform for coordinating hemispheric social protection efforts to eradicate poverty, social exclusion and inequality; Ladies and Gentlemen, our strategy is this: We are convinced that the solution to the problem of insecurity is not necessarily more security; more police, troops, prisons or penalties. We know that we are not going to arrest our way out of the problem. Rather, we need to refocus strategically on other options to keep children out of the gangs, provide wealth and generate opportunity. Our efforts are converging to what we are calling Networked Security looking at three core and interconnected themes; including concepts of shared sovereignty; inclusive multi-stakeholder states; and resilient communities, where citizens have a renewed consciousness of their rights and obligations. Success will require, first and foremost, trust. Trust is the great enabler and multiplier, impunity is the enemy. 8

9 I ll explain. Let s start with shared sovereignty. Historically, most countries used multilateral fora to try and protect their sovereignty. Globalization however, has advanced so quickly that we are in an era of shared borders. The lack of capacity in some countries has affected security in others. What we need is citizen centred or a people approach. We need to rebuild the confidence of citizens in law enforcement agencies and rule of law institutions through well articulated and well designed models. We have successfully developed global financial systems, global telecommunications networks, and global supply chains. It is clear that the response to transnational threats require the same approach - a multi-state response system which must devise comprehensive and multidimensional strategies and policies that reinforce collaboration, build confidence across jurisdictions. This leads to my next point about helping others create a modern multi-stakeholder approach to the building of robust, resilient, and responsive state institutions and long term public policy development. The (IADC) Inter American Democratic Charter is over a decade old. Almost all of our countries have democratically elected governments. What, in my view, is the next challenge is the strengthening of professional and inclusive state institutions which are capable of providing essential services and opportunities. Very seldom is the best way the easy way. Accomplishing tasks in the multi stakeholder connected societies in 9

10 which we live in today takes hard work, patience and consensus building. Mature democracies must now acknowledge this. Examples of this can be found in the fields of cyber security and money laundering. In both cases major parts of the infrastructure is in the hands of the private sector. Networked Communities and People: Our efforts to confront common crime and transnational organized crime in all its manifestations will continue to be insufficient if we do not address the underlying social conditions that allow these activities to take root. We must work to build up the social capital of our communities- which can be measured in levels of trust, teamwork and cohesiveness. Resilient societies are built from the bottom up, through grass-roots level community-based initiatives like cultural programs for underprivileged communities, vocational training programs, basic skills for a successful life programs for young and undereducated parents, and community-based policing programs to list a few. Resilient societies must simultaneously be supported from the highest levels of government. Leadership must address such issues as economic inequity, access to quality education, healthcare, good governance and public trust. Today, we essentially have a better connected and better educated population. The lives and behaviours of persons in public office are more public than ever and today, citizens are more outspoken and have higher expectations than in the past. As democracy has improved in the Hemisphere so too has the economy. The Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean 10

11 (ECLAC) says that we have been able to reduce poverty levels by over 40% over the last 10 years. Unfortunately we have not been as successful at reducing inequality by more than 4%. This remains the Achilles heel it is clear that without shared development there is no security and without security there is no shared development. If all of this seems unobtainable, I can assure you that there are models of success out there that we need to start duplicating in a much more rigorous manner. Let s take for example the story of Colombia years ago this country was as close to being considered a failed state as possible. Through strong leadership, good international cooperation and interstate coordination, Colombia has begun the long hard slog to rebuild itself. Today, Colombia has strong institutions, a robust democracy and civil society, and economic opportunities for its citizens. Colombia is becoming a regional player - potentially joining the OECD, promoting international security cooperation across the hemisphere and helping us at the OAS by document their police experience and ISO certification models. Of course, this transformation did not happen overnight. It involved a lot of assistance and policy coordination to reduce impunity and rebuild the confidence of its citizens. One such example was the OAS led Mission to support the Peace Process in Colombia, or MAPP-Colombia. Established in 1994, the mandate of this Mission was to contribute to peace-building in Colombia by working with different sectors of society; providing support to the initiatives of the government and civil society groups, and supporting local initiatives in the conflict areas. In Colombian communities, MAPP worked to re-build trust, 11

12 promote reconciliation, and strengthen democracy at the local level. The MAPP Mission employed these three strategies of; shared sovereignty, a multi-stakeholder approach; and stronger resilient societies to help in this rebuilding process. In using this 3-pronged approach, it succeeded in reinstating trust and confidence, I repeat - the real multiplier. In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, It is my view that no country acting in isolation is capable of fully combating the consequences of organized crime, including drug trafficking and consumption. Success in this endeavor calls for a coordinated, multilateral approach to the application of resources by and among states and regional and international organizations. National security is deeply linked to global security, and the growing prevalence and severity of these crimes cannot be left unchecked. All countries also stand to benefit from supporting neighbors who do not have the means to effectively counteract the threat posed by international organized crime and drug trafficking. It is therefore in the interest of ALL in the Americas to work together to limit or eliminate destabilizing forces that can threaten stability, peace, prosperity and security. 12

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