At least 17 people were killed this weekend in Guatemala in gun battles between rival Guatemalan and Mexican drug gangs. This is the latest piece of evidence that Mexican drug violence is spreading down to Central America, where governments lack the institutional strength to fight these powerful cartels. A few months ago the Guatemalan army even stated that there are parts of the country’s territory that are not under its control.
The influence of Mexican cartels extends all the way to Argentina where a suspected Paraguayan drug trafficker was recently arrested for possibly supplying ephedrine (key ingredient of methamphetamine) to Mexican drug lords.
The next U.S. administration should pay more attention to this dangerous situation. It’s time for Washington to consider the cost of this war on drugs on the region’s stability.