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Event Summary

On Tuesday, AEI hosted a discussion on the impact of rampant organized crime in Mexico and Central America, fueled by US demand for illegal drugs. In his keynote address, Representative Matt Salmon (R-AZ), chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, argued that the United States has been AWOL in Latin America for far too long; we should be much more engaged in this hemisphere than anywhere else, as it is right on our doorstep.

Richard J. Douglas argued that the United States is not seen as a reliable partner in the Western Hemisphere and must become one in order to build better relationships with Latin American countries. Iñigo Guevara added that Mexico, Colombia, and the United States need to work together to combat drug trafficking, and the Central American Armed Forces Conference is the best institution to initiate this triangular collaboration.

Jerry Brewer Sr. wrapped up the event by noting that the police force in Mexico must be trained by the United States on tradecraft and surveillance; battling espionage-like tradecraft by the drug cartels is far beyond the current capabilities of the normal police force.
–Alex Della Rocchetta

Event Description

Mexico and Central America are struggling with rampant organized crime, fueled by US demand for illegal drugs. Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, focused on economic reforms for his first year in office and only now has begun to tackle violence in the country. Central American nations are too weak or, in the case of El Salvador’s new government, too complicit in criminality to confront the powerful, multibillion-dollar criminal enterprises that collaborate with Colombian cocaine smugglers, a Venezuelan narcostate, illegal arms smugglers, and Hezbollah to threaten the security and well-being of the Americas.

Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, will assess the threat to US interests and recommend policy options, and a panel of experts will discuss.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.


11:45 AM

12:00 PM
Matt Salmon, US House of Representatives (R-AZ)

Jerry Brewer Sr., Criminal Justice International Associates LLC
Richard J. Douglas, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counternarcotics, Counterproliferation, and Global Threats
Iñigo Guevara, Former Director of Analysis to the Office of the National Security Council, Mexico

Roger F. Noriega, AEI

1:30 PM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Alex Della Rocchetta at [email protected], 202.862.7152.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829.

Speaker Biographies

Jerry Brewer Sr. has more than 30 years of experience in criminal justice and has served as chief of police in three different localities. Previously, Brewer was an officer within the US intelligence community, operating in Latin America and the Middle East. He is currently the CEO of Criminal Justice International Associates LLC, a global threat mitigation firm.

Richard J. Douglas formerly served as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for counternarcotics, overseeing the US Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) counternarcotics and counterproliferation policy efforts, including development of DoD counternarcotics activities and the Cooperative Threat Reduction program. Douglas worked for Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) from 2000 to 2005 as general counsel for the Select Committee on Intelligence and as chief counsel for Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) on the Committee on Foreign Relations.  Before Senate employment, Douglas worked as a US Department of Justice criminal division lawyer, managing extradition and judicial assistance with Spain and Mexico. He also served for eight years as a commissioned US Foreign Service officer with postings in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico; Bilbao and Madrid, Spain; and the US Permanent Mission to the Organization of American States.

Inigo Guevara is a Mexican writer and analyst specializing in Latin American defense and security issues. He is a former adviser to Mexico’s Office of the National Security Council and a former head of statistical analysis at a state-level law enforcement agency in Mexico. Guevara is a member of the Collective for the Analysis of Security for Democracy, International Institute for Strategic Studies, and Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, where he contributes to the Military Expenditure and Arms Transfer projects. He is the author of “Latin American Fighters: A History of Fighter Jets in Service with Latin American Air Arms” (HARPIA, 2009) and has published more than 50 articles in academic journals and specialized magazines.

Roger F. Noriega is a visiting fellow at AEI and the founder and managing director of Visión Américas LLC, which advises US and foreign clients on international business issues. He served as the assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs (Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean) from July 2003 to October 2005 and as the US ambassador to the Organization of American States from August 2001 to July 2003. Noriega is currently vice chairman of the board of directors of the Congressional Award Foundation and a member of the advisory boards of the Canadian American Border Trade Partnership and the Americano, an online forum for Latino voters.

Matt Salmon was reelected to the US Congress on November 6, 2012, to represent Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District. Salmon serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and as chairman of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. He also serves on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. In 1990, Salmon was elected to the Arizona State Senate, where he served from 1991 to 1995. During this time, he was assistant majority leader and chairman of the Committee on Rules. In 1994, Salmon was first elected to the US House of Representatives, where he served three terms. Alongside his position on the International Relations Committee, Salmon led multiple US delegations to China, one of which secured the release of political prisoner Song Yongyi. During his service, he was named a “Watchdog of the Treasury” for six consecutive years and earned the Taxpayer Hero award from Citizens against Government Waste.

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