Security & Drug Policy

Latin America’s citizens persistently cite rising levels of violence as their main concern. Undoubtedly, developments linked to heightened insecurity and often tied to the drug trade undermine democratic processes and stunt economic growth. The Inter-American Dialogue’s work on security examines criminal trends throughout Latin America and promotes exchange between US and regional analysts, policymakers, journalists, and business leaders on how to address this growing challenge. Since 2008, the Dialogue has also worked to supply Latin American governments and nongovernmental organizations with independent analysis on current drug control policies as well as non-traditional or alternative strategies.


Analysis See all

Ivan Duque speaking during Inter-American Dialogue event Video

A Conversation with Iván Duque Márquez

On November 19, the Inter-American Dialogue hosted “A Conversation with Iván Duque Márquez,” welcoming back Colombian President Iván Duque for a wide-ranging discussion on his administration’s priorities and the future of the US-Colombia relationship amidst an incoming US administration.

Event Card - Dudley, Wolf, Zúñiga Video

Anatomy of MS-13: Policy Implications for El Salvador and the US

On October 27, 2020, the Inter-American Dialogue hosted “Anatomy of MS-13 – Policy Implications for El Salvador and the US” using the groundbreaking publication by Steven Dudley, MS-13: The Making of America’s Most Notorious Gang, as a basis for discussion. The event featured remarks by Dudley and commentary by Sonja Wolf, and Ricardo Zúñiga. Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue moderated the conversation. 

Moderator: Michael Camilleri, Opening Remarks: Renata Segura, Speakers (Right to Left): Elizabeth Dickenson, Juan Fernando Cristo, Paul Angelo, and Adriana Mejía Hernández. Image of Colombian protestors walking on a street. Video

Waiting for Peace: Violence Against Social Leaders in Colombia

On October 21, 2020, the Dialogue along with the International Crisis Group (ICG) hosted “Waiting for Peace: Violence Against Social Leaders in Colombia”. Panelists debated the findings of the ICG’s new report “Leaders Under Fire: Defending Colombia’s Front Line of Peace” and engaged in a discussion on the current rise in violence against social leaders and the implementation of the 2016 peace agreement.


Press Mentions See all

[It is] highly unlikely that Salvador Cienfuegos will see the inside of a Mexican courtroom, much less a Mexican jail. Levels of impunity in Mexico are extremely high and AMLO cares about maintaining and nurturing his relationship with the army.  
[It is likely that Andrés Manuel López Obrador came under] a lot of pressure from the military in Mexico to bring Cienfuegos back and not have him prosecuted in the United States.