Latin America’s Growing Security Gap

Issue Date January 2011
Volume 22
Issue 1
Page Numbers 39-53
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Balancing freedom and security is a challenge for any democracy, yet in Latin America, governments are once again addressing this issue as the region becomes increasingly violent. A legacy of authoritarianism has led Latin American reformers to advocate limits on their security forces, directing their militaries towards external threats and democratizing their police to focus on community issues. However, violent actors have become more capable and organized, overwhelming the capabilities of police. Rather than calling the military back on to the streets, as some states have done, the best solution may be found in hybrid security forces that combine a democratic law enforcement orientation with the capability to contain emerging intermediate level threats.