ties between Latin American drug
traffickers and terrorist networks in
In West Africa, the rise of the drug
trade has increased fears that weak
states could become criminalized
13 In Guinea-Bissau the
assassination of the military chief of
staff, General Batista Tagme Na Wai,
and the murder of the country’s president, João Bernardo Vieira, in 2009
were linked to a trafficking dispute.
The growing drug trade has also been
blamed for increasing political instability and violence elsewhere in
the region, including, in 2008, riots
in Cote d’Ivoire, an attempted coup
in Guinea-Bissau and an actual coup
in Guinea. The number of West African organized crime groups involved
in drug smuggling is growing; some
even have their own armies and
caches of weapons.
Senegalese police discover an underground cache of drugs in 2007 at a villa in
Nianing, a resort town southwest of the capital, Dakar.
Protect the Border
These threats of violence and terrorism have not been completely ignored
by domestic authorities. Brazil and
West African countries have taken
both unilateral and regional action
to improve border security and the
capacity to detect and interdict illicit activities.
A recent arms trafficking report not-ing that Brazil’s border control is “far
from satisfactory” has prodded the
government to pursue new initiatives
such as doubling troops along the entire Brazilian border.
15 But whether
those efforts will be enough to diminish the drug trade and threats of
terrorist activity remains to be seen.
In June 2011, President Dilma Rousseff announced a new Strategic Border Plan, aimed at strengthening
cooperation on border control with
neighboring countries to fight organized crime. One provision gives the
Brazilian Army the power to carry out
police actions. Brazil also intends to
send 7,000 soldiers and 30 warplanes
to patrol areas along its border with
Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.
Authorities identified 34 places
along the Brazilian border in which
organized criminal gangs operate. Jus-
tice Minister José Eduardo Cardozo
said border control in these places
will be reinforced in concert with
the Federal Police, the Federal High-
way Police and the Armed Forces.
Corruption and Limited
Resources on the
But such efforts are complicated by
West Africa’s own governance problems. The lack of domestic security
architecture, along with insufficient
equipment, corruption and poor