The cities with the highest homicide rates are once again nearly all in Latin America. I have visited them all over the years,

Cocaine is grown primarily in South America, and trafficked to the world’s biggest market, the United States, via Central America and the Caribbean. The land routes originate mainly in Colombia, and pass through the small nations of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala before traversing Mexico. It is little wonder, then, that Latin America remains the world′s most violent region not at war. According to data from the Igarapé Institute, a Brazilian think-tank, 43 of the 50 most murderous cities in the world last year, and eight of the top ten countries, are in Latin America and the Caribbean. (War zones, where numbers are hard to verify, are excluded.) Conflicts between gangs, corruption and weak public institutions all contribute to the high levels of violence across the region.

The top of the rankings has not changed. In both 2015 and 2016, El Salvador was the world′s most violent country, and its capital, San Salvador, was the most murderous city. However, the most recent numbers do represent a slight improvement: the national rate fell from 103 killings per 100,000 people in 2015 to 91 last year, and San Salvador′s from 190 to 137. Most analysts credit a clampdown by government security forces for this reduction, though tough-on-crime policies do little to address the underlying causes of gang violence. A similar downward trend is evident in neighbouring Honduras: San Pedro Sula, which for years wore the unwelcome crown as the world′s most murderous city, now ranks third.

However, spikes in violence in neighbouring countries suggest that anti-gang policies are merely redistributing murders geographically rather than preventing them. Acapulco, a beach resort on Mexico′s Pacific coast, recorded 108 homicides per 100,000 people last year, placing it second behind San Salvador. That reflects the nationwide trend: Mexico′s overall rate rose from 14.1 killings per 100,000 people to 17. That figure nearly equals the previous violent peak of Mexico′s drug wars, in 2011. As a result, six Mexican cities rank among the top 50, three more than did so a year earlier. And there is no evidence of a reversal in 2017. The number of murders in Mexico during the first two months of 2017 is the highest for January and February since records began.

The middle of the list is dominated by Brazil: the world′s second-biggest cocaine consumer is home to half of all cities in the ranking. That mostly reflects its large population. During the past year, violence has reshuffled from place to place within Brazil: the murder rate has fallen in the largest cities, but increased in smaller ones. In Maraba and Viamão, homicides rose by 20% in a year, whereas in São Paulo, Brazil’s most populous city, murders fell by 55% from 2014 to 2015. Unlike in Mexico and Central America, there is evidence of a slight overall improvement: the national homicide rate fell from 29 per 100,000 in 2014 to 27 in 2015, the latest year for which data are available. Nonetheless, by sheer virtue of its size, Brazil reigns as the world′s overall murder capital: 56,212 people were killed there in 2015.

Only two countries outside Latin America contain cities in the top 50: the United States and South Africa. In America, the only rich country on this list, a spike in homicides has propelled two more cities, Detroit and New Orleans, to join St Louis and Baltimore, which also figured on last year′s list. Each has a rate that is around ten times the national average of 4.9 homicides per 100,000 people. South Africa is the only country outside the Americas on this ranking. Two new cities, Nelson Mandela Bay and Buffalo City, have been added to the list, mainly because data collection is improving in the country. The homicide rate in South Africa did climb 5% last year, though other violent crime dropped.

Source: The Economist

A wall is a wall is a wall. CNN says that drug cartels believe President Trump’s Mexico wall will increase their profits and strengthen criminal networks.

The tricks of the multibillion drug business include using drones, submarines, ultralight planes and even frozen sharks to transport product across the US-Mexico border. Just consider that in 2016, US Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations agents attempted to seize a submarine in the Pacific Ocean with nearly 194 million USD worth of cocaine.

And yet President Trump argues that his proposed border wall, a throwback to a bygone era, will “stop much of the drugs from pouring into this country and poisoning our youth.”

As he said last July, he is worried that smugglers will throw “large sacks of drugs” over the wall and hit US citizens on the head — a preoccupation that led to his request for a transparent border wall.

Should he get funding from Congress to build such a wall, Trump will be faced by an even bigger problem — the geographical reality of the border itself. Any wall will have to navigate floodplains, international treaties and the rights of landowners who refuse to sell their land. Simply put, Trump does not understand the dynamics of the US-Mexico border.

But more importantly, the wall will be a gift to the drug cartels. In interviews with a New York Times contributing writer, drug dealers and human traffickers have preemptively thanked Trump for his border wall. Smugglers see the wall as a quaint distraction, because it has little practical application in a world where they harness the latest technology to move drugs and people into the US. If anything, they believe the wall will increase their profits, strengthening criminal networks.

And they might not be far off. According to a2015 report by the US Drug Enforcement Administration, 95% of drugs coming into the US were entering via container ships and other vessels.

In addition to drones and submarines, drug dealers and human traffickers rely on the trucking industry to move drugs and people via the 52 legal crossing pointsalong the US border. In July, eight dead migrants were discovered inside a tractor-trailer parked in a Walmart parking lot in San Antonio, Texas, while two more died at the hospital and dozens were injured.

None of this would be stopped by a wall.

And the truth is: US citizens provide a constant demand for drugs from Latin America. According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 27.1 million people aged 12 or older had used drugs within the past 30 days — the equivalent of 1 in 10 Americans in that age group.

Americans also rely on the labor of undocumented migrants who often cross the US-Mexico border. A 2017 Pew report shows that more than 11 undocumented immigrants live in the US. And they comprise roughly 5% of the US workforce.

But even undocumented migrants don’t fear Trump’s wall. While interviewing migrants from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador during the past year for a project at Longreads, I’ve found that they see the wall more as a symbol of racism than a functional barrier. Many of them laugh at the wall, mentioning the unparalleled tunnel architecture of Mexican smugglers.

This architecture even extends tounderwater tunnels manned by scuba diving smugglers. These same migrants, ironically, are also fleeing unprecedented violence, much of which is caused by the US demand for drugs.

The drugs are pouring in at levels like nobody has ever seen. We’ll be able to stop them once the wall is up.” As a businessman, Trump should understand that the laws of supply and demand apply equally to selling Ivanka’s clothing line as they do to the drug trade. As long as demand exists in the US, suppliers, whether in Mexico or Afghanistan, will find creative ways to meet that demand.

And until Trump addresses the illegal drug epidemic as a public health issue rather than criminalizing it, the demand for drugs from Central America will only continue to grow.

In Trump’s reality, narcos smuggle drugs in sacks, and only a transparent multi-billion dollar wall will stop them.

The truth is, the wall is just a symbol. It is a physical monument to the idea of returning to a more homogenous white past — a past that ignores the contributions of undocumented migrants and the fact that they have raised our children and fed our families.

Narcos, who are consummate businessmen, will thank Trump for this distraction of a border wall while flying the drones and building the submarines that will fuel our drug-filled dreams.

Source: CNN

Corruption is a global problem that requires global solutions.

Once at a meeting I heard Kofi Annan, at the time Secretary General of the United Nations, say his famous words ‘corruption is the enemy of the poor’. These are very true words. Corruption doesn’t hurt the wealthy or powerful as much as it destroys the world for the poor.

In the Customs world and by the Borders, there has always been corruption. Where money is exchanged – corruption exists.

World Customs Organization (WCO) has a massive programme with capcity building activities on how to fight corruption and promote integrity in Customs, trade and at our borders. I lead the WCO Integrity work from 2006-2010 and I learned a lot about anti-corruption during those years.

Also G20 has an anti-corruption group and United Nations has huge programmes on how to combat the desease of corruption that undermines sustainable development.

Nlw there id an UN call on all to stand #UnitedAgainstCorruption! We need to support this initiative since this is how we build sustainable solutions for the developing and developed world.

The UNODC Integrity and anti-corruption charter with activities to fight corruption.

Corruption undermines the development of a sound economy and it creates non-tariff barriers that slow down trade development.we know today that development of trade is one of the best ways to develop our societies.

We need to work together to fight corruption, anyway we can.