Ameripol, a cooperative security organization similar to Europol and Interpol, has been granted legal status to improve the fight against crime in Latin America and the Caribbean. The move, hailed as a significant step by Brazil's Justice Minister Flávio Dino, promises to increase regional investigative agility and international police capabilities.
Photo: 09/11/2023.- The Minister of Justice of Brazil, Flávio Dino (c); the national director of the Argentine Gendarmerie and president of Ameripol, commander general Andrés Severino (3d), and the president of Interpol, Ahmed Naser Al-Raisi (2i), among other authorities, preside over the formalization ceremony of Ameripol, at the Palace of Justice in Brasilia (Brazil). EFE/ Andre Borges
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Leer en español: Ameripol, la Nueva Herramienta de América Latina y el Caribe Contra el Crimen Organizado
A New Momentum in the Fight Against Regional Crime
Ameripol, an organization similar to Europol or Interpol made up of Latin American and Caribbean countries, has as of this Thursday the legal personality and mandates necessary to strengthen the fight against crime at the regional level.
The Minister of Justice of Brazil, Flávio Dino, host of the event, highlighted the "great step" taken in the face of the regional threat posed by organized crime with the formalization of the Police Community of America (Ameripol) as a new platform of police cooperation.
More Agility and Cooperation in Regional Investigations
"Interpol, Europol, and Asiapol already exist" and "we had not yet been able to formalize this instance in the Americas," he declared.
According to the Brazilian minister, Ameripol's new legal personality will give "more agility to regional investigations," covering "from environmental crimes to arms, drug and human trafficking or vehicle theft in border areas."
Likewise, he maintained that it will allow greater "digital cooperation in civil and criminal legal matters", and joint work against "cyber crimes" and "the distortion" represented by "the use of the Internet for criminal practices."
According to the founding treaty, Ameripol will "promote and strengthen the cooperation" to "improve police powers" in the face of "challenges to public and citizen security", with the objective of "consolidating the police doctrine and philosophy for the prevention and neutralization of crime"
A regional effort that lasted 16 years
The Police Community of America was born in 2007, during a meeting of security organizations held in Bogotá, the city where its permanent headquarters operates.
The process was consolidated in another meeting held in the Dominican Republic in 2012, where the statutes of this organization were approved, which only needed the constitutive treaty signed this Thursday to acquire full legal personality.
Currently, Ameripol comprises 33 police forces from 27 Latin American countries.
Its members are Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Uruguay and Trinidad and Tobago.
It also has 31 observers, mostly European organizations including the Civil Guard and the National Police Corps of Spain, as well as Interpol and Europol, who collaborated in the process that led to the constitutive treaty.
A region with 28% of the murders in the world
Latin America and the Caribbean, which comprise close to 10% of the global population, recorded 28% of the murders that occurred in the world in 2022 and the rates have risen constantly since 2012, according to a study on citizen insecurity by the Brazilian institute Igarapé, specialized in public policy analysis.
The investigation, supported by data from international organizations, indicates that 41% of the victims were between 17 and 30 years old and that 71% of the murders were committed with firearms.
It also cites regional surveys, according to which only 49% of Latin America and the Caribbean population say they feel safe in their cities, compared to a world average of 61%.
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These high rates of violence are attributed especially to the expansion of transnational crime organizations, which in recent decades have strengthened in the region and are responsible, among other crimes, for drug, weapons, and human trafficking.
Among the main gangs that have internationalized their operations are the Brazilian First Capital Command (PCC), the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel, and the Colombian Gulf Clan, which have spread their tentacles throughout the region and have links with powerful European mafias, like the Italian Ndrangheta.