LATAM Snapshot: What’s going on in the region?
A quick view at noteworthy incidents in the region’s more important economies and preferred destinations:
The use of an app for money transfers, Pix, has been noted as the factor to help increase express kidnappings in Sao Paulo. Several cases, many of them involving violence, have now been reported by the local police force. Criminal groups involved in other types of actions are migrating to express kidnapping due to the speed and ease this method provides.
The city of Tulum, one of the countries top tourist destinations has been the scene of over 80 murders during 2021. This represents an increase of over 200 % when compared to 2020. Electronic music festivals and rave parties have attracted drug dealers and the fight between the cartels is said to be the reason for the increase. Innocent bystanders have fallen in the crossfire and this has led the authorities to deploy the military in the zone.
Violence and street crime are thriving in Bogotá and Medellín, two of Colombia’s main cities and business hubs. Lack of strong security policies from the local governments added to the economic crisis caused by COVID-19 have spiked the rates of street robberies. In Colombia, 90 % of the perpetrators of Street crime that are captured, are released shortly after, due to faulty arrest procedures and lack of strong legislation against petty crime.
Disputes between local gangs are bringing concern to authorities in Panama City. The recent shooting of five gang members at a discotheque was found to be retaliation from a drug cartel for a stolen cocaine shipment. This country has become a strategic location as a pathway in the route of cocaine shipments going from South America to the United States; thus bringing criminal actors into play.
With the reactivation of the economies in Latin America after the COVID 19 crisis, the problems that have affected the región for several years have become notorious once again. Most of the crime and violence is related to drug trafficking.
People planning to visit this área of the world for business or tourism must be aware that the situation in most of the countries is delicate and it demands that additional measures be taken to ensure personal security.
The use of secure transportation from local providers, being informed through news outlets and keeping a low profile while on the ground are strongly suggested by experts in the security industry.