Monday, November 7, 2011

Could "domino theory" apply to Central America?

By Edward V. Byrne The Yucatan Times
October 18, 2011

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The domino theory was popular in the 1950s and 1960s when many in the West, especially in the Untied States, feared a worldwide communist takeover. The theory held that if one nation fell, its neighbors would soon follow. The phrase was coined when then president Dwight Eisenhower, referring to Asia, told an April 1954 press conference:

"Finally, you have broader considerations that might follow what you would call the 'falling domino' principle. You have a row of dominoes set up, you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly. So you could have a beginning of a disintegration that would have the most profound influences."

Could such a thing happen in Central America -- with the threat this time being drug traffickers instead of communists? Some say it's a very real possibility.

A meeting of Latin American foreign ministers convened today in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, capital of the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, to focus on the issue. Mexico’s Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa Cantellano said that organized crime presents the single greatest threat to governments in the region today. Drug traffickers and others seek to destabilize the area, and "to destroy democracy itself," she argued.

Espinosa Cantellano said that in the face of this threat, countries must work together to preserve their mutually dependent security. She urged her counterparts from several nations to “reject absolutely” any and all destabilizing forces, and to aggressively confront transnational organized crime.

The countries participating in the conference are Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Belice, Panamá, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and México.

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