Political and socio-economic developments in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) have an effect far beyond the region’s borders. The American Security Project produces expert analysis on how the United States’ southern neighbors impact American national security and hemispheric stability.
Latin American Security is Vital to U.S. National Security and Hemispheric Stability
Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) face a number of critical security challenges. Democratic backsliding has accelerated across the region, weakening political systems already weighed down by corruption, impunity, and inequality. Economic insecurity and poor governance have bred poverty and violent crime, which have in turn spurred massive migration flows. In recent years, the LAC region has also been forced to confront the national security implications of climate change and extreme natural disaster events.
Trends in the LAC region impact U.S. national security. Natural disasters, corruption, violence, and economic downturn in Central America have spurred unprecedented surges of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. Transnational criminal organizations continue to undermine security throughout the region, facilitating illicit enterprise both in LAC and the United States. In recent years, U.S. strategic adversaries Russia and China have looked to the LAC region as an arena for influence-peddling, economic investment, and information warfare. These security challenges have only grown more acute in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which disproportionately impacted the LAC region and whose effects will be felt across the hemisphere for decades.
The U.S. Southern Command’s 2021 Posture Statement to Congress, President Biden’s Interim National Security Strategic Guidance, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s 2021 Annual Threat Assessment recognize the need for the U.S. to actively address these challenges and threats. Latin America and the Caribbean are at a critical juncture, and U.S. engagement with its southern neighbors is more important than ever.