Article written by guest writer Rin Mitchell

What´s the Latest Development?

How did local residents overcome the risks of taking on drug traffickers in their community? The answer is participation and cooperation. “Details of the events remain vague, but in the fog of interdiction, instead of firing upon a boat of suspected traffickers, the Honduran anti-narcotic agents mistakenly killed four civilians and injured four more.” Residents were outraged over the presence of both U.S. and Honduran police, “and also complained about the violence brought by drug traffickers,” that they took it upon themselves to burn down the homes of drug traffickers to get them out of their community. “From Colombia and Peru, where much cocaine production originates, drug violence has spread to affect communities in Brazil to the south and to the north as far as the Tohono O'odham nation, which spans the Arizona-Mexico border and has been caught between DEA, border-patrol agents and cartels. Even Indian reservations on trafficking routes along the U.S.-Canada border have not been left out.”

What´s the Big Idea?

Residents inflicted with drug traffic in their communities are fighting to take their communities back. “Indigenous lands generally are neglected by national governments and increasingly have been used as smuggling corridors throughout the Americas—even into North America and the highly “developed” United States.” Local residents have the right to exercise governance, “and government outsiders have constructed their own forms of local order and participatory decision making to manage their own affairs.” “Both governments and civil-society actors should study the promise that existing models of participatory community governance (both indigenous and nonindigenous) hold for managing security.”