Much has been made about the claim issued in November by the U.S. Joint Forces Command that Mexico, along with Pakistan, is at risk of becoming a failed state.
Yet in a ranking of the Western Hemisphere's most at-risk countries, where criminal networks threaten to overwhelm the authority of the state, Mexico might not even make the top 10. Central America and parts of South America are in far worse shape.
Take Guatemala. With a murder rate of 47 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2008, it has become one of the most dangerous and lawless countries in the region. This was highlighted by the May 10 murder of attorney Rodrigo Rosenberg, who alleged in a videotape released after his death that state corruption extends all the way to the president's office.
Is there anything that can be done to reverse this slide into full-blown chaos? A group of civic activists thinks there is, and you may be surprised to hear their project doesn't involve asking for foreign aid. Rather, a key component of the ProReforma project would seem to be aimed at keeping U.S. "advisers" at the State Department and like-minded international do-gooders at bay.
ProReforma is a made-in-Guatemala solution to what it calls the country's "chronic crisis." The project seeks to amend the constitution so that individual rights trump "interests," be they general or special. Says ProReforma President Manuel Ayau: "A system based on equal rights for every individual will bring about a state of affairs where people can pursue their own happiness in a peaceful environment."