By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley) – While media outlets have focused on the increased number of children emigrating unsupervised from Central America and cartels using them as drug mules, a Cal State San Bernardino professor will take an in-depth look at the factors contributing to drug trafficking.
Robert Kirkland, a CSUSB adjunct professor of Latin American Studies and retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, will speak on Tuesday, June 9, from 6-8:15 p.m. at the University of California, Riverside’s Extension Conference Center, 1200 University Ave., in Riverside.
He will lead an interactive discussion on “How the War on Drugs and the Growth of Central American Gangs Have Dramatically Increased Violence on America’s Doorstep.”
The event, sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Inland Southern California, will begin with a coffee and dessert reception at 6 p.m. Admission for university students is free. General admission is $25 for World Affairs Council members and $35 for non-members. Pre-registration for the event is required and the last day to register is June 5 online at World Affairs Council of Inland Southern California.
According to event organizers, Central America, located between the world’s largest cocaine producers in South America, and the world’s largest market for the illegal substance in the U.S. and Mexico, has become the strategic route for illegal drugs. As drug trafficking slowed along other routes due to successful interdiction by the U.S. and Mexico, transport corridors have shifted to Central America, resulting in a dramatic rise in violence and civil disorder. Desperate to protect their families from the criminal terror, parents sent thousands of children to what they hoped would be safety in the U.S.
Among the questions to be addressed at the program are what is behind the spike in violence? Why have Central American governments struggled to stop the crime and bloodshed? What policies and actions are needed to deal with it? Is immigration policy the solution, the culprit or both?
Having served 26 years before retiring from active duty, Kirkland has written extensively on U.S.-Latin American civil-military relations, has appeared on the History Channel and been interviewed by numerous news outlets. He has held faculty appointments at the U.S. Military Academy, Claremont McKenna College, Columbia College of Missouri and the University of Southern California. Kirkland’s years of experience and research have given him an inside view of burgeoning crime-based violence in Central America.