Drug issues, and CIA involvement in them, have often been raised about the Americas, as well as in other areas such as Southeast Asia. The consensus of several sources is that once proprietary airlines and other support had been set up for covert supply of irregular troops, even though drug transport may not have been approved, it was almost impossible to prevent using those same support resources. The regional concerns will be brought together in CIA transnational anti-crime and anti-drug activities.
During World War II, the Federal Bureau of Investigation had been the primary US intelligence agency for Latin America, with some involvement with the Office of Strategic Services, the predecessor of CIA. After the war, the CIA developed strong operations in Latin America.
Porter Goss, in his early 2005 summary to the Select Intelligence Committee, mentioned there will be numerous elections in 2006, in Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, and Venezuela. He suggested that Colombia, Cuba, Haiti, Mexico and Venezuela present particular concerns in this election.
See Radio Swan for a Caribbean radio station generally associated with the US and Honduras, and, during the Bay of Pigs Invasion, apparently to assist with covert communications. After the invasion failed, however, it changed to a generally anti-Castro, but not inciting to revolution, station until 1968.
In 1962, a Special National Intelligence Estimate addressed "The threat to US security interests in the Caribbean area. Potential threats were seen as "Threats to US interests could arise from a variety of sources: the vulnerability of the area to attack from outside the hemisphere; the establishment of a military presence within the area by hostile powers; attempts by the Communist powers, with the help of the present Cuban Government, to spread Communist revolution to other parts of the area by military action or subversion; the growth of indigenous radical nationalism; and instability rising from attempts by governments in the area to interfere in the affairs of their neighbors or to impose their will upon them." It foreshadowed the potential of the Cuban Missile Crisis with the general assessment "the USSR can and probably will augment its naval, air, and communications capabilities in the area by the development of arrangements or facilities not openly identifiable as Soviet military bases. For example, the improvement of Cuban naval and air installations would provide facilities suitable for Soviet use, and special installations and arrangements could be set up for intelligence collection or subversive purposes."
The landmark Filártiga v. Peña-Irala ruling of 1980 "made history by awarding the first criminal damages against a torturer (a Paraguayan police agent) found to be in the United States. The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit established that, under the 1789 Aliens Tort Claims Act, U.S. courts have jurisdiction over claims for torture brought by aliens against torturers found to be in the United States." This decision opened up a new avenue for appeals of actions that took place outside the US.
In 1992, Congress codified these legal advances in the Torture Victims Protection Act, which holds liable for damages any "individual who, under actual or apparent authority, or color of law, of any foreign nation... subjects an individual to torture." During the decade between these important events, U.S. jurisprudence was largely shaped by Argentine cases.
- Goss, Porter (16 February 2005), Global Intelligence Challenges 2005, http://www.acronym.org.uk/docs/0503/doc09.htm
- "The threat to US security interests in the Caribbean area", Foreign Relations of the United States 1961-1963, Volume X Cuba, 1961-1962, 17 January 1962, Special National Intelligence Estimate 80-62, http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/cuba/8062.htm
- Dolly M. E. Filartiga and Joel Filartiga, v. Americo Norberto Pena-Irala, 630 F.2d 876 (United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit 30 June 198-).
- "XI. THE ROLE OF THE UNITED STATES", Argentina: Reluctant Partner. The Argentine Government's Failure to Back Trials of Human Rights Violators, Human Rights Watch, December 2001, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2001/argentina/argen1201-11.htm