Security and Interior Ministers of all Mercosur countries convened this week in Uruguay's capital to discuss the current situation in the region and pledged to improve criminal information systems among member nations, according to a document signed Wednesday.
The so-called Montevideo Declaration was issued during the XLVIII meeting of Ministers of the Interior and Security of Mercosur. The statement provides for the creation of new tools and the improvement of the existing ones to fight transnational crime.
Argentina's Security Minister Aníbal Fernández highlighted the importance of Mercosur countries strengthening their cooperation mechanisms to share reliable information, in a secure manner, and in a way that respects the legal and human rights standards applicable to the matter.
In Fernández's view, peace and security in Latin America can only be achieved if countries work closely, in a coordinated manner and, above all, generating the bonds of trust necessary for making decisions that lead to effective results.
The Mercosur ministers also praised Paraguay's efforts fighting guerrillas which resulted in the death of Paraguayan People's Army (EPP) leader Osvaldo Villalba earlier this week.
Uruguay's Interior Minister Luis Alberto Heber also explained that the two main declarations signed in Montevideo sought to improve police coordination in the fight against terrorism and to provide specific support to Paraguay.
The meeting was attended by Paraguay's Interior Minister Federico González; Brazil's Deputy Security Minister Carlos Renato Machado Paim, and police chiefs from Mercosur's associated nations.
Heber also pointed out that the signing ministers were aware of the link between terrorist activities and criminal organizations.
González thanked the attendees for their support in Paraguay's fight against transnational organized crime and highlighted recent achievements both in his country and in the region.
The EPP is influenced by liberation theology and is a spinoff from the anti-imperialist Marxist Patria Libre party founded in 1990.
The EPP is believed to be behind some 80 murders of civilians, police, and military personnel since the group began operating in 2008. Villalba was gunned down alongside two of his accomplices during a gunfight with law enforcement officers Sunday.