US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned of a growing threat from the activities of drug cartels, saying that in some cases in Mexico and Central America they are turning into insurgencies.
"It's looking more and more like Colombia looked 20 years ago, when the narco-traffickers controlled certain parts of the country," she said, speaking at a think-tank in Washington.
The comments were made following a speech in which she declared "a new American moment" in global politics, the BBC reports.
Mrs Clinton says that while Mexico is working to use its law enforcement capacity to fight the cartels, its smaller neighbours do not have the same capability.
"We need a much more vigorous US presence," she says, adding that the model of American leadership "offers our best hope in a dangerous world".