Adam Isacson

Still trying to understand Latin America, my own country, and why so few consequences are intended. These views are not necessarily my employer’s.

Archives

Categories

Get a weekly update in your email




Some articles I found interesting this morning

Photo from Semana (Colombia). Caption: “La fumigación aérea con glifosato se encuentra prohibida en Colombia desde 2015 por la Corte Constitucional.”

(Even more here)

August 14, 2020

Western Hemisphere Regional

The president took office with immigration enforcement plans that placed DHS at the forefront of his domestic agenda. In the three and a half years since, the White House has run the department as an instrument of policy and politics

Bolivia

El viceministro de Régimen Interior y Policía, Javier Issa, alertó que en el Chapare cochabambino se gesta una “narcoguerrilla”, luego de identificar a algunas personas que exhibieron armas de fuego en los puntos de bloqueo

Politically unstable when the pandemic hit, Bolivia is descending into chaos

Brazil

Not only is this the first senior space flag officer event between the U.S. and Brazil, but it is the first such event for the U.S. Space Force

Colombia

Hay acusaciones a 439 actores económicos acusados de haber financiado o colaborado con grupos armados al margen de la ley en el conflicto colombiano, pero las condenas son casi nulas

Los últimos enfrentamientos entre campesinos y miembros del Ejército, ocurridos en la vereda Nueva Colombia, ilustran las ya constantes agresiones por la que atraviesan las comunidades de la región del Guayabero

Mientras la Policía y la Anla continúan los trámites que le permitirían al Gobierno hacer fumigaciones aéreas con glifosato, diferentes colectivos adelantan campaña para no legitimar los espacios propuestos

El ataque se presentó en medio del operativo que adelantaba el Ejército Nacional para desalojar a las comunidades indígenas de las haciendas Granadita y Gracia Arriba

A la masacre en la que murieron cinco menores de edad en el barrio Llano Verde, de la Comuna 15, le siguió ayer una explosión junto al CAI del sector, ocurrida en pleno momento del velorio

This occurred in Llano Verde, a neighborhood in eastern Cali where the majority of families were forcibly displaced as a result of the armed conflict

Colombia is primed to play a pioneering role in the Trump administration’s “Back to the Americas” initiative, Mauricio Claver-Carone, U.S. President Donald Trump’s senior adviser on Latin America, told Reuters

El Salvador

El Salvador’s downward trend in homicides suggests that gang cells in the streets have chosen not to battle with Bukele’s troops or among themselves

Honduras

En la última década en Honduras ha sido prevaleciente la presencia de militares en las calles reprimiendo protestas sociales, interviniendo instituciones como salud y educación y hasta ocupando titularidades de secretarías de estado

By any reasonable standard, the human rights and environmental impacts of the Jilamito hydropower project and the record of both Ingelsa and the Honduran state should have prevented this investment from going forward

Mexico

He has had 20 months in office to prove that his pacific policy can work, but so far the results are disappointing. American pressure, and El Mencho’s outrages, could oblige him to adopt tactics he has hitherto resisted

Nicaragua

In the more than two years since the government of Nicaragua launched a brutal crackdown on the country’s citizens, the U.S. continues to exert economic and diplomatic pressure

U.S.-Mexico Border

Since March, 110,107 immigrants have been quickly sent back to their home countries without so much as a court hearing under the new policy

Venezuela

Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro continues to serve as a threat to the democratic freedom in neighboring nations in South America, the commander of U.S. Southern Command said

One official said the vessels had been taken over without the use of military force but didn’t provide any details

Craig Faller destacó que el Comando Sur está atento a lo que ocurre en la región y dijo que Maduro se sostiene por actividades ilegales y la influencia rusa

Some articles I found interesting this morning

(Even more here)

August 13, 2020

Western Hemisphere Regional

The agency only tracks deaths that take place within its custody — not those of people who contract the virus while in detention, but then die of the illness once they are released or deported

Bolivia

The political field is sharply divided into two major antagonistic camps – masistas and anti-masistas – and neither can govern effectively while excluding the other

Colombia

En el barrio hay microtráfico, guerra de pandillas, fronteras invisibles y violencia. Mucha violencia

U.S.-Mexico Border

A band of the Kumeyaay Nation whose native land spans both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border filed a federal lawsuit this week against the Trump administration seeking an injunction to stop further construction of the border wall

Some articles I found interesting this morning

U.S. Embassy in El Salvador photo at Diálogo. Caption: “Captain Exón Oswaldo Ascencio, head of the Salvadoran Navy General Staff, received the Boston Whaler vessel from the representative of U.S. Military Group El Salvador.”

(Even more here)

August 12, 2020

Western Hemisphere Regional

Medical experts and immigrant advocates have warned that the highly contagious COVID-19 puts everyone in detention at risk

Bolivia

El ministro de Gobierno adelantó que una vez se supere el conflicto esos grupos irregulares deberán rendir cuentas. Denuncia que el narcotráfico financia las movilizaciones en el país

Brazil

why a president who is often regarded with a mix of incomprehension and horror by the rest of the world has maintained a steady domestic approval rating of about 40 percent

Many Brazilians are skeptical of the intentions of U.S. aid during the pandemic. The U.S. military continues to exert influence in Brazil and has a long history of supporting Indigenous displacement in Latin America

Colombia

We contacted people who used to fight in the guerrilla movement The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP), to see how they were coping

Este miércoles es la segunda audiencia territorial en la que esa jurisdicción escucha a los voceros de los exguerrilleros. Esta vez el foco estará sobre Meta, Guaviare, Arauca, Huila y Tolima

Ante el inminente envío del exjefe paramilitar a Italia, nadie se explica por qué Colombia no activó todos los mecanismos que tenía a su disposición para reclamar la extradición

Former Commander Jorge Armando Pérez will be barred from holding any public position for 20 years after being identified as the mastermind behind Dimar Torres’ death

Whatever happens to Uribe next, this will be a watershed moment for Colombian politics

La Corte se dispone a comunicar oficialmente al Senado que la medida de aseguramiento quedó en firme, a fin de que la corporación tramite la suspensión de Uribe como legislador

La situación de seguridad, los avances y las dificultades de la sustitución de cultivos y de los PDET, la satisfacción de los derechos de la víctimas y cómo va el proceso de incorporación de las FARC

Diez periodistas quisieron demostrar que el relato de la guerra no define al pueblo de San José de Uré, pero fueron obligados a callar violentamente

He remains in U.S. custody as Colombia — where courts have judged him responsible for more than 1,500 acts of murder or forced disappearance — fights a U.S. order that would send him to Italy, where he also has citizenship

Ecuador

Luis Lara, jefe del Comando Conjunto de las Fuerzas Armadas (FF.AA.), manifestó que los militares se encargarán de los controles en las vías de acceso a los centros de rehabilitación, ejecutando una seguridad perimetral

El Salvador

The donation is worth $1.5 million and includes logistics and maintenance training

El Salvador, Mexico

Of course, the gang sells drugs on a local level, but efforts to depict them as a drug trafficking organization, as US authorities want to describe them, are simply hyperbole

Guatemala

Through ongoing deportations, the United States, which now has had more COVID-19 cases than any nation worldwide, has become a major exporter of the virus to Guatemala and other countries

Honduras

Honduras just killed corruption charges against government officials and a family member of President Juan Orlando Hernández. The move is a fatal blow to anti-corruption efforts in one of the region’s shadiest countries

Mexico

Emilio Lozoya, who is also facing corruption charges, filed a complaint against Mr. Peña Nieto and former Finance Minister Luis Videgaray for allegedly ordering him to illegally finance Mr. Peña Nieto’s campaign and bribe legislators to secure passage of sweeping overhauls

Algunos operadores han decidido mudarse el Cártel Arellano Félix y, en medio de la pugna interna, células criminales se han aliado con “Los Erres”, grupo de sicarios del Cártel de Sinaloa

Desde el inicio del gobierno de Claudia Sheinbaum se han presentado 252 denuncias contra policías por delitos sexuales cometidos en la CDMX

U.S.-Mexico Border

U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials watched helplessly as the water levels at several ponds — the main habitat for the endangered fish at this Sonoran Desert refuge — dropped “precipitously.”

A California tribe whose ancestral lands span across the U.S.-Mexico border is suing the Trump administration to block construction of a section of border wall that the Kumeyaay people say is desecrating sacred burial sites

Venezuela

El Ceofan indicó que el 4 y 9 de agosto lidiaron con los casos de dos aeronaves con matrículas estadounidenses en el estado Zulia

Maduro would have to take significant steps toward democracy before we see sanctions lifted under a Biden administration

Some articles I found interesting this morning

Photo from La Nación (Chile).

(Even more here)

August 11, 2020

Western Hemisphere Regional

Canada has joined the opposition, diplomatic sources said, but has not done so publicly

Bolivia

¿No hemos visto cuántos años y muertes ha tenido un país como Colombia? ¿Eso estamos buscando?”, expresó el máximo jefe de las Fuerzas Armadas, general Sergio Orellana

El ministro de Defensa Fernando López afirmó que de ser necesario se emitirá un decreto supremo que permita a las Fuerzas Armadas (FFAA) intervenir en caso de que “grupos terroristas” armados estén detrás de los bloqueos en el país

“On social media there are videos of armed people and groups of people,” said armed forces General Sergio Orellana. “This is terrorism and terrorism directly affects state security”

Brazil

If the Brazilian leader decided to ignore a ruling by the supreme court, what would the armed forces do? Are the former military people around the president an accelerator or a brake on his authoritarian instincts?

Colombia

A pesar de que los cultivadores de coca se han organizado en estos territorios, las mujeres encuentran relaciones de poder desiguales que limitan su acceso a los espacios

El país, el Gobierno y la comunidad internacional deben rodear a los comisionados para no perder la oportunidad histórica que tenemos en la Comisión

Colombia presenta un complejo cuadro de procesos genocidas contra grupos políticos, pueblos indígenas y movimientos sociales, cuyo reconocimiento jurídico es cada vez más amplio

Aunque es legal que los excombatientes estén en el Congreso y los militares sigan activos mientras se esclarecen las investigaciones en su contra, víctimas han pedido que se instaure una medida cautelar para suspenderlos

Colombia, Venezuela

With safe border points closed due to COVID-19, civilians have been left at the mercy of criminal gangs

Ecuador

Un llamado a comprender la crisis social y económica que enfrenta el país hizo el comandante del Ejército ecuatoriano

Guatemala

The formula has become commonplace in Central America: the US Justice Department prosecuting elites long suspected of having criminal ties after local investigations are thwarted

Mexico

The INM said there are currently 950 migrants in detention. But different statistics from the country’s Interior Ministry suggest that the number could be ten times that

Hay al menos una decena de cárteles mexicanos, con redes que se expanden a Estados Unidos, Centroamérica, Suramérica y Europa

Un juez federal libró órdenes de aprehensión contra 19 exfuncionarios de la Policía Federal (PF) que estuvieron bajo el mando del exsecretario de Gobernación

U.S.-Mexico Border

In the 1950s, Washington decided that a reasonable distance from the border for enforcement purposes was 100 miles – creating what the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has dubbed a “constitution-free zone”

The reality of the Central American crisis—rooted in US foreign policy—had impinged on the agents’ perceptions of themselves as vanguards and warriors of the border. Miller understood their unhappiness

Under the proposal, the government could block a citizen or legal resident’s entry if an official “reasonably believes” the person had been exposed to or was infected with the communicable disease

Her family still hasn’t heard the official version from Mexican consular officials — only from the guide she followed, who told them she fell and died during the raid of a safe house in New Mexico

ICE’s comprehensive testing appears to undermine the rationale for the mass expulsion policy: that it is necessary to “prevent the introduction” of COVID-19 into the United States

Venezuela

The country’s supreme court in recent months put Democratic Action and two other opposition parties in the hands of politicians expelled from those parties on accusations they were in cahoots with socialist President Nicolas Maduro

President Nicolás Maduro has been treating this crisis as an opportunity, steadily strengthening his grip on power ahead of this year’s parliamentary elections

Russia and China have long been allies to Venezuela, though the Maduro government’s failure to repay its debts to the two countries has strained these relations over the years

Some articles I found interesting this morning

Photo from Verdad Abierta (Colombia).

(Even more here)

August 10, 2020

Western Hemisphere Regional

Proponemos postergar la elección de presidente en la próxima Asamblea del BID, a fin de dedicar los próximos meses a definir estrategias y prioridades, tras lo cual concordemos de manera consensuada quien estará a la cabeza de la institución

Bolivia

Demonstrators allied to Evo Morales say authorities are using Covid-19 to delay vote

El exmandatario Evo Morales acusó al comandante en jefe de las Fuerzas Armadas, general Sergio Orellana y al general Iván Ortiz, con cargo en el Comando en Jefe, de estar detrás del supuesto intento de golpe

Brazil

Brazil’s former health minister has warned Brazil’s response to the coronavirus pandemic is being bungled by unqualified army men “stuffing themselves with chloroquine”

Colombia

Las comunidades indígenas son las más afectadas por ese delito

Desde 2017, en ningún año se han usado todos los recursos que se tenían previstos para la implementación del acuerdo de paz con las Farc

Los argumentos son escasos, las estigmatizaciones son muchas

Los señalamientos de que son un brazo político de las disidencias de las Farc y las amenazas contra sus vidas y bienes los obligó a salir del territorio

Colombia vive una etapa de violencia selectiva perpetrada por terratenientes, paramilitares, narcotraficantes y sus aliados políticos –entre ellos, el ala más radical del gobernante partido Centro Democrático

The documents nonetheless show a harried search for witnesses by lawyers who were repeatedly pushed by Uribe to gather favorable testimony

El senador habría desplegado un patrón sistemático de seis características para conseguir testigos falsos. Entre ellos, al parecer, el del exparamilitar el “Tuso“ Sierra

Según las denuncias, al menos 20 campesinos estarían retenidos por integrantes de la Fuerza de Tarea Conjunta Omega en la vereda Nueva Colombia, de Vista Hermosa

Con relación a la Fuerza Pública, el analista cuestiona sus estrategias, que mantienen un enfoque tradicional de descabezamiento de estructuras y criminales, pero no avanza en fortalecer la seguridad comunitaria y territorial

Esos instrumentos acelerarán los Programas de Desarrollo con Enfoque Territorial (Pdet), tarea que contará con el apoyo activo de la Fuerza Pública y el liderazgo de la Consejería para la Estabilización

Guatemala

Hechos están relacionados con la elección de cortes y el amparo que la CC emitió para detener el antejuicio contra cuatro de sus magistrados

Mexico

Representantes de cinco colectivos de familiares de personas desaparecidas exploraron, por primera vez, el territorio de un sitio de hallazgos de restos humanos en el estado ubicado en el ejido Cupuato en Uriangato, en los límites con Michoacán

Los siete agentes fueron detenidos porque autoridades los relacionan con el crimen organizado y delitos como secuestro y extorsión

Algunos de ellos siguen activos en lo que ahora es la Guardia Nacional

Especialistas en política de drogas y delincuencia organizada coincidieron en que la respuesta del Gobierno a los videos de cárteles de la droga no ha sido la correcta

U.S.-Mexico Border

Emergency pandemic measures that rapidly “expel” most detainees have had the unintended consequence of allowing them to try repeat illegal crossings

Uruguay, Western Hemisphere Regional

The 1970 murder of a U.S. police advisor in Uruguay offers lessons for police reform debates today

Venezuela

El ahora general en jefe acumula en los últimos años más mandos civiles que castrenses. Sin embargo, oficiales del Alto Mando se refieren a Reverol Torres como «un líder militar»

Lawyers for the former Green Berets, Luke Denman and Airan Berry, said they were barred from the secretive jailhouse proceedings Friday night in what they consider a violation of their constitutional rights

Latin America-related Online Events This Week

Wednesday, August 12

Thursday, August 13

  • 9:00 at atlanticcouncil.org: Countering the Maduro regime’s global web of illicit activities (RSVP required).
  • 11:00-12:30 at thedialogue.org: Private Sector and Early Childhood Investment (RSVP required).
  • 12:00-1:30 at wola.org: The Struggle for Human Rights in Bolivia During the Áñez Government and the COVID-19 Pandemic (RSVP required).
  • 5:00 at Zoom: La sociedad civil como víctima de los delitos de corrupción (RSVP required).

5 links from the past week

  • Writing for ProPublica and the Texas Tribune, Lomi Kriel digs into the Trump administration’s use of the COVID-19 health orders at the border to expel migrants, including well over 3,000 unaccompanied children. Some non-Mexican children may have been sent back to Mexico in the middle of the night. Some were sent back to Central America where they faced certain danger. Some ended up in U.S. hotel rooms for many days, guarded by an unlicensed contractor. None, upon their expulsion, was given a “primary registration number,” making it almost impossible for advocates to find out what happened to them. And CBP, whose organizational culture grows more diseased by the moment, isn’t saying.
  • Writer Ana Karina Zatarain accompanies mothers searching with poles and shovels for the bodies of missing loved ones in Sinaloa, Mexico. She takes a shovel and, horrifyingly, finds some recently buried people herself. A really well-written account of grief and horror and of the government’s indifference, which continues in the AMLO period. “Ambiguous loss” is the painful form of almost-grief suffered by those whose loved ones were victims of forced disappearance. It’s hard to grasp the person’s death when one can’t see the body.
  • Genero García Luna is currently in a New York jail awaiting trial for collaborating with the Sinaloa Cartel. García Luna was Mexico’s top security official during the period when Felipe Calderón was Mexico’s president (2006-12); he and his top officials worked closely with the DEA and other U.S. authorities. At SinEmbargo, Dolia Estévez highlights how García Luna appears to have done nothing, knowingly, while cartels tortured, raped, and murdered top Federal Police officials. The career Federal Police, she notes, are not very corrupt. It was top commanders like García Luna and his circle, the political appointees, who have six years to enrich themselves and leave.
  • A group of U.S. and Colombian economists finds a strong correlation between the Colombian Army’s 2003-2008 “false positive” killings and the government’s “body count” incentives. That’s unsurprising, but they find especially bad outcomes in regions where the judicial system was weak and the local brigade was headed by a colonel, not a general. The authors find fault with the common argument that building a state presence in a territory first requires the military to secure the zone. Instead, it’s better to hold the military fully accountable while “attempting to build state institutions in multiple dimensions simultaneously.”
  • Caquetá, Colombia, had a historic moment of tranquility in 2016 and 2017, when the FARC peace accord wound up and began its implementation. But amid continued government neglect, people who thought they would be able to lead their communities are being cut down. At least 25 social leaders have been killed in Caquetá, Verdad Abierta relates, especially those who defend collective land rights, environmental defenders, peace accord supporters, and former guerrillas. The government blames the killings on armed groups, but rarely investigates, and in many cases communities doubt that narrative.

Some articles I found interesting yesterday morning

Henry Romero/Reuters photo at PRI’s The World. Caption: “Oaxaca’s artisans take part in a protest outside the National Palace to demand the federal government help for the loss of jobs and decrease in their labor services, after the Mexican government declared a health emergency and issued stricter regulations to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Mexico City, April 20, 2020.”

(I fell behind a bit. Even more here)

August 7, 2020

Western Hemisphere Regional

Were Mr Biden to win, his priorities would be the American economy and dealing with China. But Latin America might not be at the bottom of his to-do list

Bolivia

“Esto no sólo es una respuesta frente al Covid-19. Es también una previsión estratégica frente a recurrentes amenazas, riesgos y agresiones a la seguridad e integridad de nuestro Estado”, señaló

Colombia

Nada avizora que esto se pueda resolver en los dos años que le quedan de gobierno a Duque

Van a proponer un gran pacto nacional para encontrar e identificar a los miles de desaparecidos que dejó el conflicto

In municipalities with a higher share of colonels, the high-powered incentives period also coincided with a worsening of local judicial institutions and no discernible improvement in overall security

Sostiene que la participación de las comunidades está garantizada, pero, para las organizaciones, el tema no se ha resuelto

Se trata del Plan Integral Municipal y Comunitario de Sustitución y Desarrollo Alternativo (Pisda), que entró en vigencia en Cumaribo (Vichada); Barrancominas (Guainía); Rosas y Piamonte (Cauca); Dagua, Bolívar y El Dovio (Valle del Cauca) e Ipiales (Nariño)

Más allá de esta discusión y de los amores y odios que genera Uribe, su detención es histórica. La medida de aseguramiento es una respuesta a sus vínculos, voluntarios y desde hace décadas, con situaciones sospechosas por todo tipo de hechos fuera de la ley

His detention, many said this week, reinforced those rifts, fostering resentment on the right and strengthening the idea on the left that the former president is a criminal

Mientras en 2017, después de la firma del acuerdo de paz, se registraron 11 masacres, en 2018 la cifra llegó a 29 y el año pasado a 36

Entre sus virtudes estaba la enorme capacidad de conectarse desde el lenguaje cotidiano y la experiencia con las víctimas y las distintas audiencias que la escuchaban

Guatemala

Los cambios impuestos por el presidente Alejandro Giammattei a la institucionalidad de la paz y de derechos humanos no son casuales. Responden al proyecto de descabezamiento del entramado constitucional

Hundreds of migrant children rapidly expelled from the United States under a coronavirus immigration policy are returning to shelters in Guatemala where virus testing and bed capacity are regularly stretched

Guyana, Suriname

The fight over how to spend Suriname’s new riches, when they come, may be less bitter than Guyana’s. That, perhaps, is Suriname’s real gold

Haiti

At least 116 Haitians have lost their lives to gang violence, mostly in the metropolitan Port-au-Prince region, during the first six months of this year, according to statistics compiled by human rights groups

Honduras

The unraveling of the Pandora case appears to be the final nail in the coffin for Honduras’ fight against graft, which had already been severely weakened with the dismantling of MACCIH last January

El comunicador social fue objeto de un misterioso sabotaje registrado el pasado sábado, cuando abordo de su vehículo

Mexico

La profunda militarización de la vida pública del país va en contrasentido de una política democrática de fortalecimiento institucional de los gobiernos civilistas mexicanos que se conformaron al término del proceso revolucionario del siglo pasado

Muy claridosa la Sedena. Por sus respuestas, ni les interesa saber, e investigar menos, las muertes de civiles desarmados a manos de soldados

López Obrador se convirtió en el Presidente militarizado, pues le ha dado casi todo a los hombres de verde

Los actos delictivos ligados a los cárteles han dejado más de 4 mil muertos en Guanajuato

Peru

El General de División (r) Walter Martos Ruiz, quien venía desempeñándose como Ministro de Defensa, asumió el cargo de Presidente del Consejo de Ministros

Personal del Comando de Inteligencia y Operaciones Especiales Conjuntas de las FF.AA. se enfrentó a un grupo de 14 terroristas el pasado 20 de julio en el distrito de Pucacolpa

U.S.-Mexico Border

In a 7-2 decision, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that lawmakers have the legal right to sue the administration over a financing maneuver that a separate California-based federal appeals court found to be an illegal encroachment of Congress’s power

The policy had been an incentive for them: If they failed in their bid to enter the United States, they said, they would be spared the hardship of detention and would be quickly sent back to Mexico, putting them in position to try again

He downplayed the concerns of public health experts. “Whether it’s six experts or six Border Patrol agents, I mean, who you gonna trust?” Garza asked

It was the third consecutive month that unauthorized crossings have increased at the U.S. southern border

Venezuela

En el nuevo reporte de la Comisión para los Derechos Humanos y la Ciudadanía (Codehciu) hay reflejados 127 de estos casos, correspondientes al primer semestre de 2020; y algunos familiares, que son víctimas indirectas, desmienten las versiones oficiales

A defining factor of the “maximum pressure” campaigns launched against both Iran and Venezuela is the term “all options are on the table,” words repeated by both Hook and Abrams

Some articles I found interesting this morning

Luis Robayo / AFP via Getty Images photo at Foreign Policy. Caption: “A Colombian soldier stands guard during a curfew imposed due to high numbers of coronavirus cases in Cali on July 17. In some of the country’s rural areas, illegal armed groups have taken the law into their own hands, implementing the curfews by force and threatening residents of harsh punishments if they fail to obey the lockdown rules.”

(Even more here)

August 6, 2020

Western Hemisphere Regional

The Biden campaign told me in an email that the presumptive Democratic nominee for president considers Mauricio Claver-Carone, Trump’s candidate to head the Washington D.C.-based Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), to be “overly ideological” and “under-qualified”

Since the end of March through the beginning of July, guards at detention centers across the country deployed force — pepper spray, pepper balls, pepper spray grenades — in incidents involving more than 10 immigrants at a time on a dozen occasions

To continue detaining nonviolent detainees as the virus tightens its grip on ICE facilities is pointless and dangerous — for detainees and for employees

Brazil

  • Monica Gugliano, Vou Intervir! (Piaui (Brazil), August 6, 2020).

O dia em que Bolsonaro decidiu mandar tropas para o Supremo

One of the State Department’s top Brazil experts, who has lived 11 years in the country, the Texas native grabbed headlines cozying up to Bolsonaro with an assertive style

Central America Regional

Acaso el principal cambio puede ser que la migración deje de ser la moneda de cambio en la política exterior hacia la región

Colombia

Aunque la implementación de los PDET ha avanzado, el gobierno Duque solo ha entregado 27 mil hectáreas de tierras a campesinos

Los exparamilitares claves en el proceso han denunciado amenazas contra ellos y sus familias. Juan Guillermo Monsalve incluso fue víctima de un ataque con cuchillo hace ocho años

Rights groups warn that armed groups including the ELN are using the pandemic to expand their control, threatening those who break the curfew with punishments and even death

El trámite se basó en una orden de captura contra el exparamilitar que estaba vencida. Y si bien esta fue prorrogada, la defensa de Mancuso alegó que el juez no era competente para tal prórroga

Guatemala

South Florida federal prosecutors have charged a former Economics Minister of Guatemala, Asisclo Valladares Urruela, 44, with helping to launder close to $10 million of illegal drug proceeds and other ill-gotten money

Honduras

El término de su prisión preventiva vence el próximo 2 de septiembre, luego de 2 años y medio

“There’s so much hate,” she said. “So much rejection of what it means to be indigenous. So much contempt”

Mexico

Unidentified assailants shot a journalist dead outside his home in the western Mexican state of Michoacan

El ataque contra el recinto policial estuvo liderado por Omar Mora Rojas, un presunto jefe de sicarios del cártel de La Nueva Familia Michoacana en la zona de La Ruana

U.S.-Mexico Border

“It’s a way we can identify what our biggest needs and the right mix in terms of personnel, technology and infrastructure along our border,” said U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, D-New Mexico

The migrant shelters where we provide care remain crowded tinderboxes for infectious diseases such as varicella, mumps, and norovirus, and now Covid-19. The situation on the border is a public health crisis of our country’s own manufacturing

Biden committed to fully ending land confiscations, a more aggressive stance than President Barack Obama took when he came into office after President George W. Bush had approved border fencing

Congressional investigators say the agency is blocking them and revealing little about its internal investigation

Venezuela

The Nicolás Maduro regime promoted Interior Minister Néstor Reverol to General in Chief — the highest military rank in Venezuela —even though the officer is charged by federal prosecutors in New York with accepting large bribes in exchange for protecting drug shipments

La debilidad más importante que existe en Venezuela «es que no hay un mecanismo especial para las personas defensoras de DDHH, como lo tiene Colombia y la mayoría de los países centroamericanos

En el texto, hecho a puerta cerrada, se pondrá a la milicia como un nuevo componente especial de la Fuerza Armada Nacional

Some articles I found interesting this morning

Lis Möller photo at Verdad Abierta (Colombia). Caption: “Deforestación para sembrar cultivos de uso ilícito.”

(Even more here)

August 5, 2020

Brazil

Corporações alegam que já atuam dentro da excepcionalidade prevista na determinação e afirmam que decisão provocou aumento de confrontos entre facções

Chile

El general Marcelo Araya indica que el escenario en la región es “complejo”

Colombia

El consejero Emilio Archila asegura que han avanzado en planeación, búsqueda de recursos y la ejecución de obras en poblaciones vulnerables

Independiente del curso que tome el proceso, este caso será a las elecciones presidenciales del 2022, lo que fue el plebiscito para las del 2018

The high court’s unanimous decision published late Tuesday states magistrates found “possible risks” of obstruction of justice while they continue probing accusations the ex-president had a role in bribing potential witnesses

La Sala Especial de Instrucción de la Sala Penal de la Corte Suprema de Justicia, mediante decisión del 3 de agosto aprobada y suscrita por unanimidad, resolvió la situación jurídica del senador Álvaro Uribe Vélez con imposición de medida de aseguramiento

Es la primera vez en la historia que se le impone una medida de este tipo a un exjefe de Estado

En el mapa para entender esos hechos y lo que se viene hay varios personajes y eventos clave

Sus expedientes en distintos despachos judiciales están nutridos de hechos ligados a homicidios, masacres, desplazamientos y presuntos nexos con grupos paramilitares que aún no se resuelven

Colombia, Guatemala

Samuel David Niño Cataño, piloto de la campaña electoral de Iván Duque y de confianza de Álvaro Uribe Vélez, se precipitó a tierra y desapareció el martes 3 de diciembre pasado en la frontera de Guatemala y México transportando desde Colombia una remesa de cocaína

Cuba, Panama

Panama’s National Migration Service reports that of the 106,622 Cubans who entered Panama in 2019, it had no exit records for 9,124 of them, which indicates they have either overstayed their visas or continued to travel north without documents

Cuba, Venezuela

En BBC Mundo entrevistamos a Juan González, exasesor del vicepresidente Joe Biden en la Casa Blanca

Honduras

En los planes de la Secretaría de Seguridad se encuentra la ejecución de mayor patrullaje, más presencia de policías y militares en las comunidades garífunas

The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the deployment to the region until now, allowing for a forward deployed team to integrate with Joint Task Force – Bravo of U.S. Southern Command, or JTF-Bravo

Mexico

More than seventy thousand people have disappeared in Mexico, victims of drug-related violence. Their loved ones are grieving, searching, and, now, keeping their distance

El titular de la Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional, general Luis Cresencio Sandoval, dio un informe sobre las condiciones del operativo en el que, destacó, hubo un saldo prácticamente blanco

Se trata de dos personas que se desempeñaban como directores generales en la Guardia Nacional, así como a un director de administración de penales y a otro “de menor nivel”

En la nueva edición de la Secretaría de Seguridad, ahora de Protección Ciudadana en el Gobierno de Morena, Alfonso Durazo Montaño, no ha dado golpes de precisión. Su titularidad ha pasado más bien grisácea, y de acompañamiento a las fuerzas armadas

U.S.-Mexico Border

Advocates warned of monsoon floods as soon as the wall project was announced last summer

A union representing 14,000 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service employees has filed an amicus brief supporting a challenge to the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” program

Along the border with Mexico, approximately 60,000 people have been put in limbo through the Migrant Protection Protocols

Advocates say many are now “virtually impossible” to find

Venezuela

Maduro dijo que es el primer general en jefe en la historia de la GNB, además de recordar el atentado fallido en su contra del 4 de agosto de 2018

“He will not change the legal status for many countries around the world — and especially for us,” Trump’s special representative to Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, told the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations

Some articles I found interesting this morning

Sandra Sanchez photo at Border Report. Caption: “Tommy Fisher, CEO of Fisher Sand & Gravel Company, shows freshly poured concrete on Jan. 15, 2020, on a section of private border wall his company built on private lands south of Mission, Texas. Fisher’s company won a $289.5 million contract from CBP to build 17 miles of border wall in Laredo, Texas, the agency announced Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2020.”

(Even more here)

August 4, 2020

Brazil

The office of hate does not have an official title or budget — but its work is subsidized with taxpayer money. It’s unclear how many people work for this office, or who they are

Vast quantities of the pills are still sitting in storage in the Brazilian megacity of São Paulo, and one former health minister believes they may eventually have to be destroyed

Colombia

Se define si hay lugar a dictarle una orden de captura, una medida de casa por cárcel, una restricción de movilidad o si, por el contrario, puede seguir enfrentando el caso en libertad

El exsecretario de la Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación de Perú, y actual director de la Fundación Ford para el Área Andina, dice que los desacuerdos siempre van a ocurrir, pero que es importante que la comisión colombiana escuche a todos

El Salvador

Como requisito, los congresistas piden al Pentágono que entregue a las autoridades judiciales en El Salvador los archivos relacionados a la masacre de El Mozote y lugares aledaños, ocurrida en 1981

Mexico

Es un testimonio inédito de primera mano que no deja duda de la penetración del narcopoder en las entrañas del Estado

The prosecutors’ office in Guerrero state said Morrugares and a state police officer were at a restaurant when they were killed in a hail of bullets on Sunday

Por primera vez en Guanajuato está prevista una búsqueda de desaparecidos que será realizada entre colectivos y autoridades en el municipio de Uriangato durante toda la semana

U.S.-Mexico Border

Fisher Sand & Gravel Company was awarded the $289.5 million contract to build the 17 miles of contiguous new border wall in Laredo

The incident comes months after a 19-year-old pregnant woman from Guatemala died after falling while trying to climb the border wall near El Paso, Texas

Agents “trashed” the camp, which No More Deaths has operated on a private, half-acre lot since 2004

Venezuela

Biden was the first Democratic presidential candidate in 2019 to support Guaido as interim president

Some articles I found interesting this morning

No More Deaths photo at The Intercept. Caption: “Border Patrol vehicles taking part in a July 31, 2020, raid on the migrant humanitarian aid group No More Deaths.”

(Even more here)

August 3, 2020

Western Hemisphere Regional

Bruselas considera que la pandemia y las elecciones en EE UU impiden conceder al debate “la atención necesaria”

Place your cursor over a country below to compare how the United States and China have stepped up in Latin America to address this pandemic

Rubio has effectively become secretary of State for Latin America, according to interviews with more than a dozen former White House and State Department officials and current Republican lawmakers, aides and analysts

  • Joy Olson, Kick the Can (El Faro (El Salvador), August 3, 2020).

President Trump’s nomination of Claver-Carone on June 16th was controversial not only because it breaks with tradition, but because of the nominee himself

Brazil

The House Foreign Affairs Committee has begun an inquiry into multiple reports in the Brazilian media that the U.S. ambassador was framing negotiations over ethanol tariffs in partisan terms

Brazilian news reports say the ambassador asked for a “favor.” Democrats are demanding answers

Chile

Cinco edificios edilicios están tomados desde el lunes, en apoyo a la huelga de hambre de 11 comuneros

Colombia

Las cifras presentadas en términos de erradicación de hectáreas de cultivos de coca y la destrucción de laboratorios para el procesamiento de cocaína e insumos, no corresponden con la realidad, y están siendo alteradas de manera fraudulenta por algunas de los mandos militares

Es investigado por la Fiscalía por su presunta responsabilidad en 42 ‘falsos positivos’ ocurridos cuando comandó dos batallones en Antioquia y Huila

Es peruana, británica y suiza y cuenta con 24 años de experiencia en el campo de los derechos humanos. Ha sido directora de Incidencia Política en Ginebra para Human Rights Watch

El exjefe paramilitar Salvatore Mancuso sigue insistiendo en que quiere confesar y colaborar con la justicia en temas que incriminan al senador Álvaro Uribe Vélez y su hermano Santiago

De él se pueden decir cosas tan contrastantes como que les dio cuotas a sus colegas del Partido de La U y, también, que se volcó a los territorios como ningún otro Defensor lo había hecho hasta ahora

La magistrada Linares ha conservado su moderación y mesura. Sin embargo, por primera vez responde, con lenguaje respetuoso pero firme

Una carta del comisionado Carlos Ospina, de la Comisión de la Verdad, en la que rechaza la cancelación de un simposio al que estaba invitado un militar condenado por ‘falsos positivos’, dejó ver la dimensión de las diferencias que hay en esa entidad

Debido a un mal diseño, la Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz ha invadido las competencias de otros jueces. Esto produce inseguridad jurídica y puede ser perjudicial para a las víctimas

Si Trump pierde las elecciones de noviembre, Washington apoyará el proceso de paz, la protección de líderes sociales y la defensa de los derechos humanos en Colombia

Alrededor de 25.000 cuerpos no identificados permanecen enterrados en los cementerios del país, la mayoría como consecuencia del conflicto. La Fiscalía ya ha exhumado 2.400. Radiografía de una dolorosa búsqueda por decenas de camposantos

El Salvador

En lugar de intentar ocultarlas es hora de transparentarlas. El diálogo tendría que ser desde arriba, de forma franca y pública y, sobretodo, sin buscar beneficio político

Guyana

Mohamed Irfaan Ali will manage the flow of billions in new oil revenues, which are reshaping the small South American country and heightened a standoff after elections in March

Mexico

El Cártel Santa Rosa de Lima, ahora muy tocado, mantiene desde el 2018 una sangrienta guerra con el Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) por el control del territorio en Guanajuato

Mexican authorities say José Antonio Yépez, or ‘El Marro,’ led an organized-crime group that siphoned fuel from pipelines and fought the Jalisco Cartel

Gobierno le atribuye actividades de robo masivo de combustible y la explosión de violencia homicida en Guanajuato por su lucha con grupos rivales

Los delincuentes se creen tan vivos y tan listos, pero al final siempre vamos a ganar los buenos, dijo el embajador de Estados Unidos en México, Christopher Landau

Parent groups spend weeks at a time searching rugged and remote areas nationwide for clandestine mass graves, known as fosas clandestinas

U.S.-Mexico Border

The Court’s order marks the second time Trump v. Sierra Club has come before the justices, and the Friday decision says as much about the unusual deference this Court gives to Trump as it does about the wall itself

The Trump administration will have used all of the money before the justices have a chance to decide the merits of the case

For the second time in two years, Border Patrol launched a raid against No More Deaths within days of the group releasing embarrassing information about the agency

El Paso, like the nation, is caught between two vastly different visions of borders and demographic change: one rooted in connection, another in division

After Commander Jonathan White of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps refused to commit what he considered perjury, he was tracked by Stephen Miller

People in camps in Mexico were forced to retreat to higher ground after the level of the Rio Grande rose by 12 feet

Venezuela

Los líderes políticos expresaron en un manifiesto todas las arremetidas y violaciones que ha cometido la dictadura de Maduro en contra del derecho a elegir del pueblo venezolano, el sistema electoral, la Asamblea Nacional y el proceso fraudulento actualmente convocado

A succinct evaluation of Colombia’s President Duque at the midpoint of his presidency

On August 7, Iván Duque completes two years as president of Colombia, with two left to go. I’ve seen a lot of midterm evaluation analyses in Colombia’s press. Most are largely negative: Duque has had a bumpy ride, and he’s governing from the center-right with the support of a party dominated by the ultra, populist right.

Daniel Samper, writing at Los Danieles, gave what I think is the fairest, most succinct evaluation of Iván Duque and his “mediocre” presidency so far. Here’s an English excerpt.

The evaluations I have read of Duque’s mid-term mandate are mostly unfavorable. Mediocre commentator that I am, I declare myself incapable of delving into all government issues and efforts. That is why I choose an evaluation formula worthy of a waiting room magazine. Here goes:

The good. Duque is not rowdy, like Uribe, or a cheater, like Santos; he belongs to the category he’s-basically-a-good guy, something that cannot be said of the other two … He does a good job in sectors such as technology and infrastructure … He fosters interesting productive projects … He has had gestures of solidarity with Venezuelan exiles … He has faced up to the virus …

The bad. He torpedoes peace [accord implementation] … He has not been able to manage or clean up the Army … The environment and culture are absent from his concerns … He does not know the value of self-criticism … Cronyism and companionship are his misguided guide to choosing personnel, so he has empowered unprepared, vain, immature and insecure officials … He designed a tax reform for the wealthy … He brought his personal religious fervor into the public arena … He kneels before the United States on many issues including the failed war on drugs …

The terrible. The abandonment of social leaders and environmentalists, the everyday drumbeat of diverse murders … His disastrous international policy, managed through phantoms and mediocre people, which worsened the relationship with Venezuela, broke bridges with a loyal ally like Cuba and betrayed Latin American interests.

The bad news. Two years of his period still remain.

The good news. If Duque changes the course of his administration, gets out from under his perverse godfathers [a reference to Uribe and his circle], governs with the best, and really seeks peace—even with the ELN—he would take the first steps toward a better country. As the mute person said, we’ll talk in two years.

Latin America-related online events this week

Monday, August 3

  • 11:00-12:00 at csis.org: Understanding the Role of the United Nations in Venezuela (RSVP required).
  • 2:00 at Zoom: Remembering the Mass Shooting in El Paso and Controlling Gun Trafficking to Mexico (RSVP required).
  • 4:00-5:00 at wola.org: The Price of Gold: The Cost of Mechanized Mining in Chocó, Colombia (RSVP required).
  • 5:00-6:00 at thedialogue.org: El cómo de las reformas educativas– una conversación con ex ministros (RSVP required).

Tuesday, August 4

Wednesday, August 5

  • 11:00 at wola.org: Threatening Democratic Norms and Closing Civil Space in Latin America (RSVP required).

Thursday, August 6

  • 12:00 at amazonwatch.org: Judicial Corruption in the U.S.: Big Oil’s Political Prisoner Steven Donziger Under House Arrest for One Year (RSVP required.

5 links from the past week

  • The New York Timesmultimedia presentation about the pandemic’s sweep through Brazil’s Amazon is unspeakably sad but a necessary historical marker, thanks to Tyler Hicks’s remarkable photos. What would be different, one wonders, if Brazilians had different leadership.
  • Six organizations (including WOLA), convened by the Latin America Working Group, published a “roadmap for transforming” U.S. relations with Central America’s Northern Triangle. It could hardly be more urgently needed. May the next administration take heed. (May there be a “next administration.”)
  • Bolivia’s unelected interim government suspended elections again this week, citing the coronavirus. Also this week, Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic and the University Network for Human Rights published a strong report on “gross human rights abuses” committed by the U.S.-backed interim government, starting with what it calls “Black November.”
  • Colombia’s U.S.-backed (a compound adjective I use a lot) forced coca eradication campaign is going full speed during the pandemic. With about six farmers/protesters killed since COVID-19 hit, the security forces accompanying eradicators appear to be more inclined to rough people up, to escalate situations, and to resort quickly to lethal force. I say “appear” because we don’t have a comprehensive picture yet, but read this account from the Guayabero River region of south-central Colombia, by La Liga Contra el Silencio, and draw your own conclusions.
  • The UN Office on Drugs and Crime published its full report on coca cultivation in Colombia in 2019, finding a modest decrease in acreage but consistent cocaine production. (I guess the remaining plants are getting taller.) Interestingly, the epicenter of cultivation has shifted from Tumaco in the far southwest to Catatumbo in the far northeast. (UNODC also released its 2019 Bolivia report this week.)
Older Posts
Get a weekly update in your e-mail:




This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.