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.

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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.)

Some articles I found interesting this morning

Bladimir Sánchez, Voces del Guayabero photo at La Liga Contra el Silencio (Colombia). Caption: “Campesinos en la vereda Tercer Milenio, de Vista Hermosa, explicando su protesta a las fuerzas militares antes de que comenzaran a dispersarla con violencia.”

(Even more here)

July 31, 2020

Western Hemisphere Regional

A worrying new trend of banning politicians from running

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on trans women deprived of liberty has been disproportionate in comparison with other groups, particularly because of the diverse intersectionalities affecting their lives

One source, a senior administration official, described being “afraid” about whom President Trump may tap to replace Albence, describing Albence as someone who knows the agency inside out and was a barrier between ICE and pressures from the White House

Bolivia

Los resultados del monitoreo para el final de 2019 muestran un 10% de incremento de la superficie con cultivos de coca con respecto al mismo periodo del 2018

Colombia

Contra el uniformado figuran dos procesos activos a nivel penal: uno por peculado por apropiación y otro por tráfico de influencias. También tiene cuatro investigaciones disciplinarias en estudio preliminar

Palabras de Francisco de Roux durante la entrega, de parte del Ejército Nacional de Colombia, del informe ‘En surcos de dolores’

On the morning of July 6, many in Tasajera saw the fuel truck’s crash as an opportunity for some extra money

La campaña de erradicación de cultivos ilícitos que adelanta la Fuerza de Tarea Conjunta Omega en la región del río Guayabero deja heridos, hambre y miedo. Ninguna institución ha querido responder por esta violencia oficial

Líderes sociales expresan su preocupación por la facilidad con la que se mueven los grupos armados ilegales en veredas y corregimientos

Los uniformados de la policía antinarcóticos y un erradicador civil murieron al caer en un campo minado. Otros tres uniformados de la policía nacional resultaron heridos

Las tensiones al interior de la Comisión han aflorado públicamente a raíz de la filtración, este fin de semana, de una carta escrita por el comisionado y mayor retirado del Ejército Carlos Guillermo Ospina, calificando la cancelación de un evento de la Comisión el viernes pasado con militares como censura

La decisión se tomó luego de constatar la grave situación de vulneración a sus derechos fundamentales

Democrats in the House of Representatives are pushing back on President Trump’s escalation of the war on drugs and asking for an investigation into the use of U.S. funds in Colombia

Cuba

Due to pressure from the administration and fear of U.S. sanctions, the French bank Crédit Mutuel halted services to Fincimex, a Cuban company that controls remittances and is linked to the military

El Salvador

Bukele ha fabricado una realidad alternativa según la cual él es el único defensor del pueblo frente lo que llama “los mismos de siempre”, una categoría en la que incluye a cualquiera que exprese una crítica o no se pliegue a sus deseos

The Kidd conducted a brief stop to refuel in port Acajulta, marking the first time in nearly three years that a U.S. Navy warship has visited El Salvador

Honduras

Five Garífuna men were kidnapped on July 18 in Triunfo de la Cruz, Honduras. Miriam Miranda of the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras says authorities are complacent toward rising violence against the Garífuna people

Mexico

Andrew Selee, a longtime expert on Mexico at the Migration Policy Institute, said, “That’s incredible,” and added that they would “force us to rethink everything we thought we knew” about the recent anti-narcotics efforts in Mexico

Mexico has fallen behind in the amount of water it must send north from its dams under a 1944 treaty, but farmers in the northern state of Chihuahua want the water

Nicaragua

La situación de hacinamiento, incertidumbre, hambre, frío, lluvia, sol y falta de condiciones mínimas en la que se encuentran los más de 500 nicas califica como maltrato gubernamental y una grave violación a los derechos humanos

U.S.-Mexico Border

Data from USASpending.gov reveals that CBP has gone on a shopping spree as it looks to become a national police force

A teenage Guatemalan girl staying at a McAllen hotel was moved at midnight May 15 to another city hundreds of miles away

The river was hovering around the 19-foot-mark, but additional rains could easily send the river above the 21-foot mark, threatening the camp of about 1,200 asylum-seekers

Venezuela

El criminólogo Keymer Ávila indica que los sobornos o el matraqueo son algo predecible en el marco de la cuarenterna por discrecionalidad de los cuerpos armados

Gustavo Cárdenas and Jorge Toledo were released to house arrest on Thursday evening, days after a humanitarian visit to Caracas by former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and a team of nongovernment negotiators

Acting Assistant Secretary for U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs Michael Kozak told journalists in a call that the opening of the market shows this is like an alliance of “pariah” states

Some articles I found interesting this morning

Rafael Moreno / Cortes photo at El Espectador (Colombia). Caption: “El Ejército hace presencia en San José de Uré (Córdoba), lugar de la primera masacre.”

(Even more here)

July 30, 2020

Western Hemisphere Regional

Entre los países que registraron el mayor número de asesinatos se encuentran Brasil, México, Honduras, Guatemala, Venezuela y Nicaragua

Bolivia

While Añez’s legitimacy is questionable at best—the New York Times refers to her as a “caretaker leader”—she will be in power until further notice

Colombia

Espitia estuvo como jefe encargado del búnker durante un poco más de ocho meses, hasta que llegó al cargo el actual fiscal general Francisco Barbosa

Sin los votos de los partidos de oposición, la plenaria del Senado de la República, aprobó en la noche de éste miércoles los ascensos militares de seis altos oficiales, entre ellos el del comandante del Ejército

El presidente de la Comisión de la Verdad afirmó que su decisión de cancelar el evento que estaba organizando por el comisionado Carlos Ospina obedeció a que el coronel Hernán Mejía, condenado por “falsos positivos”, era ponente

The decision came after widespread national and international outcry

Sus riquezas naturales lo han convertido en un departamento disputado por varios grupos ilegales, especialmente dos derivados de las organizaciones paramilitares: los Caparros y las autodenominadas Autodefensas Gaitanistas

Hoy, el Ejército Nacional entrega 16 libros, seis casos y cuatro informes sobre lo que ocurrió en sus ocho divisiones durante el conflicto armado

The extrajudicial killing of my son burst the bubble I was living in. This pandemic is yet another test of our endurance and how big our hearts are to help those in need

El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras

Access to protection for migrants and refugees has been eviscerated and the United States has turned a blind eye towards corruption and human rights abuses in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador

U.S.-Mexico Border

Engineering experts said photos of damage from last weekend’s storms reinforce the idea that building and maintaining a border fence so close to the river poses serious challenges

“Tonk” (sometimes spelled “tonc”) is a slang CBP term for a migrant. It allegedly refers to the sound of hitting someone on the head with a flashlight

The hotel had entered into an agreement but was unaware that the room block, booked by the private contractor, would be used to house migrants in U.S. custody

On Wednesday at 2:15 p.m., engineers said the level of the river had risen to 19.37 feet at a downstream river gauge, prompting the camp past Puente Internacional to enter the “warning” phase of its evacuation plan

“We apprehend them, we give them a face mask and I ask them if they’re feeling any symptoms, ‘No I’m fine, this and that,’ and then we process them remotely without taking them to the station we’ll process them in a combined area, we process them in the field”

Venezuela

With Maduro still in power and in a position to manipulate the elections and their outcome there can be no free and fair election in Venezuela

Este taller, busca fomentar la difusión de la axiología militar, tan fundamental como el sentimiento patrio, nacionalismo, justicia, disciplina, responsabilidad, compromiso, humanismo, ética y moral

Venezuelan waters have been a recent stage for incidents between American and Bolivarian military forces. Could this all escalate into actual, frontal war?

Some articles I found interesting this morning

Luis Robayo / EFE photo at El Espectador (Colombia).

(Even more here)

July 29, 2020

Western Hemisphere Regional

Leaders ranging from the center-right to the far left have used the crisis as justification to extend their time in office, weaken oversight of government actions and silence critics

An IDB headed by an American – any American – would undermine its fundamental mission in a new inter-American system

“There are important policy reasons that may warrant the full rescission of the DACA policy”

DREAMers are facing limbo yet again as Trump explores ending DACA for a second time

Brazil

Many supporters of the ADPF lawsuit, who discussed it at a June 25 online panel, took in the news of Fachin’s order with caution given what they described as the justice system’s historic lack of control of police actions

The musician, 77, exiled to London under Brazil’s military dictatorship says he fears the president’s ‘ultra-reactionary bunch’ will not let go of power easily

Chile

Espina fue enfático en apoyar la labor de los militares y en indicar que las Fuerzas Armadas y de Orden no están desgastadas

Colombia

Se da desde hace ya años la primera condición para una negociación de paz exitosa (el impase mutuamente doloroso), pero falta la segunda condición, la disponibilidad para una negociación efectiva, ante todo, por parte del Eln

Colombia was the deadliest country for land rights activists in 2019, as killings of environmental defenders soared in the Andean country, according to a report published by advocacy group Global Witness

Water, for her, is more important than any financial consideration — in fact, it was this mentality that pushed her to study environmental legislation

>

Una orden de captura, restricción de movilidad o seguir libre son las opciones

The criminal lawsuit, filed by Ramírez on June 2, accuses McDermott of damaging the “moral integrity, good name, dignity and honor” of the vice president in an article that alleged a connection between Ramírez’s husband, Álvaro Rincón, and a suspected drug trafficker

La lideresa caucana a quien le hicieron una detonación de explosivo en su vehículo en la madrugada de este martes en el municipio de Patía

La Oficina de las Naciones Unidas contra la Droga y el Delito entregó un nuevo informe sobre la situación de los cultivos de uso ilícito en el país

Cuba

Cuban authorities committed numerous rights violations in June 2020 against people organizing a protest over police violence, effectively suppressing the demonstration

El Salvador

The truce’s main legacy is that it allowed the gangs to deal directly with those in power. Upon demonstrating their ability to control homicide rates, the MS13 and Barrio 18 began to negotiate with politicians

Guatemala

The Guatemalan government enacted a state of siege allegedly to restore order in areas affected by organized crime, but these claims were so vague that they raised questions about what ulterior motives may be at play

Mexico

El problema aquí es que el presidente sigue otorgándole espacios de poder a las fuerzas armadas que no tuvieron nunca; hay una militarización de áreas de Gobierno que históricamente estuvieron en manos civiles

Secretive leader of Jalisco New Generation cartel, who seeks treatment for kidney disease, currently seen as ‘public enemy No 1’

Nicaragua

250 de 667 muertos fueron enterrados el mismo día de su deceso, la mayoría por complicaciones respiratorias

Peru

El presidente Martín Vizcarra anunció que las Fuerzas Armadas apoyarán a la PNP en la contención de los brotes criminalidad, pero no se ha dado detalles de la medida

U.S.-Mexico Border

“I would have to go to the border and assess, if confirmed, to make a rational judgment at this time,” he told Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., in response to a question about moving DoD counter-narcotic funding

The mural is being planned as part of a “Defund the Wall, Fund Our Future” campaign from the No Border Wall Coalition

Venezuela

Rubén González, secretario general del sindicato de Ferrominera Orinoco, lleva 20 meses preso en la cárcel de La Pica

The Venezuelan military has ignored Guaidó’s calls to mutiny and, despite some defections, continues to provide crucial support to Maduro. Anti-government protests have petered out

Professor Keymer Ávila of the Institute of Criminal Sciences at the Central University of Venezuela discusses lethal state violence. Venezuelan security forces kill thousands of racialized and impoverished young people every year

Analysts say the pandemic has helped suck away the opposition’s already flagging support

Some articles I found interesting this morning

Camille Cohen photo at Golden Gate Xpress. Caption: “Hwaa Kuahan, 10, begs his mother, Martha Rodriguez, every day to join in protesting the border wall. Rodriguez is one of the protest leaders and a teacher of cultural practices at Kumeyaay community college. According to Rodriguez, sheallows him to join when there will not be dynamite involved in the construction process and she deems the day’s activities as safe.”

(Even more here)

July 28, 2020

Western Hemisphere Regional

US policy towards Latin America should prioritize cooperation, rule of law and climate change, among other considerations, writes a former Biden advisor

Detained families might once again be faced with the “binary choice” of releasing children to a sponsor and facing indefinite separation, or staying together inside

Brazil

It is only temporary—and poorly enforced—but the move does represent a first step in overcoming decades of brutality

An umbrella group of unions and social organizations representing more than 1 million Brazilian medical professionals have filed a complaint to the International Criminal Court in The Hague

Central America Regional, Nicaragua

Esto fue abordado en la reunión ordinaria del Consejo Superior de la Conferencia de las Fuerzas Armadas Centroamericanas (CFAC), realizada de forma virtual

Colombia

Un detallado informe de la Fiscalía revela la atroz radiografía de este delito. El documento cobra relevancia hoy, a propósito de la postura de algunos líderes

Tres frentes de batalla tiene abiertos esa antigua guerrilla: contra el Estado, ‘Los Rastrojos’ y ‘Los Pelusos’

La FIP revela en este informe los vacíos regulatorios y las fallas en los mecanismos de control de un mercado que sigue siendo muy dinámico

Two amendments to the annual US defense-spending bill rein in the use of aerial fumigation to eradicate cocaine and require reporting on allegations of abuses by Colombia’s military

Se trata de Arley Antonio Úsuga Torres, alias “07”, quien también es sobrino del narcotraficante Dairo Antonio Úsuga alias “Otoniel”

Mexico

La CNDH señaló a la Semar por la desaparición de 27 personas en Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, en 2018. Las familias siguen sin tener pistas y no hay ni una sola persona acusada formalmente

Mexican policymakers can find ways for the country to benefit from migrants’ social and economic contributions by taking into account their target populations and tailoring legal pathways to their specific needs and skills

The U.N. refugee agency said Monday it is setting up 48 temporary pre-fab housing units for refugees and asylum seekers in Mexico

El inmueble se encuentra en la comunidad jalisciense de El Alcíhuatl; por órdenes del capo, la atención médica sólo es para él, su equipo de seguridad y los habitantes locales

U.S.-Mexico Border

>

The Kumeyaay people are organizing themselves and outside volunteers in order to slow construction until their demands for adequate cultural protections are met, including soil testing

Bortac, a quasi-militarised outfit equivalent to the Navy Seals, has been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan

A group of 17 unaccompanied children will be allowed to make their cases in the US instead of being quickly expelled like thousands of immigrants have under a coronavirus policy

Venezuela

Maduro allowed the entire “promocion” of 1987, the cohort of military officers which graduated from training that year, to retire

La Asamblea Nacional informó que los diputados Gilber Caro y Renzo Prieto son víctimas de tortura en la sede de las Fuerzas de Acciones Especiales (FAES) de la Policía Nacional en Caracas

Delegados noruegos valoran que la campaña electoral en Estados Unidos rezagará cualquier solución a la crisis política venezolana, dicen fuentes familiarizadas con la visita

The Senators’ letter follows a years-long campaign pushing President Trump to use his executive authorities to designate Venezuela for TPS

Some articles I found interesting this morning

(Even more here)

CC. FF. AA. photo at El Comercio (Peru). Caption: “Avioneta siniestrada con placa boliviana, encontrada en una pista clandestina de Ucayali”https://elcomercio.pe/peru/pistas-clandestinas-detectan-mas-de-122-pistas-clandestinas-utilizadas-para-el-comercio-aereo-del-narcotrafico-comando-conjunto-de-las-fuerzas-armadas-drogas-cocaina-nnpp-noticia/?foto=2

July 27, 2020

Brazil

An ongoing legal challenge against police violence in Rio’s favelas produced a number of critical decisions in Brazil’s Supreme Court

As the pandemic assails Brazil, the virus is taking an exceptionally high toll on the Amazon region

Colombia

El Gobierno, en cabeza de la vicepresidenta Marta Lucía Ramírez, anunció la creación de una mesa de trabajo conjunto para revisar los casos de violencia contra la mujer en las Fuerzas Militares

Eso es pretender tapar el sol con las manos y les propina una cachetada a las víctimas

Hace meses que estoy en un doble confinamiento. Ahora protegiéndome del virus, pero antes andaba esquivando las amenazas de muerte y los atentados con que han intentado acallar mi voz

En El Salado fueron asesinadas 66 personas entre el 16 y el 21 de febrero del 2000. SEMANA reconstruye cómo se planeó y ejecutó la peor masacre cometida por los paramilitares

Hasta tanto no se realice un proceso de consulta previa con los representantes del resguardo Inda Sabaleta, en Tumaco, no se podrán ejecutar dichos operativos que en abril de este año ocasionaron la muerte en ese resguardo de un comunero indígena

La llegada del exjefe paramilitar Salvatore Mancuso a Colombia y su intención de confesar y colaborar con la justicia significarán otro gran golpe judicial a la familia del expresidente y senador Álvaro Uribe Vélez

El hombre, que lleva 30 años al margen de la ley, fue captruado en Maicao

El ex jefe de la guerrilla y actual líder político del Partido FARC respondió a la polémica creada por la negación de los líderes de esa colectividad del reclutamiento infantil

Este es el frente tras el que iba el Black Hawk que se precipitó a tierra en Guaviare el pasado miércoles, dejando un saldo de 11 militares fallecidos. Se trata del primero que se separó del proceso de paz y hoy es el cerebro de las operaciones de narcotráfico en el sur del paíshttps://www.elespectador.com/resizer/hAFrr4uVGn-KSSSlUGh7Qlxq394=/657×0/cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/elespectador/MTQN5SXJ7JEC7ILBMJMTZCXGUM.jpg

A toxic slate of leftist guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries and drug cartels are using the outbreak to consolidate control

Llevamos casi 20 años de apoyo de EE. UU. tratando de profesionalizar las instituciones de seguridad en Colombia y seguimos recibiendo reporte de que las mismas cosas que nos preocupaban hace dos décadas siguen pasando

En diálogo con El Espectador, James McGovern, representante demócrata, habló de su propuesta de que Colombia rinda cuentas sobre el uso de recursos de Estados Unidos en labores ilegales de inteligencia militar

Costa Rica, Nicaragua

Nicaragua sent a contingent of riot police to the Peñas Blancas border post, which it shares with Costa Rica, where, after being refused entry, a group of Nicaraguan migrants trying to return home blocked the passage of truck traffic

Guatemala

Unidades del Ejército localizaron hoy en horas de la madrugada, a 14 kilómetros del municipio de El Chal, Petén una aeronave abandonada y en llamas que transportaba ilícitos

Se consultó al MINTRAB sobre si existe una actualización del acuerdo y si hay guatemaltecos beneficiados por el mismo, pero al cierre de edición de esta nota aún no habían respondido a la solicitud realizada vía WhatsApp

Mexico

La administración de recursos se opacaría, aseguran activistas y académicos

Peru

Existen más de 122 pistas de aterrizaje clandestinas entre destruidas y rehabilitadas, ubicadas en diversos puntos de la Selva Central

U.S.-Mexico Border

For a year and a half, correspondent John Holman walked with Central Americans, witnessing first-hand the cycle of hope and despair

“Not many tents have been destroyed, luckily. However, the rains continue, so that may not be the case, you know, after today”

Venezuela

El suceso ocurrió la tarde de este sábado, 25 de julio, cuando las personas en una cola por gasolina en Aragua de Barcelona, Anzoátegui, protestaron por razones que no han sido esclarecidas

Carlos Chaparro, 47, died of a shot allegedly fired by a member of the National Guard as a crowd decried the shortage of fuel at a service station in the town of Aragua de Barcelona

Eduardo Rivas salió de la nada para consagrarse como el zar de la explotación del oro, el último maná que permite obtener divisas para las arcas del Gobierno después del colapso de la industria petrolera

La acción de la guerrilla, los paramilitares y las bandas delincuenciales con alto poder de fuego, se acentuó en los estados fronterizos venezolanos entre abril y julio

Latin America-related Online Events This Week

Tuesday, July 28

Wednesday, July 29

  • 10:30–12:00 at wilsoncenter.org: Report Launch and Conversation on U.S.-Mexico Relations with Current and Former Ambassadors(RSVP required).
  • 11:00–12:00 at wola.org: Rising Corruption and Undermining Rule of Law in Latin America (RSVP required).
  • 12:00 at Zoom: Pandemia y autoritarismo: retos de la libertad de prensa en el norte de Centroamérica (RSVP required).
  • 3:00–4:30 at refugeesinternational.org: Voices from the Border: Humanitarians and Missing Migrants (RSVP required).

Thursday, July 30

Friday, July 31

5 Links from the Past Week

  • Here’s Protect Colombia’s Peace, a thorough snapshot of the current moment in Colombia’s peace process, and a series of perfectly reasonable recommendations for U.S. policy toward Latin America’s third most-populous nation. I wrote bits of this collaboration between more than 20 organizations. (While I’m linking to things I wrote last week, don’t miss last Monday’s analysis of what the pandemic is doing to the region’s already precarious civil-military relations.)
  • Almost nobody in Laredo, Texas wants a border wall obstructing the city’s riverfront. At The Texas Observer, Gus Bova surveys a wide variety of residents’ views of this incredibly unpopular project.
  • A collaboration between Mexico’s SinEmbargo and DemocraciaAbierta seeks to put a human face on some of the 133 journalists murdered in the country so far this century.
  • Texas Public Radio, meanwhile, brings in reports from journalists in the Rio Grande Valley, El Paso, and Mexico City to detail the miserable human cost of the Trump administration’s assault on the right to asylum.
  • From Vanda Felbab-Brown at the Brookings Institution, a very clear-headed exploration of “policy options for responding to the supply of heroin and synthetic opioids from Mexico to the United States.”

Some articles I found interesting this morning

Photo from Nicaragua Investiga (Nicaragua). Caption: “Desde septiembre de 2018, la Policía Nacional declaró como ilegales las manifestaciones opositoras y solo permite las manifestaciones del partido de gobierno”

(Even more here)

July 24, 2020

Western Hemisphere Regional

Government officials are accused of exploiting the pandemic to award contracts to campaign donors and steal from public funds

Bolivia

El Tribunal Supremo Electoral determinó ayer que se moverán para el 18 de octubre

Chile

The U.S. State Department has cleared Chile to purchase modernization upgrades for its F-16 fleet, with a potential $634 million price tag

Colombia

Habría varios miembros de la Fundación que estarían siendo perfilados por sectores de las Fuerzas Militares

Colombia has introduced the possibility of a lifetime jail sentence for the rape or murder of children, following shocking allegations of child sexual assault by members of the military

La Fiscalía anunció avances en la investigación que se adelanta por el homicidio del líder social Temístocles Machado, ocurrido el 27 de enero de 2018, en Buenaventura

Operations to forcibly eradicate coca crops in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic are a death sentence for rural communities

Hasta tanto no se realice un proceso de consulta previa con los representantes del resguardo Inda Sabaleta, en Tumaco, no se podrán ejecutar dichos operativos que en abril de este año ocasionaron la muerte en ese resguardo de un comunero indígena

Con este incidente, la División de Aviación del Ejército ha perdido 8 aeronaves en los últimos 5 años, ya sea por accidentes o acción directa de un grupo armado ilegal

Este grupo armando ilegal controla el corredor sur del país entre los departamentos de Guaviare, Vaupés, Meta, Caquetá y Vichada. Su líder: Néstor Gregorio Vera, alias “Iván Mordisco”

Protect Colombia’s Peace, a report urging the U.S. government to adopt the full implementation of the peace accords as its principal diplomatic message for Colombia

El Latin America Working Group, junto con otras 23 organizaciones estadounidenses y colombianas, publicaron el informe “Protejan la paz en Colombia”

La versión de la senadora y excombatiente Sandra Ramírez sobre algunos crímenes de la guerrilla carece de lógica y es una afrenta más a las víctimas

Colombia, Venezuela

Pese al cierre de la frontera, una nueva ola migratoria de venezolanos está llegando a Colombia

Ecuador

El Gobierno ecuatoriano advirtió a China que hará respetar su soberanía marítima alrededor del Archipiélago de las Galápagos, a unos 1.000 kilómetros de la costa continental, ante la proximidad a esas aguas de una flota pesquera

El Salvador

El exministro de Defensa David Munguía Payés fue detenido el jueves luego de que el Ministerio Público de El Salvador girara una orden de captura por su participación en la tregua entre las pandillas

Haiti

Chérizier has emerged as the mastermind of the “G9 an Fanmi,” (G9 and Family), an alliance brokered in June between at least nine gangs in Port-au-Prince

Mexico

El senador Julen Rementería del Puerto precisó que el artículo 129 de la Constitución establece que en tiempos de paz “ninguna autoridad militar puede ejercer más funciones que las que tengan exacta conexión con la disciplina militar”

En su carta de renuncia como titular de la Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes (SCT), Javier Jiménez Espriú manifiesta su preocupación por la grave trascendencia de trasladar las funciones “eminentemente civiles” de los puertos “al ámbito militar”

Nicaragua

Existe temor por la reacción que puedan tener fanáticos sandinistas que suelen estar armados y tomar acciones violentas

U.S.-Mexico Border

Border-hugging spring and its pond are sacred to Hia C-ed O’odham and the Tohono O’odham people

The rejection from House Democrats doesn’t stop DHS from reshuffling the money, and Roybal-Allard‘s letter doesn’t fully detail how DHS plans to spend the redirected $169 million

Udelsman said he went to the fourth floor of the hotel and was confronted by three large men who asked to see his and a fellow activist’s badges

Three reporters — from the Rio Grande Valley, El Paso and Mexico City — took a deep dive on how this CDC order affects the lives of asylum-seeking migrants by examining how it’s being implemented along the Texas-Mexico border

Venezuela

Aunque sin muchos datos de las operaciones, el Comando de la Defensa Aeroespacial Integral ha neutralizado nueve narcoaeronaves desde durante la cuarentena; una medida permitida al componente armado cuando exista la presunción de narcotráfico

Is opposition politics even possible in Venezuela in 2020?

Some articles I found interesting this morning

COFP photo at El Espectador (Colombia). Caption: “Cerca de 5.763 ejecuciones extrajudiciales ocurrieron entre 2002 y 2010.”

(Even more here)

July 23, 2020

Brazil

Brazil’s quilombolas, the descendants of African slaves, worry more about his power to block their efforts to secure the rights to land they have inhabited for generations – something Bolsonaro has repeatedly said he wants to prevent

We asked every expert we spoke to for their score out of 10. (1 is the extremely poor and 10 is ideal.) It’s an extremely subjective measurement, but the average across all of them was 3

Chile

MST topics included review of upcoming scheduled warfighting operations and exercises over the next two years, and plans for education and training opportunities for Chilean personnel in the U.S., and U.S. personnel in Chile

Colombia

Los casos de las mujeres víctimas del conflicto tienen un 98 % de impunidad, según el Centro Internacional de Justicia Transicional

Central America Regional, Mexico

El fideicomiso Fondo México, encargado de gestionar las ayudas de 30 millones de pesos a Centroamérica para implementar programas sociales, será extinguido sin que Honduras y El Salvador hayan recibido un peso

Mexico

El cartel de Santa Rosa de Lima puso a Guanajuato en el escenario del crimen organizado. Hidalgo va en esa ruta, aunque todavía no hay un grupo único, las células locales se pelean la zona

Alternative livelihood efforts have the best chance to improve public safety and rule of law in Mexico, even if, like eradication, they displace poppy cultivation to other areas

The following article features 10 obituaries of journalists killed in Mexico in 2019. They are some of the 133 journalists who have been killed between 2000 and 2020

U.S.-Mexico Border

The Border Patrol has been allowed to wield power in a similar manner along the border for decades, with often deadly consequences for Latinos

Venezuela

It is time for the United States to stop being part of the problem and be part of an international effort to address ongoing humanitarian catastrophe

Some articles I found interesting this morning

Laiken Jordahl photo at Cronkite News. Caption: “Laiken Jordahl, who’s with the Center for Biological Diversity in Tucson, shared pictures of saguaros that have been felled at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument near Ajo.”

(Even more here)

July 22, 2020

Western Hemisphere Regional

The authoritarian tactics we’ve exported around the world in the name of national security are now being deployed in Portland

One was instructed to crank the AC to “freeze out” high-fever detainees who ICE wanted to deport

Argentina

El Presidente destacó la labor de 60 mil hombres y mujeres en la lucha contra el coronavirus, en el marco de la denominada operación Manuel Belgrano. “Esto habla de las Fuerzas Armadas que nosotros queremos”, afirmó

Colombia

Pueden presentarse repercusiones, como pérdida de beneficios, siempre y cuando Ejército o Gobierno no hagan correcciones necesarias y no exista justicia en casos relacionados con actividades ilegales

El exmandatario, férreo opositor a lo acordado en La Habana (Cuba), saludó la elección de la senadora como segunda vicepresidenta y destacó en ella su coherencia y una discusión argumentada

El Observatorio de Tierras de la Universidad Nacional y de la Universidad del Rosario documentó 95 incidentes entre la fuerza pública y campesinos entre diciembre de 2016 y julio de 2020

Autoridades insisten en que el derecho a la participación se puede dar a través de la virtualidad. Con este, van dos decisiones falladas a favor de las comunidades

Se dieron a conocer enmiendas en torno a la fumigación y el espionaje a civiles

Colombia, Venezuela

La presidenta de la subcomisión de asuntos fronterizos de la Asamblea Nacional (AN), Gabriela Arellano, denunció que entre 20.000 y 25.000 hombres armados se disputan el control de los recursos en territorio de los estados fronterizos, especialmente Bolívar

El Salvador

While certainly headline-grabbing and criminal, the details of the indictment do not justify the US government’s argument to charge the leader with terrorism

Guatemala

El Ministerio Público (MP) compartió en su cuenta oficial de Twitter una foto y un breve texto que despertaron preocupación dentro y fuera de Guatemala sobre las operaciones de inteligencia del Ejército

The new anti-corruption entity in Guatemala is likely to serve as a smokescreen, one that will only tie up and siphon resources away from prosecutors and judges already battered after years of fighting high-level graft

Honduras

María Luisa Borjas was convicted of defamation and sentenced to nearly three years in prison for naming Camilo Atala, president of Ficohsa bank, as a suspected mastermind in the 2016 killing of environmental activist Berta Caceres

Mexico

The commission also said marines engaged in “illegal searches and arbitrary detentions.” The commission issued non-binding recommendation that criminal investigations be opened

El año pasado recibió poco más del promedio de la década reciente, y en el actual se le concedió una ampliación (de 27 a 47 millones de pesos), pero muy por debajo de lo requerido, del orden de 124 millones

El CJNG debiera ser prioridad para el gobierno de Andrés Manuel López Obrador. En esta organización criminal recae buena parte de la violencia que se genera en México

Since 2000, 133 journalists have been murdered in Mexico. 10 of them in 2019. Meanwhile, impunity wins in 99% of cases

A un mes de la masacre de 15 indígenas Ikoots en Huazantlán del Río, no hay justicia y los asesinos andan libres

Recuérdese que en México dos terceras partes de los asesinatos se cometen con armas de fuego

Peru

El hallazgo de campamentos confirma que las operaciones mineras ilícitas continúan en las zonas protegidas de Madre de Dios

U.S.-Mexico Border

The border wall construction continues despite multiple legal challenges from conservation groups who claim biodiversity is being altered and environmental laws ignored to fast-track construction

Undertrained, unaccountable, and emboldened: a powder keg waiting to explode

The Trump administration is detaining immigrant children as young as 1 in hotels, sometimes for weeks, before deporting them to their home countries under policies that have effectively shut down the nation’s asylum system

Venezuela

Hay un total de 364 detenidos del sexo masculino y 30 del sexo femenino. Si se observa la ficha, pero desde el punto de vista de civiles y militares, se puede apreciar que hay 268 civiles y 126 presos que están relacionados con el mundo militar

The cases we have recorded show how the pandemic has been used as a mechanism for social, political and economic control during quarantine

When the police kill young men in Venezuela, often their mothers are the only ones who seek justice. Institutional barriers to accountability have increased during the pandemic

El embajador de EE.UU. ante la OEA, Carlos Trujillo, aludió al Tratado de Río para recordar de que todos los países que forman parte de ese pacto han señalado que el gobierno en disputa de Nicolás Maduro supone una amenaza para la paz y la estabilidad

In Latin America, COVID-19 Risks Permanently Disturbing Civil-Military Relations

“Across Latin America, the COVID-19 pandemic is embedding the armed forces more deeply into citizens’ daily lives,” reads an analysis from me that was just posted to WOLA’s website. “At a time when it’s more important than ever to rethink the role of policing and the accountability of public security forces to the people they protect, this militarization of public security is greatly concerning because it will be difficult to reverse.”

In many Latin American democracies that have spent decades trying to leave military dictatorships behind, COVID-19 has put soldiers back on the streets playing roles ranging from handing out food to enforcing curfews. Once this is over, will the region be able to put this toothpaste back into the tube? Read on.

In the meantime, here’s a text box that appears in the piece that I think even non-Latin Americanists will find useful.

Key differences between militaries and police forces

Though exceptions exist, with several listed below, some of the characteristics that distinguish military and police forces include the following.

Police seek to de-escalate situations, using force—especially lethal force—only as a last resort. Combat demands that militaries escalate quickly and use overwhelming force to defeat an enemy.

Police tend to carry much lighter weaponry than military forces.

Police tend to live among the population, and constant interaction with them is central to their work. Military personnel tend to live in barracks and bases or otherwise separate from society as a whole. In countries that maintain a sharp division between military and police roles, citizens rarely come across armed, uniformed soldiers.

Police are expected to respond quickly to citizens’ calls for assistance, often through emergency call centers. Armed forces may respond to some calls for help, but do not maintain this response capacity.

Police forces include detectives and other specialists in investigating crimes after the fact, and all are trained in preserving crime scenes, respecting rules of evidence, and otherwise coordinating with the criminal justice system. Military forces have little or no criminal investigative capacity.

Police who commit human rights abuses tend to be tried in the regular criminal justice system. Military personnel who commit international humanitarian law violations tend to be tried in a separate military justice system. In countries that employ militaries for public security, how to investigate and prosecute military personnel who violate fellow citizens’ rights is nearly always a controversial topic.

Police tend to operate at or near capacity, immersed in daily duties with little opportunity or capacity for planning. When not at war, militaries maintain much excess capacity, with soldiers trained and equipment maintained to a state of “readiness” while officers draw up contingency plans.

Exceptions to these distinctions exist, and many of them have emerged or evolved in the past 50 or 60 years. Many of them blur the lines dangerously between military and policing missions. They include:

  • Military police, peacekeeping, or national guard units that, while military, keep order in emergencies or in overseas territorial occupations.
  • Special Operations Forces, or military personnel who may be trained to relate to populations or “win hearts and minds” while seeking to stabilize territory or carry out “operations other than war.”
  • Police Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) or commando units that use escalated force and heavy weapons against lawbreakers believed to be heavily armed.
  • Gendarmeries, constabularies, or border guards that tend to be more mobile, more heavily armed, and more hierarchically organized than police, and are often expected to operate in sparsely populated and lightly governed rural areas.

For more, see WOLA’s 2010 report Preach What You Practice: The Separation of Police and Military Roles in the Americas.

Some articles I found interesting this morning

Ash Ponders photo at National Geographic. Caption: “Contractors with Southwest Valley Constructors work on the concrete base of the border wall near Lukeville, Arizona, in September 2019. Customs and Border Patrol previously estimated construction in this area used up to 710,000 gallons per mile of fence. More may be necessary now.”

(Even more here)

July 21, 2020

Western Hemisphere Regional

Almagro’s statements suggest continuation of the relatively narrow focus of his first term – heavy on driving political change in leftist countries that coincide with policy priorities of the United States and right-leaning governments in the hemisphere

Bolivia

El ministro de Defensa, Luis Fernando López, instó este lunes a la apertura de una “tregua política” ante la difícil situación que atraviesa el país frente a la pandemia del Covid-19

El Ejecutivo dio cumplimiento a su decreto sin esperar el trámite en el Legislativo. Se procedió a la imposición de grados y a la entrega de bastones de mando, sables y espadas

Duque then adopted a litigator’s bearing, listing specific clauses of the agreement that his administration fulfilled in 24 months in office, and that Santos’ had not advanced on in 20 months since signing the accords

Esta masacre ocurrió el pasado sábado 18 de julio, ese mismo día y en esa misma zona dos soldados murieron y otros ocho resultaron heridos en un ataque que fue atribuido al Ejército de Liberación Nacional

La masacre que cometieron estos últimos el sábado pasado, deja hasta ahora siete personas muertas y 400 desplazadas. Según testimonios de la zona, los hombres iban dotados de armas largas

Colombia, Venezuela

Miguel Ceballos, alto comisionado para la Paz del Gobierno colombiano, calificó como grave y preocupante el video en el que un emisario de la guerrilla del Eln le jura lealtad a Nicolás Maduro

Honduras

OACNUDH considera importante que las autoridades incluyan dentro de sus líneas de investigación la labor de defensores de derechos humanos que las cuatro personas desempeñan en su comunidad

Mexico

El hecho de que estas cosas se repitan una y otra vez son una muestra de la debilidad estructural del Estado mexicano. Eso es lo que deberíamos de estar discutiendo

Poco a poco se desmonta la mentira histórica de la cual fueron cómplices Jesús Murillo Karam, Tomás Zerón, la PGR, Enrique Peña Nieto. Poco a poco se reivindican los informes del Grupo Interdisciplinario de Expertos Independientes

Esta mañana, durante su conferencia de prensa, el Mandatario se lanzó contra la prensa y periodistas que compararon a la caravana con un ejército, dado que era cerca de 75 personas armadas a bordo de los tanques y vehículos tipo militar

Aunque la Guardia Nacional fue fundada en marzo de 2019, hasta el mes pasado se inició con la capacitación de sus mandos

New government figures show the number of homicides in Mexico has grown during the new coronavirus pandemic, including a 9.2% spike in killings of women

“I respect President Trump’s point of view,” López Obrador told reporters during a daily press conference

Mexico, U.S.-Mexico Border

Patients did eventually come from Mexico to U.S. border states, but they weren’t rushing an insecure border — they crossed legally seeking treatment

Nicaragua

Sin mencionar el coronavirus, el caudillo responsabilizó a los ciudadanos de las muertes por neumonía y problemas respiratorios

Orozco resume los hallazgos principales de la encuesta en la fuerte caída de popularidad de Ortega y el FSLN, con un desplome por debajo del 20%

U.S.-Mexico Border

The terrain along this stretch of Arizona’s border with Sonora is far more challenging than other border wall projects in the state, most of which have taken place on relatively flat terrain

A border wall is headed for Laredo—and the only thing likely to stop it is time

Water flow is at an all-time low at Quitobaquito Springs, a culturally vital oasis home to two endangered species next to the U.S.-Mexico border

Venezuela

El comisionado para los derechos humanos, designado por Juan Guaidó, Humberto Prado, presentó este lunes 20 de julio su informe de DDHH 2019

La oposición debe hacer un esfuerzo realista para reformular el conflicto

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