I’ll be reachable for a little while mid-morning, and at the end of the day, and that’s about it. (How to contact me)
I’ve got a dentist appointment in the late morning, a mid-day call with groups working on the border, and an internal meeting to talk communications strategy, then in the late afternoon I’m taking a train to New York, where I’ll be on a panel tomorrow morning at John Jay College.
The killing comes just two weeks after Mainor Ortiz Delgado, 29, a leader of the Bribri indigenous people in neighbouring Salitre, was wounded in a gun attack, and less than a year since Sergio Rojas Ortiz, 59, was shot dead
The teen, a Mexican national, was playing with three friends in the concrete culvert that separates the two cities. They dared one another to cross the unmarked border, run up and touch the fence on the U.S. side, then run back to the Mexican side
As of April 2019, only about 77 acres of land in Webb County was between a border barrier and the Rio Grande. That’s compared with more than 10,000 acres in Hidalgo County and more than 12,000 in Cameron County
La Dgcim permanece constantemente en la mira de Naciones Unidas y organizaciones no gubernamentales por las continuas violaciones de derechos humanos que se les atribuyen a los funcionarios, dentro o fuera de su sede
The business elites are suspected of paying hefty bribes to the government officials in exchange for making loans in bolivars to the national oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., and then receiving repayments in dollars
This morning I’m meeting with a visiting group of Colombian human rights leaders and doing a phone interview about fumigation in Colombia. I’m having lunch with my new intern, and going to an NGO meeting at the UNHCR office in the late afternoon.
Las mujeres trabajan en los enclaves cocaleros como raspachinas, cocineras, cultivadoras y comercializadoras de la hoja o la pasta de coca. Pero, al contrario de los hombres que cumplen los mismos roles, siguen respondiendo por el cuidado del hogar y de sus hijos
Al mismo tiempo que la organización de las Farc sigue siendo parte de la lista de terroristas, porque, como sabemos, hay unas disidencias que todavía están involucradas en el narcotráfico y la violencia, apoyamos, como lo hicimos durante las negociaciones, la implementación del Acuerdo de Paz
They were returning on the morning of Jan. 17 when members of a regional gang called Los Ardillos — the Squirrels — stopped their two trucks on a remote road, forced everybody out and attacked them with knives
El problema con el Ejército ha sido el afán de Ortega de manipularlo, desvirtuando su independencia, junto con la complicidad en dicho esfuerzo de algunos cuadros superiores, en particular el general Avilés
“The United States would expect no less if the situation were reversed and a Mexican government agent, standing in Mexico and shooting across the border, had killed an American child standing on U.S. soil.”
Pervasive symptoms and behaviors consistent with trauma; most met diagnostic criteria for at least one mental health condition, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, or generalized anxiety disorder
When trying to understand peace accord implementation, security threats, and human rights in Colombia, we have to rely heavily on numbers to explain what’s happening. Whether you’re explaining reintegration of ex-combatants, pointing to coca cultivation trends, or advocating for more prosecutions of those masterminding social leaders’ murders, you often need numerical data. And the most current numbers can be hard to find.
In response to that need, a new section of our “colombiapeace.org” site—which I’ve been updating and improving over the past two weeks—just went live: a compendium of current numbers and statistics about peace, security, and human rights in Colombia. Each number has a link to the source document where we found it; the links are color-coded to indicate whether the source is an official document.
Right now, the page includes 85 individual bits of data, covering the following topics:
Attacks on Social Leaders
Coca and Eradication
Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration
FARC Political Future
Protection of Ex-Combatants
Stabilization and Rural Governance
This page will never be “done.” It’ll need constant updating. It will also receive additions: there are some basic bits of public information still missing, and some topics will get added to the list above. But at this point, the “numbers” page is good enough to share.
As of December 30, 2019, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights had verified303 murders of human rights defenders and social leaders between the signing of the FARC peace accord and the end of 2019.
The Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office (Defensoría) counts a higher number: 555 social leaders killed between January 1, 2016 and October 31, 2019. That is 133 cases in 2016, 126 cases in 2017, 178 cases in 2018, and 118 cases in 2019.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights counted up to 120 killings of human rights defenders and social leaders in 2019: as of January 14, 2020, 107 cases were verified and 13 more were undergoing verification.
Of these 107, 98%happened “in municipalities with illicit economies where criminal groups or armed groups operate.” 86% occurred “in villages with a poverty rate above the national average.”
In 2018, the UN High Commissioner’s office counted115 killings.
More than half of 2019 social-leader killings occurred in 4 departments: Antioquia, Arauca, Cauca, and Caquetá, though UN High Commissioner counted murders in 25 of Colombia’s 32 departments.
“The single most targeted group,” the UN High Commissioner reports, “was human rights defenders advocating on behalf of community-based and specific ethnic groups such as indigenous peoples and Afro-Colombians. The killings of female human rights defenders increased by almost 50% in 2019 compared to 2018.”
The UN High Commissioner’s office counted at least 10 killings during the first 13 days of January.
The NGO INDEPAZ counts51 social leaders murdered between January 1 and February 18, 2020.
INDEPAZ counted23 murders of social leaders in the month of December 2019.
On December 17, 2019, the Colombian Presidency’s human rights advisor, Francisco Barbosa (who is now Colombia’s Prosecutor-General) said that 84 social leaders were murdered in 2019, which he said was a 25% reduction from 2018.
As of January 2020, 59participants in coca crop substitution programs had been killed, according to the National Coordination of Coca, Poppy, and Marijuana Cultivators (COCCAM).
I’m out of contact this morning, lecturing to the Andean Republics class at the Foreign Service Institute, then having coffee with someone from the State Department. Except for a couple of interview calls with people doing research, I’ll be in the office this afternoon, mainly working on the renovated colombiapeace.org website, which is far along now.
For decades, Chilean women have gathered to stitch political works of art. Today, Chilean women are denouncing President Sebastián Piñera and the Chilean state with embroidery specifically responding to the nationwide protests
Los reportes de la Oficina de Naciones Unidas contra la Droga y el Delito – UNDOC- dan cuenta de la sostenibilidad de la sustitución. En realidad, constituyen pruebas contra la fumigación con glifosato
Miembros de la Policía Nacional y particularmente del Escuadrón Móvil Antidisturbios (Esmad) deben ser investigados por violaciones a los derechos humanos, cometidas contra civiles durante las protestas del paro nacional
When The Associated Press revealed the scale of Irizarry’s alleged wrongdoing last year, it sent shockwaves through the DEA, where his ostentatious habits and tales of raucous yacht parties with bikini-clad prostitutes were legendary
The gun battle between cops — some of them in uniform and others hooded and dressed in civilian clothing fighting alongside civilian protesters — and members of the newly revived Armed Forces of Haiti took place shortly after 1 p.m. on the Champ de Mars
The story behind Mr. Mendoza and Mr. Maduro’s truce, sealed in a previously unreported meeting in mid-2018, describes the rapprochement between Venezuela’s self-styled revolutionary government and the business class it waged war against
I’ve spent a lot of the last few days and nights making some big improvements to our underutilized “colombiapeace.org” website (read about those here).
I’d like to add more to it this week, but might not do much: it’s one of those “high season” weeks with 12 meetings (so far) and two speaking engagements on the calendar. I’ll be in New York on Friday giving a talk at John Jay College.
Today, I’ll be hard to contact because I’ll be in a morning staff meeting, a board meeting of the Andean Information Network, a coffee with the director of a Latin American think tank, and dinner with visiting Colombian human rights leaders who are giving a presentation at USIP.
The National Security Archive reveals documents showing that the CIA was the true co-owner of a supposedly Swiss cryptography company, whose equipment encrypted the communications of Latin American military regimes participating in “Operation Condor” in the 1970s. This means that the U.S. intelligence community had knowledge about the human rights abuses these regimes were committing—including a notorious 1976 car bombing in Washington—but did and said nearly nothing.
Colombia’s Semana magazine produced a detailed, richly photographed and videoed report about the humanitarian situation in Chocó. This predominantly Afro-Colombian and indigenous department in the country’s far northwest is convulsed by fighting between the ELN and the Gulf Clan paramilitary groups, with thousands of vulnerable community members caught in the middle and the armed forces largely at the margins. I was in Chocó in October and this report aligns with what I saw and heard.
The International Crisis Group produced a good report about the proliferation of armed groups throughout Venezuela. Outside of Caracas, the dominion of irregular groups now rivals that of rural Colombia. Except unlike Colombia, nearly all of these groups have tacit or explicit state support.
Also in Venezuela, Sarah Kinosian and Angus Berwick at Reuters zoom in on an extrajudicial execution in Miranda and find that the Maduro government’s most feared enforcer, the FAES police unit, has taken ex-convicts into its ranks to carry out brutal acts with impunity.
The Washington Post offers an on-the-ground update about what the Trump administration’s denial of the right to asylum at the border looks like right now. Arelis R. Hernández and Kevin Sieff find that the cruel “Remain in Mexico” program is being eclipsed by cruel flights to Guatemala and fast-track, zero due-process immigration hearings. The account of the Honduran man who felt compelled to send his 3-year-old son across the border bridge alone is heartbreaking.
Instead of allowing Central American migrants access to U.S. courts and having them wait in Mexican border towns, thegovernment instead is quickly sending them to Guatemala to pursue asylum claims there
Roughly 5,000 troops are currently stationed on the U.S.-Mexico border as part of a mission that began in late 2018, and officials have said that will wind down as new barriers secure hundreds of miles
Power in Venezuela is slipping away from state institutions and concentrating in the hands of criminals, guerrillas and other non-state actors. Any new negotiations between government and opposition must consider how to defang these armed irregulars