El enfoque territorial se quedó en el discurso, mientras que la acción institucional adoptó un enfoque familiar de corto plazo, tal y como ha ocurrido con otros programas en el marco del Plan Colombia y el Plan Consolidación
I’ll be at a Colombia-related meeting this morning at the U.S. Institute of Peace. Then I have an errand (time to renew my driver’s license after 10 years). Then I’ll be in the office, writing about Colombia. I have to leave a bit early for a “parents’ orientation” at the high school where my kid will be a freshman as of next week.
As drug-fueled violence reaches unprecedented levels in Tijuana, the city’s top safety official calls for automatic detention of anyone caught with weapons—drawing criticism from advocates of Mexico’s new criminal justice system
The new plans include putting greater emphasis on attacking cartels’ financial infrastructure. Plans also call for a new enforcement group based in Chicago that will concentrate on international investigations of cartels
Azucena Rodriguez Zamora, who was elected to the lower house of Congress for the eastern state of Veracruz, was driving on a highway in the neighboring state of Hidalgo when gunmen in another car opened fire on her vehicle
Those fleeing — about 7 percent of Venezuela’s 32.8 million people — cite lack of food as the main reason for leaving. U.N. humanitarian officials report that 1.3 million of those who fled were “suffering from malnourishment”
I’m in the office again. Yesterday I finished a near-final draft of our third and final report on the state of the U.S.-Mexico border and migration, based on our June Arizona trip (here’s parts one and two). I’m sure colleagues here will suggest changes, then we’ll get it up next week. Today I hope to do a lot of overdue research and writing about Colombia.
La primera cuestión que debe definirse con precisión, ya que el decreto no la aborda, es qué significado y alcance tiene el concepto de “apoyo logístico” provisto por las Fuerzas Armadas a las fuerzas de seguridad
Speaking to reporters while traveling to Brazil Sunday, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said Russian and Chinese involvement in South America has had “zero impact” on military-to-military relationships with America’s Latin partners
Al menos 76 excombatientes de la antigua insurgencia han sido asesinados entre noviembre de 2016, mes de la firma del Acuerdo de Paz, y junio de 2018. Las muertes han ocurrido en 18 departamentos del país
Según informó la cartera de Defensa, el siguiente paso a la activación de los protocolos es la entrega, por parte del Eln, de las coordenadas para proceder a la liberación de las personas que se encuentran secuestradas
El exsubdirector del DAS fue encontrado responsable de instigar el crimen del periodista. Después de 19 años del asesinato, el juez séptimo penal de circuito lo encontró responsable en calidad de determinador
El ingeniero Francisco Herrera fue interceptado cuando conducía a su trabajo, en la ciudad de Tampico, Tamaulipas, en 2015; sus teléfonos registraron actividad en coordenadas que corresponden exactamente con la ubicación del Campo Militar Número 1
Cuatro estudiantes nicaragüenses que la semana pasada estuvieron en Guatemala participando de una actividad académica, explican desde sus posiciones en resistencia, los orígenes de la crisis política que vive Nicaragua desde abril pasado
the administration has an opening this week to demonstrate commitment to our core principles by stating its opposition to the militarization of law enforcement, which represents a challenge to liberal democracy across much of Latin America
Las nuevas amenazas afectan especialmente algunas vulnerabilidades del Estado, ya sean estas deficiencias en los controles migratorios, la indulgencia ante tráficos ilegales, o la complicidad con actores violentos. Y ellas no se neutralizan con una fuerza armada
En una decisión inédita, un juez federal de distrito ordenó a la Procuraduría General de la República (PGR) que rencause el expediente de la masacre de Tlatlaya ante la ineficacia y las omisiones cometidas en su investigación
El equipo de fuerzas especiales compuesto por efectivos del Ejército, la Marina y la FAP fue insertado la semana pasada en Canayre con el propósito expreso de ubicar y neutralizar definitivamente al grupo narcoterrorista
This week, Sabraw seemed happier with the government’s progress, saying during a status conference on the case that it was clear the government had put “an enormous amount of work” into finding the parents over the past week
This morning, in addition to the weekly staff meeting and check-ins, I need to fix an authentication glitch in the server running defenseoversight.wola.org, my database of things. Hopefully won’t take too long, but you never know. Otherwise, I want to edit and approve the draft of our third and final report on the state of the U.S.-Mexico border and migration, based on our June Arizona trip (here’s parts one and two).
With Congress (mostly) gone, universities out, and a fraction of people on vacation, August is one of the slowest times of the year in Washington, rivaled only by late December. It’s way easier to get a parking space, or a table in a restaurant, than it normally is.
At work, it’s a good time to catch up with people who are in town, to make plans and clear out inboxes, to do writing, coding, or other projects that require uninterrupted blocks of time, and to read books and reports that have been sitting in nearby piles for too long. I hope to do a bit of all of that this week, as long as no emergencies arise.
Militares tras la pista del mando militar conocido como camarada “Antonio”, autor de la emboscada que acabó con la vida de 4 policías en Anco (Huancavelica). Terroristas responden con disparos a helicóptero
President-elect Iván Duque and Senate President Ernesto Macías gave very different addresses at Duque’s inauguration on Tuesday. (EFE photo at El Espectador.)
Inauguration day in Colombia, August 7, will be remembered for two speeches that left observers scratching their heads about what direction the new government of President Iván Duque will take the country.
Duque gave an hourlong speech listing dozens of policy priorities. There were so many, it was hard to pick out those he viewed as most important. The speech’s tone, though, was conciliatory and optimistic. Duque is viewed as a center-right politician, one of the most moderate members of a mostly hardline conservative political party (ex-president Álvaro Uribe’s “Democratic Center”). The speech highlighted Duque’s centrism.
He was preceded, though, by a half-hour diatribe from Democratic Center politician Ernesto Macías, who for the next year will be the president of Colombia’s Senate. Macías’s speech bore little resemblance to Duque’s. It had lots of red meat for the far-right wing of Duque’s party: much of it was a lengthy, blistering attack on the outgoing government of ex-president Juan Manuel Santos. The speech was roundly criticized by Bogotá’s political establishment; some pro-Santos senators even got up and left the inauguration ceremony.
The two contrasting speeches showed the incoming government’s “good cop bad cop” or “Jekyll and Hyde” nature. A 42-year-old moderate president with a thin political resume is ruling with the support of a party, and a congressional bloc, that is well to his right and often seems more beholden to ex-president, now Senator, Uribe.
Here, translated into English, is what Duque and Macías had to say about several topics important for Colombia’s peace process and U.S. policy.
On “Correcting” the FARC peace accord
Duque: Out of respect for Colombia and for the citizen mandate that we have received, we will deploy corrective measures to assure the victims truth, proportional justice, that they may also receive effective reparation, and that there may be no repetition anywhere in the territory.
We will also correct structural failures that have become evident in the implementation [of the accords].
Macías: On the Havana Accords, we have to turn the page on the previous government dividing us between friends and enemies of peace. We Colombians are all friends of peace. During the plebiscite of October 2016, convened by the Government, the citizens mostly voted no to the Havana Agreements, but the government of ex-president Santos refused to modify them and, on the contrary, ignored the popular mandate.
This new Congress of the Republic has the responsibility to modify and adjust them to restore the rule of law and return to Colombians the trust lost in their institutions. We must recover legality. We always believed that, in order to sign this agreement, it was not necessary to tear the Constitution or the institutions to shreds, because in Colombia there has not been a civil war or an armed conflict, but a terrorist threat against the state. For this reason, it is urgent to move ahead with the necessary modifications, without falling into the fanaticism of destroying the accords.
Notes:Both Duque and Macías are outspoken critics of the FARC peace accord. Here, though, only Macías uses the inauguration as an opportunity to voice these criticisms. Both call for corrections or modifications to the accord without offering specifics, much less explaining how to “correct” it without destroying it. They are probably referring mainly to tightening the conditions of punishment for ex-FARC members found guilty of war crimes, and preventing FARC members from holding political office while facing war crimes trials.
On illicit crops:
Duque: We’re going to be effective in the eradication and substitution of illicit crops, together with communities, as well as in the launching of productive projects. We’re going to break narcotrafficking structures’ logistical supply chains.
Macías: Today you receive a country with the dishonorable record of being the number-one coca producer in the world, with more than 210,000 hectares planted and a production of 921 metric tons of cocaine. Regarding the worrying increase of illicit crops in Colombia, we celebrate your announcements, President Duque, to combat them decisively without contemplations. The mere act of doing away with voluntary eradication, which is not complied with, and if necessary returning to fumigation, is a hopeful advance.… We must assume decisively the policy of eradication and substitution of illicit crops, and to do it with the support of that great ally of Colombia: the United States. A country with which, in addition, we have to permanently strengthen our relations.
Notes:It’s interesting that Duque didn’t give specific mention to increasing forced eradication of coca crops, including through herbicide fumigation. He has been on record supporting that. Macías not only supports renewing the fumigation program that was suspended in 2015, he would abandon the voluntary eradication effort launched in 2017 in compliance with chapter 4 of the FARC peace accord.
On the ELN peace talks:
Duque: I want to be clear. During the first 30 days of our government we will make a judicious, prudent and analytical evaluation of the last 17 months of talks that the outgoing government has advanced with the ELN. We are going to meet with the United Nations, with the Catholic Church and the countries that have been supporting this process, so that in the framework of institutional independence they may give us their opinion about it.
But I want to make clear, I want to make absolutely clear, that a credible process must be based on the total cessation of criminal actions, with strict international supervision, and defined time periods. We want to move forward, but in order to move forward we must make very clear that the Colombian people will not be intimidated by violence or be pressured by any form of violence.
Macías: (no mention)
Notes:This points to at least a slight softening of Duque’s line on whether to continue or break off the slow-moving ELN talks. Earlier, he had said he would only continue peace talks with the smaller guerrilla group if its members not only declared a cessation of hostilities, but concentrated its members into specific zones in order to verify that cessation. Here, Duque doesn’t repeat the “concentration into zones” pre-condition.
On reintegration of ex-combatants:
Duque: I believe in the demobilization, disarmament, and reinsertion of the guerrilla base. Many of them were forcibly recruited or separated from their surroundings by the intimidation of arms. I’m convinced and committed to seeking productive opportunities for these organizations’ base, and to look after their protection.
Macías: (no mention)
Notes:There is little doubt that Duque’s government will fund reintegration programs for ex-combatants who choose to demobilize individually. However, most ex-FARC fighters wish to demobilize collectively, staying together in a single, usually rural, location. The Santos government and the FARC didn’t really manage to arrive at a plan for collective reintegration. This has left thousands of ex-fighters unclear about their futures. Duque doesn’t talk about collective reintegration here.
On governance in post-conflict territories:
Duque: We will also strive to provide public goods in all regions of the country, starting with those that have been hit the most painfully by violence.
Macías: Today you receive a country, from a government that took on a commitment of 130 trillion pesos (US$44.5 billion), without the necessary resources existing, to finance the Havana accords during the next 15 years.
Notes:The lack of government presence and services in vast areas of the country is a key reason why coca cultivation is growing and criminal groups are expanding. Duque prioritizes providing “public goods”—something for which the peace accord’s first chapter offers a plan. But Macías complains about that plan’s price tag.
On the military and human rights:
Duque: Today I want to tell the soldiers and police of the fatherland that we are going to promote a serious and rigorous institutional and legal framework so that they can fulfill their constitutional duty in strict adherence to Human Rights, while feeling with all their hearts the affection of the people.
Macías: It is up to you, President Duque, as supreme commander of the security forces, not only to carry out changes in the high command, but to generate a change in the new commanders’ mentality in order to recover Colombians’ security and tranquility.
Notes:As we saw during the recent debate over the post-conflict transitional justice system’s procedural law, many in Duque’s party wish to shield the armed forces from human rights charges. We should view any talk of a new “legal framework” in light of that. Macías’s call for a new high command with a different “mentality” is especially ominous, as the high command of the past few years has been relatively moderate and supportive of the peace process.
On attacks on social leaders:
Duque: Legality means defending the lives of all Colombians and protecting the integrity of political and social leaders, and of our journalists.
Every homicide hurts us, every attack hurts us, every threat hurts us. And that is why we are going to work with the Ombudsman’s Office, the Attorney General’s Office and the Prosecutor’s Office to prevent violence against them and sanction exemplarily those who have acted as intellectual and material authors of the crimes and intimidations that cause mourning, that hurt, that eat away the feeling of love of country.
Macías: Ex-president Juan Manuel Santos, since the end of 2010, abandoned the Democratic Security policy, and today hands over the country immersed in a new war that to date has left more than 300 civic and communal leaders murdered, just in the last 2 years.
Notes:Duque’s words on the urgent crisis of social-leader killings are correct and encouraging. Let’s hope they’re followed up with actions, and with personnel choices better than the now-withdrawn nomination of Claudia Ortiz to head the Interior Ministry’s National Protection Unit. For his part, however, Macías cites the social-leaders crisis only for political reasons, as another line of attack against the outgoing Santos government.
Duque: (no mention)
Macías: Today you receive a country, President Duque, to which about 1 million Venezuelans have arrived, whom we welcome in a fraternal manner with solidarity; citizens displaced by a dictatorship that has subjected the people of that brother country to hunger, unemployment and despicable political persecution. A dictatorship that has been sustained by the permissiveness of several governments like the one that just ended in Colombia.
Notes:It’s not hard to imagine why Duque chose not to attack Venezuela’s authoritarian government in his presidential inauguration speech. But Duque’s position on how to approach Venezuela’s regime differs little from Macías’s.