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.

Some articles I found interesting: Friday, September 21

(Posting this a bit late—I fell behind near the end of the week. Even more here)

September 21, 2018

Western Hemisphere Regional

Behind all the rationalizing lies a hardening reality: Many congressional Republicans just aren’t that into Trump’s wall

For Mario, the encouragement to “operate in the gray” summed up the attitude of the Border Patrol — operating outside of the law. He described some of the actions of Border Patrol as “borderline inhumane”

Brazil

Rather than a mandate for governing, elections held under these conditions produce the opening positions of a game played between the president and a fragmented congress, which Brazilians call presidencialismo de coalição

Colombia

Each year since 2013, land used to produce coca leaf has gone up, on average, about 45 percent, the report said. The crops now are also a third more productive than they were in 2012

Dentro de la política de drogas, los homólogos incluirán el tema de la erradicación de los cultivos ilícitos con glifosato

“Las Farc siguen siendo una Organización Terrorista Extranjera bajo la Ley de Inmigración y Nacionalidad. No obstante, el Gobierno colombiano clasifica a los disidentes de la guerrilla como criminales”

What concerns Carmenza the most is that if the JEP presides over the cases of those already convicted, they may receive shorter sentences and still not tell the entire truth

Las declaraciones de la ministra se dan luego de que la semana pasada el nuevo director de la Unidad Nacional de Protección (UNP), Pablo Elías González, asegurara que buscará articular todas las instituciones del Estado para luchar contra el “exterminio”

El asesinato de tres geólogos en un tiroteo indiscriminado contra un campamento de exploración minera dice muchísimo de la grave situación de orden público en el Norte de Antioquia

Colombia, Venezuela

Duque fue enfático y aseguró que las fuerzas militares de su país “no se dejarán provocar” y que ante un posible conflicto, el único beneficiado sería el presidente llanero

Cuba

The FBI initiative, harkening back to Castro-era stagecraft, is aimed at putting on notice potential Cuban spies who might operate under an official cover in the United States

Guatemala

El Gobierno no puede prohibir la entrada del comisionado Iván Velásquez. En caso contrario, incurrirá en las responsabilidades de ley. Por ahora, no se confirma si el comisionado regresará a Guatemala

Thursday’s protests were organised in small towns, as well as urban centres, including in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala’s second-largest city

On September 16, at a press conference where the CC judges read their decision in favor of the CICIG, an undercover police officer attempted to photograph journalists who were covering the event

His government is backed by a so-called juntita of retrograde military officers and a bloc in the Guatemalan Congress derisively known as “el pacto de corruptos”

Mexico

La Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos concluyó que el Ejército Mexicano y la policía estatal de Puebla incurrieron en violaciones graves, con acciones como la siembra de pruebas en los cadáveres de dos inocentes, y el atropellamiento de dos civiles

Jóvenes encapuchados lanzaron bombas molotov y petardos a la sede del 27 Batallón de Infantería en la ciudad de Iguala en medio de protestas por el cuarto aniversario de la desaparición de los 43 normalistas de Ayotzinapa

Sin una sola mención a la defensa y protección de los derechos humanos de los mexicanos, el secretario de la Defensa Nacional, general Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, recibió el premio William J. Perry 2018

Peru

El camarada “Basilio”, muerto al enfrentarse a las fuerzas del orden, era experto en el uso de lanzagranadas y estaba a las órdenes del camarada “José”

Some articles I found interesting: Thursday, September 20

(Posting this a bit late—I fell behind near the end of the week. Even more here)

September 20, 2018

Western Hemisphere Regional

Senate investigators said the department could not determine with certainty the whereabouts of 1,488 out of 11,254 children the agency had placed with sponsors in 2018

The sudden departure of Juan Cruz, the senior director for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the White House’s National Security Council, and ongoing delays to install Kimberly Breier as assistant secretary of the State Department’s Latin America division along with many other departures

Colombia

Portando uniforme militar, en gesto de desafío que ofende a las Fuerzas Armadas de Colombia, el coronel Mejía departió, whisky en mano, con personajes del alto mundo social capitalino

Colombia, Western Hemisphere Regional

While the ideological motivations of such groups and ongoing connections with demobilized FARC are unclear, we have included acts of violence by FARC dissidents in this report

Guatemala

One of Morales’s main campaign fundraisers and fellow party members, Marvin Klaus Mérida, hired the lobbying firm Barnes & Thornburg in 2017. The Guardian reported the firm receives an $80,000 monthly fee

Según pudo conocer La Hora, el Secretario General concluyó que no encuentra razones para retirarle la confianza al comisionado Velásquez

Mexico

ProPublica’s reporting detailed that the Mexican SIU had a yearslong, documented record of leaking information to violent and powerful drug traffickers

Efforts by U.S. Treasury Department and Mexican law enforcement to find and seize Guzman’s assets have largely failed. That seemed evident from the Instagram posts

Corruption at the state level has been partly responsible for a lack of progress in prosecuting such deaths

Venezuela

What I learned over the course of years at Southern Command is how deeply ingrained the concern over historic U.S. interventionism is across the region

The Past Week in Colombia’s Peace Process

(Week of September 9-15)

ELN Talks Remain Suspended

In his August 7 inaugural speech, President Iván Duque said that he would take 30 days to decide whether to continue peace talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas. That period has expired, and Duque did not end the talks—but he has suspended them pending the ELN’s renunciation of kidnapping and release of all captives.

ELN fighters freed nine captives over two releases in September. On the 7th, guerrillas in Arauca released three soldiers whom they had taken on August 8. On September 11 in Chocó, they released three policemen, a soldier, and two civilians taken on August 3 from a boat on an Atrato River tributary. The Duque government did not negotiate these releases’ protocols; the ELN performed them unilaterally in coordination with the Catholic Church, the government’s independent Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office (Defensoría), and the International Committee of the Red Cross. “This did not imply any negotiation with the national government,” insisted the Duque government’s peace commissioner, Miguel Ceballos.

While Ceballos and President Duque recognized this gesture, they said there is more to do: they count 10 more individuals who remain in ELN custody. “There were 20 on the list,” Ceballos said, “later there was one liberation in Arauca, and later three more. If we take away the three in Chocó, 10 remain.” Of the ten, one has been a hostage since April 2002; two were taken in 2011, and one in 2012. The ELN has offered no responses about these captives, if they are even still alive.

“The door is not necessarily closed” to peace talks with the ELN, Ceballos told El Tiempo. But Duque’s demands for changed ELN behavior, including a cessation of kidnapping and all other hostilities, may be more than what some ELN commanders might agree to. “I want to be clear,” President Duque said this week. “If we want to build a peace with this organized armed group, they must start with the clearest show of goodwill, which is the suspension of all criminal activities.”

Still, Ceballos told El Espectador the ELN may be flexible. “I think the ELN is understanding things, because if not, this process of liberation of kidnapped people would not have begun. I believe that in these 30 days a space of understanding has been achieved beyond the need for the formal structure of a [negotiating] table. These have been 30 days in which no armed actions have been presented. There’s a dynamic here.”

The Peace Commissioner added that, should talks re-start, the Duque government may seek to alter the negotiating agenda agreed with the Santos government, which has been criticized for imprecise language that has made it difficult to implement. “President Duque said it in a very clear way in Amagá (Antioquia), last Saturday,” he said. “Any future scenario would need a credible agenda and specific timeframes; that necessarily implies the consideration of adjustments.”

Gen. Montoya, Former Army Chief, Appears Before the JEP

Gen. Mario Montoya, who headed Colombia’s army from 2006 to 2008, appeared before the Special Peace Jurisdiction (JEP), the transitional justice system set up by the peace accord. The retired general denied any guilt for human rights crimes. Montoya is the highest-ranking officer to appear before the JEP so far, though another retired general, Henry Torres Escalante, has already appeared in relation to a case of extrajudicial executions.

Montoya resigned in November 2008, amid revelations that members of the Army had killed thousands of civilians, then presented them falsely as combat kills in a criminal effort to boost body counts and earn rewards for battlefield performance. Montoya allegedly pressured subordinates to rack up body counts and produce “rivers of blood” in counter-guerrilla operations, thus creating an environment that rewarded extrajudicial executions, making him emblematic of what Colombians call the “false positives” scandal.

Montoya decided in July to submit to the JEP rather than the regular criminal justice system, where some cases against him had been stalled since 2016. The highly decorated, U.S.-trained general denies any wrongdoing, lawbreaking, or knowledge of his subordinates’ criminal behavior. Though most defendants enter the JEP to confess crimes in return for reduced non-prison sentences, Montoya intends to challenge any charges against him. Should the JEP find him guilty anyway, he could be sentenced to up to 20 years in regular prison.

During his initial hearing in the JEP’s Definition of Legal Situations Chamber, Montoya and his lawyers heard a listing of accusations and investigations against him that had been filed in the regular justice system. Cases included a few dozen “false positives” victims, as well as the “Operation Orion” military offensive in Medellín’s western slums, in October 2002 when Montoya headed the local army brigade, which killed several civilians and benefited from open support of paramilitary groups. Relatives of “false positives” victims attended the hearing.

Montoya’s defense lawyer argued that the general cannot be held responsible for the “false positive” crimes committed when he headed the Army, since the murders took place in units several levels below his command. In the end, Montoya’s hearing had a disappointing outcome: as defense lawyers challenged the standing of some of the victims involved, Magistrate Pedro Díaz suspended the session and put it off for a later date.

FARC Party Holds Conference Marked By No-Shows

News coverage took stock of a “National Council of the Commons,” a meeting of the new FARC political party’s leadership, in Bogotá the week earlier. The “Council” sought to bring together 111 delegates whom the ex-guerrilla membership had elected a year ago, to make decisions about the party’s future.

In the end, 29 of the 111 did not appear. Five have resigned their posts. Seven offered excuses for being unable to attend. Another 17, though, gave no reason for their absence. That number includes:

  • Luciano Marín alias Iván Márquez, the FARC’s chief negotiator during the Havana peace talks. Márquez left Bogotá and abandoned the Senate seat that awaited him in April 2018, after the arrest of Jesús Santrich, a close Márquez associate and fellow negotiator. Santrich is wanted in extradition by a U.S. federal court in New York on charges of conspiring to send cocaine to the United States. Until June or July, Márquez—a hardliner on the FARC’s left flank who was the top vote-getter when the membership chose delegates last year—abandoned the demobilization site where he had been staying in the southern department of Caquetá. He blamed nearby “military operations” and concerns for his security. His whereabouts are now unknown. It is not clear at the moment whether he intends to continue participating in the peace process.
  • Hernán Darío Velásquez alias El Paisa, the former head of the FARC’s feared Teófilo Forero mobile column, disappeared around the same time as Márquez; he was managing the Caquetá demobilization site where Márquez had been staying.
  • Henry Castellanos alias Romaña, who led FARC units that kidnapped hundreds in a region just south of Bogotá, had been managing a demobilization site in Nariño but has also gone clandestine.
  • Fabián Ramírez, a former top leader of the FARC’s Southern Bloc.
  • Zarco Aldinever” and “Enrique Marulanda,” who managed the demobilization site in Mesetas, Meta.
  • Iván Alí,” who ran a site in Guaviare. (Peace Commissioner Miguel Ceballos said that he met with “Alí” days before his disappearance, and that the FARC leader had told him “he was going to [the remote eastern department of] Vichada and that communication would be difficult.”)
  • Albeiro Córdoba,” who ran another site in Guaviare.
  • Manuel Político,” who ran a site in Putumayo.

Most of the missing 17, points out La Silla Vacía, come from the former guerrilla group’s Eastern and Southern blocs, where were its strongest militarily at the time the peace accord was signed.

Most members of the Colombian Congress’s Peace Committee visited Caquetá September 10 to seek information about the missing leaders. Sen. Iván Cepeda, a close supporter of the FARC peace process, said that people “very close” to Márquez and “El Paisa” told them that the two men remain committed to the peace process, and in fact are still in Caquetá. Both, however, fear being extradited capriciously, Cepeda said, adding that both had heard spurious rumors about pending arrest warrants. The Colombian government, Cepeda said, needs to find a way to keep “extradition from becoming a sort of detonator for the end of the peace process.”

Some of the missing leaders sent messages insisting that they remain in the peace process. A letter from “Romaña” appeared in which he reiterated his will to honor his demobilization commitments. Fabián Ramírez also sent a letter affirming his continued participation, though he expressed deep mistrust as a result of Santrich’s arrest. Ramírez said that, along with 100 other ex-guerrillas, he was seeking to set up a new, safer demobilization space with the goal of preventing their defection to dissident groups.

The disappearances are a sign of deepening internal divisions within the FARC. These were laid bare in a strongly worded letter from former Southern Bloc leader Joaquín Gómez and high-ranking ex-commander Bertulfo Álvarez. It accuses maximum leader Timoleón Jiménez and other Bogotá-based FARC bosses—most of whom have turned out to be political moderates—of “spiteful and vengeful lack of leadership.” The letter accused Jiménez of “dedicating himself to defending the bourgeois order with surprising and unexpected zeal.” The letter’s authors, who run the demobilization site in La Guajira, cited health reasons for their absence from the Bogotá meeting.

FARC Senator Victoria Sandino blamed security concerns for many of the no-shows, and denied that the FARC is dividing.

“No, there is a debate. Many people make criticisms within the party, but none will make criticisms like ‘oh no, let’s go back to guns, let’s create another party.’ No. There are internal political debates, but those debates aren’t about separating. There are some comrades who are critical of [accord] implementation, but I guarantee that in these debates none, absolutely nobody, has expressed the idea that the way out of here is to return to arms. No one.”

In the end, the FARC “Council of the Commons” agreed to set up an executive committee to prepare for October 2019 local elections, with regional representatives including Joaquín Gómez. They decided that going clandestine for security concerns was acceptable behavior, but established procedures to kick out renegade members.

U.S. Officials Visit, Speculation Over a Return to Coca Fumigation Increases

On September 11 the White House issued an annual memo to the State Department identifying major illicit drug producing and transit countries, and highlighting which of these are “decertified”—subject to aid cuts and other penalties—for failing to cooperate with U.S. counter-drug strategies. As in past years, Venezuela and Bolivia were decertified.

Last years’s memo included controversial language stating that President Trump “seriously considered” adding Colombia to the decertified blacklist because of sharply increased coca and cocaine production. This year’s document did not repeat that threat, but called out Colombia, Mexico, and Afghanistan for “falling behind in the fight to eradicate illicit crops and reduce drug production and trafficking.” The U.S. government estimated that Colombia’s coca crop increased 11 percent in 2017, to a record 209,000 hectares.

The certification memo’s release coincided with a visit to Bogota from the deputy director of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, James Carroll, and the commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, Adm. Karl Schultz. According to El Tiempo, in a meeting that lasted over an hour, the two officials told President Duque that, under normal circumstances, the White House would have decertified Colombia:

“During the meeting the White House’s envoys told Duque that the amount of coca planted in Colombia, more than 200,000 hectares, was enough for the country to be decertified.

“However, they clarified that they understand that this is an ‘inherited’ problem [for the recently inaugurated president], which comes from previous years. In that sense, they expressed the Washington government’s confidence in the policies that Colombia is going to implement to eradicate crops and counteract the cartels who carry the drug to their nation.”

Duque told the U.S. officials he plans to respond with a mix of strategies, referring to “a principle of integrality” (comprehensiveness), rather than putting all focus on forced coca eradication. That mix, however, may include a return to eradication through aircraft-based spraying of the herbicide glyphosate, reviving a U.S.-backed program that Colombia carried out on a massive scale between 1994 and 2015. The government of Juan Manuel Santos suspended aircraft-based spraying in 2015 after some studies pointed to a possible link between glyphosate and cancer; officials also argued that spraying had proved to be ineffective.

Duque, however, may bring it back. “Fumigation can happen if some protocols are complied with,” he said. “In the comprehensive policy that we want in the fight against illicit crops, these protocols should be reflected in such a way that any action is upheld by the Court’s guidelines.”

The president refers here to 2015 and 2017 decisions by Colombia’s Constitution Court, its highest judicial review authority, which placed significant restrictions on coca eradication via aerial glyphosate spraying. Any future fumigation must avoid nature reserves, indigenous reservations, and campesino reserve zones—sites that host a significant portion of current cultivation. Spraying can only proceed after an “objective and conclusive” scientific study showing a lack of health and environmental damage. Colombia’s National Drug Council (CNE), a decision-making body incorporating several ministries and agencies, must agree on a set of regulations to govern future spraying, in a process that includes ethnic communities’ participation, and these regulations must be passed as a law. An ethnic representative must be added to the CNE. Colombia must undergo prior consultation with ethnic communities in areas where it plans to spray, although the Court allows spraying in the absence of consent if the CNE issues a finding.

Duque’s government includes some aggressively enthusiastic backers of renewed glyphosate fumigation. “I don’t see any alternative to using herbicides,” Defense Minister Guillermo Botero said in August. “You have to use it because the world is not going to accept us swimming in coca. …Glyphosate is used in Colombia since time immemorial.” Added Francisco Santos, the new ambassador to the United States: “Fumigation is essential. The Constitutional Court must understand that it must return, because we are facing a social, economic and national security emergency. It has to come back, understanding the restrictions.”

Dissident Leader “David” Killed in Nariño

The Defense Ministry announced that a military-police operation killed Víctor David Segura Palacios, alias “David,” the chief of one of the two main FARC dissident groups operating in Nariño, Colombia’s largest coca and cocaine-producing department. Soldiers arrived at 2:00AM on September 8 at a house where “David” was staying; he and his sister, who allegedly handled his group’s finances, were killed in an ensuing shootout.

A former member of the FARC’s Nariño-based Daniel Aldana mobile column, David refused to demobilize, along with his brother Yeison Segura, alias “Don Y.” The dissident group they formed, the “United Guerrillas of the Pacific” (GUP), recruited former FARC militias along Nariño’s coast and took over cocaine trafficking routes. After “Don Y” was killed in a November 2016 firefight with former FARC comrades, “David” assumed command.

Defense Minister Guillermo Botero told reporters that the GUP had grown to control 4 percent of Colombia’s cocaine exports. The Nariño governor’s office said that the group has control or influence in at least 10 of the department’s 64 municipalities (counties).

For the past year, David had been the main rival of Walter Artízala alias “Guacho,” leader of the Oliver Sinisterra Front (FOS), a Nariño-based FARC dissident structure that gained region-wide notoriety after it kidnapped and killed three Ecuadorian journalists in early 2018. David blamed Guacho for his brother’s death, and the two groups had been battling for control of cocaine routes, and of urban neighborhoods in Tumaco, all year.

“According to various reports,” notes InsightCrime, the rival GUP and FOS are both “associated with Mexican drug trafficking organizations, who will have an interest in maintaining the steady passage of cocaine out of the country.” La Silla Vacía reports that, “According to the Police, during recent months David already had contacts with the [Mexican] Jalisco New Generation cartel (while Guacho, according to the Prosecutor-General’s Office, is one of the links of the Sinaloa cartel), and had an Interpol Blue Notice.”

David’s death is the largest battlefield result against guerrilla dissidents or organized crime so far in President Iván Duque’s 6-week-old government, but it is unlikely to reduce violence in Nariño. Citing sources in Colombia’s Navy and the Tumaco ombudsman’s office, La Silla counts 12 other major armed or criminal groups active in “post-conflict” Nariño besides the GUP, “like Guacho’s dissident group, the Gulf Clan [paramilitary successor group], the ELN which has tried to enter the south of Nariño, and other groups of lesser national impact like La Oficina [paramilitary successor], La Gente del Orden [ex-FARC militias], Los de Sábalo, and, more recently, the so-called ‘Stiven González’ front.”

In-Depth Reading

The day ahead: September 21, 2018

I’ll be around in the afternoon. (How to contact me)

The WOLA human rights award dinner was good fun and good company last night, but it ran until nearly midnight—so I’m rather sleepy and getting another late start today.

I’ve got a meeting with a U.S. diplomat this morning to talk about our early-September Colombia trip. Then I’ll be in the office. Expect a fresh Colombia update by mid-day, then I’ll be working on (a) two presentations that I’ll be giving on panels Monday and Tuesday (Tuesday’s is here in Washington); (b) my Colombia trip report, to which I’m now adding conclusions and recommendations; and (c) my ever-expanding e-mail inbox.

The day ahead: September 20, 2018

I’ll be around in the late morning and early afternoon. (How to contact me)

WOLA’s annual human rights awards dinner is tonight. As it’ll be a late night, I’m letting myself get a late start this morning. I’ll be in the office late morning through mid-afternoon, when I’ll probably have to break to help with preparations. While in the office, I plan to finish a Colombia update and do more work for our October 16 conference.

Some articles I found interesting this morning

(Even more here)

September 19, 2018

Western Hemisphere Regional

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection report obtained by KPBS through a Freedom of Information Act request reveals mock-ups of all eight border wall prototypes were found vulnerable to at least one breaching technique

The facilities only feel cold because migrants are coming from hot conditions or climates and are not accustomed to air conditioning, said Kevin McAleenan

In a rural Texas county, lidar sensor technology is being tested as a way to spot illegal intruders from Mexico. That use could divide workers in Silicon Valley

The House is expected to take up the bill next week, but it remains uncertain whether Trump would sign the measure

The document circulated by the U.S. calls on the states to pledge to develop national “action plans” based on a “four-pronged strategy” — demand reduction; treatment; international cooperation; and cutting the supply of illicit drugs

Brazil

Last month, one of Bolsonaro’s sons announced that Bannon was becoming an informal adviser to Bolsonaro’s presidential campaign

Central America Regional, Mexico

Ramped-up enforcement by the United States and Mexico has pushed migrants onto more invisible, risky paths and put them at greater danger

Colombia

La erradicación voluntaria de coca en este municipio de Antioquia va lenta pero funciona

De 146.000 hectáreas cultivadas en 2016, se pasó a 171.000 en 2017, lo que representa un incremento del 17%. Entre tanto, la capacidad de conversión de la hoja en cocaína también se habría disparado en un 31%

El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras

Migrants who have been repeatedly victimized are likely so desperate to leave that they are willing to take their chances in the U.S., no matter how hard it seems. These are not the kind of migrants who are likely to respond to measures designed to stem economic migrants

Guatemala

El Cacif pagó US$135 mil (Q1 millón) a dos lobistas en Washington para tener acceso e influenciar acciones del Gobierno de los Estados Unidos. Está en duda si ha sido para desprestigiar a la CICIG

Honduras

Así lo revelan informes de las Fuerzas Armadas (FF AA) a los que tuvo acceso EL HERALDO, que demuestran que la narcoactividad sigue utilizando los recursos que sean necesarios para trasegar cocaína

Yesterday a press release, seen by Press Gazette, began circulating linking Lakhani with various violent activities in the Bajo Aguan region of Honduras

Mexico

El Foro por la Pacificación organizado por el próximo gobierno de la República, se convirtió en ocasión para reclamos de las víctimas y sus allegados, hacia las autoridades y expresiones recurrentes de incredulidad hacia los organizadores

The stopgap measure seemed to be working fine — until the truck, with some 170 corpses on board, was driven off the lot on Sept. 7 and began a strange journey around the Guadalajara area

Venezuela

Maduro says under the deal, Venezuela will increase production and the daily export of oil to China to 1 million barrels a day

“Un general de apellido Báez (…) dice que va a dar un golpe de Estado en octubre. Lo grita a los cuatro vientos (…). Francisco Báez, borrachón, muy borrachón él, está metido en todas las conspiraciones”, declaró Maduro

The day ahead: September 19, 2018

I’ll be most reachable in the afternoon. (How to contact me)

I’m deep into two writing projects and will work from home this morning. I have two phone interviews scheduled for mid-day and will be in the office, writing and conference-organizing, in the afternoon.

Some articles I found interesting this morning

Federico Rios Escobar photo at The New York Times. Caption: “A group of rebels during their daily training regime.”

(Even more here)

September 18, 2018

Brazil

Mr da Silva, his former childhood friend, summed it up. Mr Bolsonaro was Brazil’s version of Mr Trump, a social media Pied Piper gathering diverse disgruntled followers from across the web

Colombia

These dissident guerrillas invited The New York Times to their camp, hidden among mountains north of Medellín, to tell the story of why they abandoned the peace deal

Tres días después, en el casco urbano de Tumaco, una caravana de motociclistas acompañó los cuerpos de David y su hermana hasta la tumba

Colombia, Venezuela

“No acepto la idea equivocada de que si hay extradición no puede haber verdad. En el caso de los paramilitares extraditados hace una década, hemos montado 3.000 audiencias”

“Ha habido voces sobre operaciones militares unilaterales. Creemos que tiene que haber una respuesta colectiva a esta crisis”, dijo Francisco Santos

Para evitar un retroceso irreparable en Latinoamérica, debemos trabajar con el presidente Duque y aumentar la cooperación entre los Estados Unidos y Colombia en tres áreas críticas

Guatemala

Anti-corruption politics won’t liberate Guatemala from the military, organized crime, and the wealthy. But only elites’ interests will be served by shutting down the country’s attempts to root that corruption out

The president of Guatemala pushed the nation toward a constitutional crisis on Monday, ignoring an explicit order by the country’s top court while testing the bounds of the nation’s fragile democracy

La carta enviada por la canciller Sandra Patricia Jovel Polanco al secretario general de la ONU, António Guterres, constituye todo un desafío. En un lenguaje alejado del diplomático, zanja el debate sobre Iván Velásquez y le “conmina” a elegir a un sustituto del comisionado en un plazo de 48 horas

Honduras

Three hours later than scheduled, the jam-packed courtroom was informed that the trial was suspended until the appeal court decides whether the judges are competent to proceed or not

Mexico

Jan Jarab reiteró que este cambio radical o de raíz en la estrategia del combate al crimen organizado es importante para que no se replique la violencia porque “es contagiosa”

Peru

Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra is facing a standoff with legislators over his call for a referendum on anti-corruption measures and has invoked a constitutional procedure that could end up dissolving the Congress

Venezuela

If they enter, U.S. troops must prepare to stay for the long haul. Venezuela’s electricity grids, sewage systems, hospitals, schools, and other basic physical and social infrastructure are decimated

The day ahead: September 18, 2018

I should be reachable much of the day. (How to contact me)

Through some freak accident of scheduling, I’ve got no commitments on the calendar this Tuesday. I’ll be in the office all day writing our big Colombia report, and helping to plan a big Colombia conference that will take place four weeks from today.

Some articles I found interesting this morning

(Even more here)

September 17, 2018

Western Hemisphere Regional

Within hours of the exhibits being submitted Monday, Trump administration lawyers called on Macdonald to seal the text messages

Brazil

The museum burned down; the country is burning down—that metaphor has been uttered repeatedly, in solemn tones, since the disaster

Colombia

Excesos de formalismos legales; el no reconocimiento de algunas de las víctimas de ejecuciones extrajudiciales; y el reiterado mensaje del excomandante de las Fuerzas Militares de declararse inocente, se destacaron

  • María Jimena Duzán, Sin Pudor (Semana (Colombia), September 17, 2018).

Sin sonrojarse, Montoya quiere convencernos de que los responsables de los falsos positivos fueron unos cuantos soldados rasos, que actuaron como una rueda suelta y que asesinaron a miles de colombianos sin que sus comandantes se hubiesen dado cuenta

Según el relato de su madre, hombres armados llegaron a su vivienda, en la comunidad indígena Orpúa, Bajo Baudó (Chocó), y se la llevaron, a pesar de las angustiantes súplicas de su familia

Es claro que la protesta social es una de las obsesiones del nuevo Ministerio de Defensa, apoyado además por el presidente Iván Duque. Pero convertir la situación en una guerra motivada por los prejuicios es un error que puede tener serias consecuencias

El anillo de seguridad más cercano al disidente advirtió la presencia de las autoridades e iniciaron un tiroteo en el que resultó herido el disidente con dos disparos de fusil en la espalda

Ecuador

Entre el 5 y 11 de septiembre, llega a Ecuador el Orión P-3, aeronave estadounidense con alta tecnología que sirve para detectar actividades ilícitas. Sus operaciones están previstas para sobrevolar el espacio marítimo

El Salvador

En realidad, su suerte quedó escrita el pasado 9 de agosto, después que confesó que mientras fue presidente de la República de El Salvador -desde el 1 de junio de 2004 hasta el 31 de julio de 2009- desvió 301 millones de dólares

Guatemala

The unanimous ruling by the court’s five magistrates marked the second time in as many years that the court has reversed Morales’ efforts to keep commission chief Ivan Velasquez out of Guatemala

Throughout Guatemala last week, independence day marches were riddled with protest signs and banners supporting the anti-corruption commission and calling for Morales’ resignation

Consciente de estar en terreno hostil y protegido por un despliegue de seguridad no visto hace años —integrado por cientos de policías, soldados, kaibiles y antidisturbios militares—, Morales lanzó un discurso amenazante

Honduras

At pre-trial public hearings in Tegucigalpa last week, the court rejected petitions by the family’s lawyers to allow expert witness testimony about the roles, responsibilities and connections between the accused as part of an alleged criminal structure

Mexico

El almirante Vidal Soberón, secretario de Marina, dedicó el desfile al presidente de la República, Enrique Peña Nieto, y prometió lealtad al presidente electo Andrés Manuel López Obrador

He said Asaf will organize 20 civilian assistants who will rotate five at a time to accompany him so he can interact with voters without getting squashed

Este hecho se registra en medio de la polémica generada por la saturación de la Morgue Metropolitana, ante el inusitado número de personas asesinadas en lo que va del año

Nicaragua

El director de LA PRENSA analiza en esta entrevista el actuar de las fuerzas armadas en las protestas contra Daniel Ortega y Rosario Murillo que iniciaron el pasado abril

Tanta gente que dio su vida por una revolución que quedó en nada. Que quedó peor que Somoza. Eso es lo que más nos duele a los que luchamos contra Somoza

Venezuela

“With respect to a military intervention to overthrow Nicolas Maduro’s regime, I don’t think any option should be ruled out,” Almagro said

Esta es la primera vez que el Grupo de Lima y Almagro discrepan públicamente sobre Venezuela

Ricardo Prieto, 41, and Carlos Varon, 45, were arrested by military counterintelligence officers on Wednesday at the fire station where they worked in western Merida state

El caos, ya sea intencional o accidental, puede ser funcional para los Estados extremistas. Por tal motivo, no deberíamos contar con que el gobierno extremista de Maduro haga algo mínimamente prometedor

The day ahead: September 17, 2018

I’ll be most reachable in the late morning and early afternoon. (How to contact me)

Today I’ll be in an all-hands office meeting in the morning, and in the late afternoon in a meeting of groups that work on Colombia. In the middle, I’ve got a few small tasks that need to get done, particularly having to do with an all-day Colombia conference we’re planning for October 16 (yes, four weeks from tomorrow and we’re just getting started). I also hope to carve out two hours or so to do some writing.

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