“Scenic World” by Beirut (2006).
May 31, 2017
- “Amnistias y Libertades para Farc se Definiran a la Par Con el Desarme” (El Tiempo (Colombia), May 31, 2017).
EL TIEMPO explica en esta y en la siguiente página los elementos claves de los decretos con fuerza de ley que expidió el Presidente para cumplir los acuerdos de paz, y el nuevo cronograma del desarme
- Jim Wyss, “Colombia’s Messy Peace Tries the Patience of War-Weary Nation” (The Miami Herald, May 31, 2017).
If war was waged with military precision, everything from rain to poor roads seems to be derailing carefully laid plans for peace
- Marcos Ommati, “Guatemalan Armed Forces Get Involved in National Security” (Revista Dialogo (U.S. Southern Command), May 31, 2017).
When will the Armed Forces stop supporting the National Civil Police?
- Joshua Partlow, “Violence Is Soaring in the Mexican Towns That Feed America’s Heroin Habit” (The Washington Post, May 31, 2017).
A kilogram of opium gum can earn the impoverished farmers about $800 from the drug traffickers who purchase it. After the gum is processed, a kilogram can sell for about $50,000 on the streets of Chicago
- John Burnett, “Illegal Border Crossings Are Down, and So Is Business for Smugglers” (National Public Radio, May 31, 2017).
The complex business of crossing the U.S.-Mexico border without papers is changing profoundly. Here are the stories of human smugglers in Mexico and would-be immigrants looking to illegally cross
- Patrick Timmons, “Life Imitating News: The Murder of Mexican Journalist Javier Valdez” (NACLA, May 31, 2017).
“Yes, I do have information from the grassroots about the bosses, but my work has been more about people who have had to suffer the narco”
- David Smilde, Miguel Tinker Salas, Jennifer Mccoy, Mark Weisbrot, Steve Ellner, “Is the Oas Playing a Constructive Role on Venezuela? What Should It Be Doing Differently?” (Venezuela Dialogue, May 31, 2017).
In my view it is entirely legitimate for Almagro to have invoked the Democratic Charter with respect to Venezuela. However, I felt he did it about a year too soon
- “DOJ OIG and State OIG Release Joint Report on Responses by DEA and State Department to Three Deadly Force Incidents in Honduras” (Department of Justice and Department of State Inspectors-General, May 24, 2017).
A devastating 400-page report details how DEA and State Department officials lied to or obstructed superiors and investigators, including the U.S. ambassador and Congress, about controversial use-of-deadly-force incidents during 2012 counter-drug operations in Honduras.
- Stephanie Nolen, Elisangela Mendonca, “In Brazil’s Crooked Political Game, Is Anybody Playing Fair? A Search for an Honest Political Player” (The Globe and Mail (Toronto Canada), May 24, 2017).
After eliminating Brazilian legislators accused of corruption, then those “who don’t show up for debates, don’t vote or don’t sponsor legislation,” The Globe and Mail “wound up with just a dozen names” and interviewed five of them for their opinions about what it would take to fix Brazil’s endemic corruption.
- “New Ain Report: Lessons From Bolivia” (Andean Information Network (Bolivia), May 26, 2017).
The Cochabamba-based NGO brought to Bolivia a group of Colombian coca-growers involved in their country’s post-peace accord effort to negotiate voluntary crop eradication. This report looks at some lessons the group could take from Bolivia’s experience, including “how bringing community members to the fore of policy formulation
and eliminating eradication as a requirement for aid can improve conditions in coca growing areas.”
- David Smilde, “Pics and Comments on a Mega-March” (Washington Office on Latin America, May 22, 2017).
David attends a large opposition march in Caracas and finds an encouraging degree of unity. He is concerned, though, by a lack of poorer participants and at least a tacit acceptance of violent tactics.
- Stefan Labbe, Cherise Seucharan, Alexander Villegas, “Disarmed and Dangerous: Can Former Farc Guerrillas Adjust to Civilian Life?” (The Guardian (UK), May 25, 2017).
This is a shamefully mistitled article–the former guerrillas profiled here are working for peace in Cali’s crime-ridden slums, and are “endangered,” not “dangerous.” The article and videos themselves, though, offer a good glimpse into the challenges of ex-combatants’ reintegration, and of securing communities of displaced people, like Cali’s vast Aguablanca neighborhood.
I will be difficult to contact today. (How to contact me)
I’m taking the day off, as my daughter competes all day in the preliminary rounds of the National Spelling Bee outside Washington. I’ll be cheering her on (or consoling her) and spending little time on my phone and computer.
May 30, 2017
- Juanita León, Juanita Velez, “Santos Sincera la Prorroga del Desarme, Pero No las Razones” (La Silla Vacia (Colombia), May 30, 2017).
Ahora, a cruzar los dedos, para que el D+180+20 sí se concrete pues de esa fecha está colgada la expectativa de que una vez los colombianos vean a los guerrilleros sin armas comiencen a finalmente creer en el acuerdo
- “Comunicado Conjunto No 19 Comunicado Csivi Sobre Cumplimiento de Compromisos, D+180 y Siguiente Fase de Implementacion” (Alto Comisionado para la Paz (Colombia), May 30, 2017).
A partir del 1 de junio y hasta el 20 de junio, la totalidad de los integrantes de las FARC-EP, incluyendo las milicias, habrán hecho dejación de armas y tránsito a la legalidad
- Nelson Matta Colorado, “Plan Pistola de un Mes Exige Cambios en la Lucha” (El Colombiano (Medellin Colombia), May 30, 2017).
Diez policías asesinados y 37 heridos, en 35 ataques contra la Fuerza Pública, perpetrados en nueve departamentos del país, es el saldo que deja hasta ahora el plan pistola ejecutado por la organización criminal “los Urabeños”
- Carol Rosenberg, “Marine Officers Are Drugged, Robbed After Bogota Pub Crawl and Could Face Charges” (The Miami Herald, May 30, 2017).
Someone stole Mueller’s work laptop and iPhone 6 as well as McDuffie’s iPhone 6, all government-issued equipment. Mueller’s personal iPad and iPhone were also stolen
- Alex Pfeiffer, “Exclusive: Trump Set to Roll Back Obama’s Cuba Policies” (The Daily Caller, May 30, 2017).
Kavulich said that the administration will enact “increased enforcement relating to travel,” and “a focus upon discouraging transactions with entities controlled by the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) of the Republic of Cuba”
- Leonardo Goi, “Coca Plantation ‘Experiment’ in Honduras Raises Eyebrows” (InsightCrime, May 30, 2017).
The discovery of coca plantations and drug laboratories in Honduras could be a sign that the country’s role in the region’s drug trade is changing
- “Capriles, Lider de la Oposicion, Denuncio Que Fue Golpeado en Protesta” (Agence France Presse, El Colombiano (Medellin Colombia), May 30, 2017).
El líder opositor venezolano Henrique Capriles denunció qu fue “golpeado” por “efectivos de la (militar) Guardia Nacional” cuando se retiraba afectado por gases lacrimógenos
I will be difficult to reach today. (How to contact me)
It’s a complicated day, schedule-wise: my daughter has a few hours of preliminary competition at the National Spelling Bee, then I’ll be in the office for a few hours of meetings (a foundation, a journalist). Any other time will be spent with the family here at the Spelling Bee venue, or tucked away doing a bit of writing. I may not be able to respond immediately to any effort to get in touch with me, and tomorrow may be similar.
May 29, 2017
- Vanessa Barbara, “The Genocide of Brazil’s Indians” (The New York Times, May 29, 2017).
Every week seems to bring reports of a new atrocity committed against indigenous people in some remote part of the country. But nothing seems to shock our society anymore
- Jonathan Watts, “Wild Amazon Faces Destruction as Brazil’s Farmers and Loggers Target National Park” (The Guardian (Uk), May 29, 2017).
The forces lined up against conservation have deep roots. The post-colonial history of Brazil is, to a large extent, the history of deforestation
- Rodrigo Uprimny, “Corte, “Fast Track” y Paz” (Dejusticia (Colombia), La Silla Vacia (Colombia), May 29, 2017).
Esa decisión de la Corte podría incluso llegar a ser positiva pues puede ser una oportunidad de fortalecer la legitimidad democrática de la implementación del acuerdo de paz
- Ricardo Monsalve Gaviria, “Colombia Exportara Mas Militares a Misiones de la Onu” (El Colombiano (Medellin Colombia), May 29, 2017).
En septiembre el presidente Juan Manuel Santos presentará a la ONU la intención que tiene para expandir la participación militar en misiones internacionales
- Jose Melendez, “Mexicanos en Colombia Trabajan por la Paz” (El Universal (Mexico), May 29, 2017).
El trabajo es en zonas rurales y urbanas, en selvas y montañas. Y por aquellas remotas tierras, en cualquier momento puede escucharse una ranchera mexicana interpretada por algún artista de México
- Kejal Vyas, Anatoly Kurmanaev, “Goldman Sachs Bought Venezuela’s State Oil Company’s Bonds Last Week” (The Wall Street Journal, May 29, 2017).
Goldman Sachs bought about $2.8 billion in Venezuelan bonds that had been held by the oil-rich country’s central bank, a lifeline to President Nicolás Maduro’s embattled government
I will be mostly out of contact today. (How to contact me)
Today is a national holiday in the United States. Bizarrely, I’m writing from a hotel about 20 minutes’ drive from home: my daughter is in the National Spelling Bee, an event that lasts all week. Some days this week, I’ll probably be home: I can’t imagine staying in this hotel when we have a perfectly good house nearby with better internet and a fridge full of food. But today, with the opening ceremonies coming and a daughter who is thrilled to be competing, we’re spending Memorial Day at the event.
Bizarrely, I’m writing from a hotel room about 20 minutes from my house. My daughter is one of 290 contestants in the National Spelling Bee. As she’s representing the District of Columbia, we’ve come the shortest distance to compete. It’s nice, though, that we’ve been given a hotel room at the site of the event, just like all the other kids.
After Monday, which is a national holiday in the United States, I’ll be splitting my time this week between the Spelling Bee, our home, and the office. On the calendar I have meetings with funders and several meetings on Capitol Hill to discuss what we’re working on with legislative staff. I’ll post things here when I get a chance.
- The Trump administration’s 2018 budget request for Homeland Security includes $1.57 billion to build 74 miles of new border wall/fence in south Texas and near San Diego, California. (That’s $21.2 million per mile.) It would also fund the hiring of 500 new Border Patrol agents (toward an eventual goal of 5,000, expanding the force to 25,000) and 1,000 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) enforcement and removal agents (toward an eventual goal of 10,000, expanding the deportation force to about 15,000).
- Acapulco, Mexico-based journalist Martín Méndez Piñeda had to leave Mexico after receiving repeated death threats in a country where six journalists have been murdered in early March. Méndez made the mistake of trying to seek asylum in Donald Trump’s United States, where ICE officials decided he was a flight risk and shipped him to await a ruling in a filthy, overcrowded private detention facility in Sierra Blanca. Méndez ultimately gave up his claim and went back to Mexico, where he says he fears for his life.
- ICE’s apprehensions of undocumented migrants in the U.S. interior shot up 38 percent in the first three months of the Trump administration, compared with the same period in 2016. This owes to less focus on undocumented people with criminal record. The 41,318 people detained, or 400 people per day, is still a lower rate than ICE detentions during Barack Obama’s first term. (They declined afterward.)
- At Vox, Dara Lind and Tara Golshan have updated their encyclopedic overview of “How Donald Trump Could Actually Build the Wall — and Who Would Pay the Price.”
- The Washington Post’s Joshua Partlow explores the reduction in migration to the United States after Trump’s inauguration. He finds that many would-be migrants from Central America, including those fleeing violence, are putting their plans on hold to see how Trump’s hard-line approach plays out. Others are coming, but no longer seeking out U.S. border authorities once they arrive on U.S. soil.
- The New York Times’s Ron Nixon looks at corruption in U.S. Border Patrol, a phenomenon that could worsen if hiring standards are loosened to speed an expansion of the force. Nixon discusses the well-known case case of Texas-based agent Joel Luna, an emblematic example of the corruption risk.
“For the Summer” by Ray LaMontagne (2010).
Wanna feel old? This is what Fleetwood Mac looks like now pic.twitter.com/kbM0UyPBi1
— Shuja Haider (@shujaxhaider) May 24, 2017
I've met a DeMarcus & a DeShaun. But I've never met a DeSteve. Someone needs to name their baby DeSteve. "Is the PowerPoint ready, DeSteve?"
— George Wallace (@MrGeorgeWallace) May 25, 2017
The guy just farted out some BT graphics 😂😷 pic.twitter.com/cCMvJ8ytTJ
— Utkarsh (@Jurgenology) May 24, 2017
[plane about to crash]
wife: if you have anythin to say to me you need to say it now
me: remember when i said the dog ate our yankee candle
— k e e t 🐤🥔 (@KeetPotato) May 24, 2017
Ever since Trump touched the orb his arms have been getting longer pic.twitter.com/ennXKeaRQi
— Fred Delicious (@Fred_Delicious) May 22, 2017
May 26, 2017
- “New Ain Report: Lessons From Bolivia” (Andean Information Network (Bolivia), May 26, 2017).
In February 2017, a delegation of 8 coca growers from across Colombia traveled to Bolivia to learn about the country’s shift from forced eradication and conditioned alternative development to community coca control and integrated development
- “Public Opinion Forces Temer to Withdraw Troops From Streets of Brasilia” (MercoPress, May 26, 2017).
The deployment of soldiers shocked a capital already shaken by the day’s violence and an investigation into corruption allegations against the president
Central America Regional
- Hector Silva Avalos, “Trump Policies Undermine Fight Against ms13: Us Police” (InsightCrime, May 26, 2017).
The officials placed particular emphasis on the White House’s threat to cut federal funds for local law enforcement bodies should they refuse to support the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement
- Ricardo L. Cruz, “La Amenaza ‘Gaitanista’, un Reto para la Seguridad Ciudadana” (Verdad Abierta (Colombia), May 26, 2017).
Para doblegar a los ‘gaitanistas’ se requiere entender mejor esta amenaza. Aspecto en el que, por el momento, hay más sombras que luces
El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras
- Alex Yablon, “American Guns Are Fueling the Immigration Crisis That Trump Wants to Fix With a Wall” (The Trace, May 26, 2017).
Tens of thousands of firearms smuggled from the United States help to fuel extreme rates of violence
- Andrew Katz, “State of Ruin: Tales From Venezuela’s Collapse” (Time, May 26, 2017).
Venezuelan photographers who have watched their society crumble reflect on the images that have moved them most
- Francisco Toro, “Venezuela’s Propaganda State Is Collapsing Under Its Own Weight” (The Washington Post, May 26, 2017).
What Venezuela needs now is many more Luisa Ortega Díazes. The attorney general did not switch sides. She merely signaled that, from now on, she will act impartially
I’m taking today off work. (How to contact me)
I’ve got a series of errands to run this morning and an article to write for another publication this afternoon. I wish my U.S. readers a good Memorial Day weekend.