Adam Isacson

Defense, security, borders, migration, and human rights in Latin America and the United States. May not reflect my employer’s consensus view.

October 2022

A new (rare) “post-populist” president

With his October 30 election victory quickly recognized by the U.S. and most international governments (though not yet by current President Jair Bolsonaro), Brazil’s Luis Inácio Lula da Silva becomes a member of a very small club: that of the world’s “post-populist” presidents.

I use the term to refer a leader who, in a democratic election, defeats and succeeds a populist, institution-defying, authoritarian-trending president. The “post-populist” leader usually defeats their adversary before the authoritarian-trending leader can serve enough time in office to consolidate their rule.

As far as I can tell, the list includes:

  • Romano Prodi, a former prime minister who narrowly defeated Silvio Berlusconi in Italy in 2006, leading a broad, fragile center-left coalition.
  • Joe Biden, a former vice president who narrowly defeated Donald Trump in the United States in 2020, leading a broad, fragile center-left coalition known as the Democratic Party.
  • Lula, a former president who narrowly defeated Jair Bosonaro in Brazil in 2022, leading a broad, fragile center-left coalition.

One could add an additional member of this “club,” in Ecuador, whose path to post-populist power was different.

  • Lenin Moreno, the vice president to populist leader Rafael Correa (2007-2017), who only turned against his former political patron after winning victory (narrowly) and succeeding him.

There may be other examples, but these are the only four who come easily to mind. Most everywhere else (Hungary, Turkey, the Philippines, Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, El Salvador, increasingly Mexico, etc.), populists remain firmly in power, and in many cases popular enough to win new terms.

What the small number of post-populist leaders shows us, though, is at least three things:

  1. Stopping a second term is vital. Unless an elected authoritarian is popular enough to command a super-majority (as in El Salvador), it usually takes more than a single electoral term for that leader to consolidate rule. It takes several years for non-aligned officials in other branches of government (the high courts, the electoral tribunal, anti-corruption bodies, agencies that oversee the armed forces, commerce, telecommunications) to finish their terms and be replaced. A leader seeking to undermine checks and balances can’t finish the job, usually, in one term.
  2. The rise of authoritarian populism is neither inexorable nor irreversible. This isn’t quite the rise of fascism in the 1930s. The victories of “post-populist” leaders offer hopeful proof that the norms-defying, flooding-the-social-media-zone “playbook” that today’s authoritarians follow is not unbeatable.
  3. One electoral win doesn’t mean that democratic-institutionalist political movements can declare victory. When they lose, populist leaders still outperform their poll numbers and command large minorities. When forced from office, they continue to organize and take advantage of the post-populist leaders’ perceived weaknesses. (With only slim majorities and leading fractious coalitions, those weaknesses are more than “perceived.”)

Populists can win again. They’ve already done so in Italy, and are poised to do well in the November 8, 2022 U.S. midterm legislative elections. For authoritarian populists, outcomes like Brazil’s 2022 elections could turn out to be mere setbacks.

Latin America Security-Related News: October 28, 2022

October 28, 2022


We are facing one of the worst human rights crises of recent times. During the past four years, Bolsonaro has delivered on his campaign promises from 2018

“If our president isn’t elected, everyone goes to Brasília,” said Rogério Ramos, 40, owner of an automotive electronics shop, referring to the nation’s capital. “We shut down Congress, just like in ’64”

After four years in power, a movement created by elite campaigns has built a mass base

In response to Bolsonaro’s threats, I and other Members of Congress call on the Biden Administration to defend free and fair run-off elections in Brazil on Oct 30


Así lo aseveró Gloria Cuartas, encargada del gobierno Petro de la implementación del Acuerdo de Paz, en el encuentro ‘Confluencia Nacional de Líderes y Lideresas Comunitarios por la Paz’

Indigenous and other marginalized Colombians are putting pressure on the new government to follow through on land redistribution promises

We theorize that an armed group’s position relative to the state (anti-state or pro-state) and governing ideology (sharing governing responsibilities with local institutions or destroying them to govern centrally) interact to influence citizens’ later choices about political participation

Colombia, Venezuela

El presidente de Colombia, Gustavo Petro, pidió a su homólogo venezolano, Nicolás Maduro, que regrese a su país al Sistema Interamericano de Derechos Humanos, del cual se retiró hace una década, para de esta forma fortalecer la democracia en la región


Cuba’s energy crisis has once again thrust the Caribbean island into the middle of an escalating tug-of-war between its seaside neighbor, the United States, and ally, Russia. Cuba sees the need to ease U.S. sanctions at the same time that it is benefitting from an influx of Russian oil


El juez guatemalteco, que sentó en el banquillo a militares que cometieron violaciones a los derechos humanos, denuncia persecución y amenazas debido a su trabajo


The assessment, conducted between June and August 2022, identified over 113,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Haiti. Of these, 96,000 individuals fled insecurity in the capital


Investigation into the 2015 incident revealed the 0.50-caliber weapon for the Jalisco cartel was purchased in Portland, Oregon

La Guardia Nacional prepara la adquisición de una plataforma para la intervención de comunicaciones privadas

Panama, Venezuela

De acuerdo con el Servicio Nacional de Migración, este jueves ingresaron 477 migrantes irregulares, de los cuales, 54 son venezolanos, lo que indica una baja considerable

U.S.-Mexico Border

A deep look with the Electronic Frontier Foundation at the fortification of surveillance on the border. As Nogales mayor Arturo Garino asked: “Would you want to have a blimp above your house?”

Left and right agreed that migrant children shouldn’t be torn away from their parents. But they couldn’t be bothered to pass a law

At least 853 migrants died trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border unlawfully in the past 12 months, making fiscal year 2022 the deadliest year for migrants recorded by the U.S. government, according to internal Border Patrol data

Biden seems to be taking the lead from Clinton by pairing increased enforcement with the creation of alternative legal pathways to enter

Some tall coca bushes in Honduras

In this tweet, Honduras’s armed forces report “identifying and securing” a coca field in the country’s rural far east. These bushes are quite tall: they were planted some time ago. Certainly before the term of President Xiomara Castro began nine months ago in late January.

Latin America Security-Related News: October 27, 2022

(Even more here)

October 27, 2022


La ceremonia se llevó a cabo en la Base Antinarcóticos de San José del Guaviare

Colombia’s Congress on Wednesday approved a law to allow President Gustavo Petro to seek peace deals with leftist rebels and criminal groups tied to drug trafficking via negotiations and processes of surrender

Guatemala, Venezuela

Decenas de migrantes venezolanos ven truncado su deseo de llegar a EE. UU. y muchos de ellos quedaron varados en Guatemala, donde claman por ayuda para regresar a su país


In exclusive interviews with Courthouse News, navy sailors incorporated into the National Guard described corruption, low pay and poor quality of services since the force initiated its transfer to the Secretariat of National Defense

This summer, the government said it had uncovered what happened during the 2014 mass abduction. Arrest warrants quickly followed. But since then, the criminal case and the new account have unraveled

Organizaciones de la sociedad civil interpusieron 24 nuevos amparos contra las reformas legislativas que delegan la operación y administración de los recursos económicos de la Guardia Nacional (GN) en manos de la Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional

El documento al que tuvo acceso MILENIO describe que varios parientes de estos hermanos se han convertido en los coordinadores regionales y jefes de plaza de la organización criminal

Mexico, Venezuela

Atorados en Honduras, donde piden ayuda, migrantes venezolanos que intentaron llegar a Estados Unidos relatan que en el sur de México se toparon con un muro verde formado por militares y agentes migratorios que les impidieron avanzar

The plane, operated by Venezuela’s state airline, left Mexico City’s Felipe Angeles International Airport destined for Caracas


On Monday the Biden administration expanded Trump-era sanctions to the Nicaraguan economy, cutting off the country’s lucrative gold industry from U.S. markets

U.S.-Mexico Border

We investigate secretive units within the US Border Patrol that have been accused of covering up agent misconduct

On Tuesday, Chihuahua state authorities asked the migrants to move away from a migrant aid center and the railroad tracks, and a large group pitched tents nearby on the south bank of the Rio Grande

About 1,000 Venezuelan migrants have been expelled from the U.S. into the city of Tijuana since Oct. 12, well below projections of 200 per day but enough to fill shelters beyond capacity

Latin America Security-Related News: October 26, 2022

(Abridged, because I’m traveling)

(Even more here)

October 26, 2022


Once deemed unlikely, reelection would allow Brazil’s president to double down on his cultural agenda and bring an uncertain outlook for foreign policy and the economy


La Comisión Nacional de Territorios Indígenas alerta del aumento en las masacres y homicidios contra los pueblos indígenas durante el 2021

The president is reaching out to Washington on issues like energy and drug policy, yet maintaining an anti-American rhetoric to appease his voter base back home


Mi familia es una de muchas afectadas por la impunidad de la que goza la Patrulla Fronteriza de los Estados Unidos


“The United States continues to recognize Juan Guaidó as the interim government of Venezuela,” a U.S. national security official said. “If the Venezuelan opposition decides to do away with the interim government, it is their decision”

Latin America Security-Related News: October 25, 2022

(Even more here)

(Abridged version, since I’m traveling)

October 25, 2022

Western Hemisphere Regional

The head of the Organization of American States unfairly maligned the reputation of a Brazilian lawyer who he abruptly fired as the region’s top human rights watchdog, according to a new administrative ruling

Desde la perspectiva de construcción de paz, una negociación podría ser exitosa si transforma las condiciones que hacen que muchas personas se involucren en actividades ilícitas y usen la violencia entre ellos y contra las comunidades de las que forman parte

It likely plays a key supporting role in urbanization and economic development, which would become unviable if peripheries were permanently anarchic

Colombia, Venezuela

Colombia’s engagement with Venezuela should not be seen as a reason to be silent about human rights violations and the country’s humanitarian crisis

El Salvador

At least 80 people arrested under the state of exception have succumbed without being convicted of anything

Some fear that El Salvador is replicating the oppressive conditions that touched off its brutal 12-year civil war (1980-92) between leftist guerrillas and the U.S.-backed right-wing military government

U.S.-Mexico Border

The snafus suggest a pattern of Border Patrol agents, particularly in Texas, sending migrants without friends or family in the United States to offices that get no notice

U.S.-Mexico Border, Venezuela

They have sold their belongings and trekked across a deadly jungle. Now, tens of thousands Venezuelan migrants are stranded south of the United States, with nowhere to go

Traveling this week

I’m flying overnight to Chile, where I’ll be participating in a conference on security in the Americas (which will be livestreamed) organized by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. I haven’t been to Chile in about seven or eight years, and am looking forward to being in Santiago again.

I won’t be posting things here regularly this week, but will resume normal tempo the week of the 31st.

Weekly U.S.-Mexico Border Update: October 21, 2022

With this series of weekly updates, WOLA seeks to cover the most important developments at the U.S.-Mexico border. See past weekly updates here.

This week:

  • In the wake of the Biden administration’s announcement that Venezuelan asylum seekers will now be expelled into Mexico under Title 42, this week’s Border Update reviews numbers of expelled migrants, how the U.S. offer of humanitarian parole for 24,000 Venezuelans will work, and human rights concerns voiced by numerous actors.
  • The narrative then moves to resulting humanitarian concerns and migration shifts in a long geographic arc, going north to south from Mexican border cities, through Mexico City and southern Mexico, through Guatemala and Honduras, to Panama’s Darién Gap, Colombia, and Ecuador.

Due to staff travel, WOLA will not publish a Border Update next week. The next Update will appear on November 4.

U.S. completes first week of Title 42 expulsions into Mexico

From the U.S. border to South America, migrants, service providers, and governments have been jolted by the Biden administration’s October 12 announcement that asylum-seeking migrants from Venezuela are now subject to rapid expulsion across the land border into Mexico.

Under the Title 42 pandemic authority, begun by the Trump administration and prolonged by the Biden administration and then by a federal court order, all migrants are subject to rapid expulsion regardless of their expressed need for asylum. Mexico agrees to accept land-border expulsions of its own citizens, as well as those of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and now—as of October 12—citizens of Venezuela.

The U.S. measure comes with a program allowing up to 24,000 Venezuelans to apply for humanitarian parole in the United States. (In September alone, 33,000 Venezuelan migrants arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border.)

Mexico’s foreign secretary, Marcelo Ebrard, said that U.S. authorities expelled 1,768 Venezuelan citizens during the new measures’ first four days, with each day’s number fewer than the last. By the time six days were complete, Dana Graber Ladek, the Mexico chief of mission for the U.N.-backed International Organization for Migration (IOM) said that expulsions of Venezuelans totaled more than 3,000. After seven days, according to credible information seen by WOLA, they exceeded 4,000.

Expulsions of Venezuelans have been taking place from El Paso, Texas into Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua; San Diego, California into Tijuana, Baja California; Brownsville, Texas into Matamoros, Tamaulipas; Nogales, Arizona into Nogales, Sonora; and Eagle Pass, Texas into Piedras Negras, Coahuila.

“According to a Mexican official, the government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador demanded that the US admit one Venezuelan for humanitarian reasons for each Venezuelan it expels to Mexico,” the Mexican daily Reforma reported. “So, if the Biden Administration receives 24,000 Venezuelans, Mexico would not accept more than 24,000 Venezuelans expelled from the United States.” WOLA has heard no official information, however, corroborating this claim that expulsions are capped at 24,000.

Humanitarian parole

On October 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) posted details about how the humanitarian parole process will work. Venezuelans outside the United States will be able to apply online “for advance authorization to travel and a temporary period of parole for up to 2 years.” To be approved, applicants must not have been expelled before, or have entered Mexico or Panama after the new policy went into effect (the policy was published in the U.S. Federal Register on October 19). They must have “a supporter in the United States who agrees to provide them with financial support for the duration of their parole in the United States.”

A key obstacle is a U.S. requirement that Venezuelan applicants hold a passport that is either unexpired or within five years of having expired, restricting the availability of humanitarian parole to Venezuelans who have been able to obtain a passport. This is not easy to do, WOLA noted in 2018, due to the Venezuelan regime’s passport service being in a state of “bureaucratic disarray” and reliant on a thriving black market. “The cost of a passport in Venezuela is $200, nearly ten times the country’s minimum wage,” Reuters reported. (The Mexican daily Milenio cited black-market rates “between US$700 and US$1,500.”) “Only 1% of 1,591 migrants who left Venezuela between June and August held a passport,” Reuters added, citing the non-governmental Observatory of Social Investigations.

Upon their expulsion, Mexico’s migration authority (National Migration Institute, or INM) has been giving Venezuelan migrants documents allowing them to stay in the country for only 15 days—and in some cases, 7 days. Nearly all lack the resources or security guarantees to “self-deport” back to Venezuela, and Mexico is unlikely to have the resources to detain thousands of undocumented Venezuelans or fly them to Caracas. The most likely outcome is that many expelled Venezuelans will turn to Mexico’s already overwhelmed asylum agency (National Refugee Assistance Commission or COMAR). COMAR’s coordinator, Andrés Ramírez, said he expects the agency to receive 10,000 asylum applications from Venezuelan citizens by the end of the year.

Human rights concerns

Criticisms of the Biden administration’s move came from many quarters:

Read More

Latin America Security-Related News: October 19, 2022

(Even more here)

October 19, 2022

Argentina, Paraguay

La Cancillería argentina le reclamó a Paraguay que dé explicaciones sobre un acuerdo que el gobierno de Mario Abdo Benitez está llevando adelante con la División del Atlántico Sur del Cuerpo de Ingenieros del Ejército de los Estados Unidos


El presidente aseguró desde Cali que esos actores pueden tener un asiento en las conversaciones que está convocando su gobierno en las regiones

A las agencias que lideran la reforma agraria se les triplicó el presupuesto de inversión, mientras que otras como la Agencia de Reincorporación o la Agencia de Renovación del Territorio tuvieron una reducción en los recursos

Ha enfocado su carrera en la promoción de la paz y los derechos humanos

El periodista se había hecho notorio en la región por sus denuncias de posibles irregularidades en contratos públicos


The assistance includes $2 million in provisions and supplies that will be delivered through independent non-governmental organizations


Este miércoles el primer mandatario recibirá a senadores de Estados Unidos con los que también tratará sobre los planes en su lucha contra actos ilícitos

El Salvador

La PNC ha entendido que su fuerza bruta es necesaria para los gobiernos autoritarios, se ha dejado usar a conveniencia creyendo que la impunidad es eterna si se mantiene del lado del poder


El decreto gubernativo 51-2022 es producto de la alianza oficialista en el Congreso, y este tendrá un costo financiero para Guatemala de Q3 mil 600 millones

The arrest of Zamora, perhaps the country’s best-known journalist with a reputation for probity and rooting out state corruption over the past 30 years, represents another step in Guatemala’s retreat from the rule of law


A U.S. Air Force C-17, based at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, transported vital security equipment, including tactical and armored vehicles, purchased by the Haitian National Police (HNP) from Canadian Forces

Haitians currently facing series of crises that are becoming deadlier by the day with gangs, hunger and cholera outbreak


El encubrimiento de los agentes de estas entidades cuando son involucrados en casos de alto impacto se ha hecho evidente y son actos destacados por diversos organismos de derechos humanos nacionales e internacionales


El secretario de Gobernación, Adán Augusto López, dijo que en la actual administración las Fuerzas Armadas han respetado los derechos humanos, por lo que “ya quedaron atrás las oscuras noches del 68, del 70” y de Acteal

En otra acción extraordinaria para evitar un brote generalizado de violencia e inseguridad, la cúpula militar decide reforzar la seguridad con el tercer embarque de militares en los primeros 18 días del gobierno de Américo Villarreal

Morena y sus aliados modificaron el acuerdo para evitar que los titulares de la Sedena, la Marina y la Guardia Nacional deban responder preguntas de legisladores cuando acudan al Senado este miércoles 19

Del lado mexicano participaron 122 soldados y del país vecino se envió a 111 para prácticas

La violencia no pone en riesgo al sistema político y económico, en realidad, este la usa como un poderoso recurso

Mexico, Venezuela

Las calles de Ciudad Juárez, en México, están llenas de migrantes venezolanos que no tienen donde dormir ni comer

Among the requirements is having a U.S.-based supporter and holding a valid passport. The cost of a passport in Venezuela is $200, nearly ten times the country’s minimum wage


Richardson visitó la provincia del Darién junto al ministro panameño de Seguridad, Juan Pino, quien destacó que más de 300 agentes del Servicio Nacional de Fronteras (Senafront) serán desplazados en la zona limítrofe con Colombia


Las graves denuncias que acusan a la Sala Penal que integró Enma Benavides de cobrar por la liberación de narcotraficantes. La investigación que fue descabezada por la actual fiscal de la Nación

U.S.-Mexico Border

Inside the trailer are the remains of unidentified migrants that are piling up as deaths mount and local funeral homes are unable to keep up


What is the importance of the Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) that the Uruguayan Armed Forces carry out with their U.S. counterparts?


More than 3,000 Venezuelans have been returned to Mexico since the policy began last week

Latin America Security-Related News: October 18, 2022

(Even more here)

October 18, 2022


Experts say militias now pose a far graver threat to the city and – because of their political ambitions and connections, including to far-right president Jair Bolsonaro – to Brazilian democracy itself

Between the start of 2022 and the first round of voting on 2 October, ACLED records at least 36 instances of political violence involving party representatives and supporters across the country


Los candidatos son Roberto Vidal y Camilo Suárez, ambos magistrados de la Sección con Reconocimiento del Tribunal Especial para la Paz

Daniel Rendon Herrera, a.k.a. “Don Mario,” Ordered to Pay $45.7 Million in Forfeiture

Moreno era el director del medio digital Voces de Córdoba, y tenía un amplio reconocimiento en la región por su labor como dirigente comunal y líder social

Un operativo logró desarmar uno de los brazos más poderosos de la temida banda en Bogotá

Colombia, Venezuela

Up to 13,000 migrants are working in Tibú, attracted by a job that pays relatively well. But opportunities are drying up as sales of coca paste grind nearly to a halt


La Fiscalía reporta que Guayaquil es la ciudad ecuatoriana con mayor cantidad de denuncias de extorsiones (474 casos hasta agosto) e intimidación (2.479 casos)

El Salvador

The arrests were ordered on October 13 by Judge María Mercedes Argüello of the trial court in Dulce Nombre de María, Chalatenango, after finding sufficient grounds for the accused officers to face trial


Según las estadísticas del Instituto Guatemalteco de Migración (IGM), del 1 al 16 de octubre han sido identificados y expulsados de Guatemala, 3 mil 7 migrantes de 21 nacionalidades, de los cuales 2 mil 354 —el 78%— procedían de Venezuela


The United States and Mexico said Monday they are preparing a U.N. resolution that would authorize an international mission to help improve security in Haiti


Múltiples reportes del Centro Regional de Fusión e Inteligencia Sureste (Cerfise) y de la 30ª Zona Militar identifican a Hernán Bermúdez, secretario de seguridad de Tabasco, como integrante del Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación

Los disparos efectuados en Ocotlán por la GN en contra de manifestantes remite a otro escenario de tensiones aún más preocupante: las intervenciones de las fuerzas armadas y la GN en conflictos sociales

El secretario sostuvo, en primer lugar, que la Comisión de Defensa de la Cámara de Diputados no es el organismo ante el cual el titular de la Sedena debe rendir cuentas

San Pedro Tapanatepec had 7,000 migrants, about 75% Venezuelans, when The Associated Press visited at the beginning of October. By Monday, Mayor Humberto Parrazales estimated the number had grown to 14,000

Mexico, Venezuela

Andrés Ramírez, coordinador general de la Comar, dijo que habrá flexibilidad para los ciudadanos que solicitaron el refugio en México pero abandonaron su caso en un intento por llegar a EU

De acuerdo con sus testimonios, tuvieron que caminar varias horas de la Central de Autobuses del Norte a las oficinas de la Comisión Mexicana de Ayuda a Refugiados

Durante el fin de semana más de mil 200 fueron sacados de ese país; 800 pernoctan en Ciudad Juárez


El RC-12 Guardrail que incorporó a su alá aeronaval el SENAN, es una versión militarizada para misiones de inteligencia y vigilancia de la familia de aviones de doble turbohélice King Air modelo 250 de Beechcraft

Panama, Venezuela

Figueroa se despide del «sueño americano» porque en el albergue «para nadie es ya un secreto que la frontera está cerrada» y «todo el mundo ha visto las redes sociales»

U.S.-Mexico Border

They complain he is unfamiliar with some of the operations of CBP and instead is focused primarily on reforming the culture of the Border Patrol, addressing its long list of allegations of racism and violence

The Cocopah Indian Tribe in southwestern Arizona welcomed the call to take down the containers in the latest rift between the Biden administration and Republican-led border states over how to prevent illegal border crossings

“It did not originate from CDC,” Cetron told congressional investigators, saying he “refused” to sign an order to invoke Title 42 after his team did not find sufficient public health evidence to justify the move

As of March 1, 2022, about three-quarters of family unit members (nearly 140,000) had reported to an ICE field office


El gobierno de Joe Biden viene tomando una serie de medidas progresivas que avanzan hacia una «convivencia» con el gobierno de Maduro, aunque no impliquen reconocimiento

Latin America Security-Related News: October 13, 14, and 17, 2022

(Even more here)

October 17, 2022


President Gabriel Boric is still struggling to deal with a surge of violence in the Mapuche region of Araucanía


“Estrenó” su cargo no solo declarando insubsistente a una juez de policías por graves irregularidades en su despacho, sino notificando la medida a la opinión pública, mediante un comunicado

Vorágine tuvo acceso a unas filtraciones en las que se revelan las preocupaciones y recomendaciones que un agregado militar de Colombia en Estados Unidos le envía a sus superiores en Bogotá

En entrevista exclusiva con Caracol Radio, alias ‘Iván Mordisco’ se refirió a su supuesta muerte y habló de la ‘paz total’ que propone el Gobierno de Gustavo Petro

La voz de las víctimas sin duda cuenta, pero (lo más impopular de esta columna) el modelo de verdad, justicia, reparación y no repetición no puede convertirse en el palo de la rueda de la paz

The members of the Security Council welcomed President Gustavo Petro’s commitment to peace and to comprehensive implementation of the Final Peace Agreement as expressed in his inaugural speech

El 16 y 17 de octubre del 2002, cientos de personas de la Comuna 13 en Medellín fueron víctimas de desaparición, homicidio y privados de su libertad

Colombia, Venezuela

A Tibú, el municipio colombiano con más hectáreas de coca, han llegado hasta 13.000 migrantes venezolanos atraídos por un trabajo bien pagado para ellos

Some on the Colombian beach said they would seek other routes into the United States or give up the voyage after hearing the news

Guatemala, Honduras

La madrugada de este domingo también un grupo de unos 350 migrantes de diferentes nacionalidades llegó al puesto de control en el puente Motagua, Izabal


G9 and Family leader Jimmy Cherizier, who goes by the nickname “Barbecue,” read a proposed plan to stabilize Haiti that includes the creation of a “Council of Sages” with one representative from each of Haiti’s 10 departments

The United States has drafted a United Nations Security Council resolution that will encourage the “immediate deployment of a multinational rapid action force” to Haiti to address the nation’s worst security and health crisis in decades


Actualmente, la Policía tiene el reto de limpiar su imagen después de la extradición de Bonilla, el enjuiciamiento de varios miembros de la institución involucrados en casos de narcotráfico investigados por la Fiscalía del Distrito Sur de Nueva York y los cuestionamientos que se siguen haciendo


Governor Greg Abbott wants to make the border safe for his state but loose gun laws allow cartels to drive to any Texas gun shop and legally stockpile guns, Mexican officials say

Animal Político denunció que el Ejército mexicano compró, en 2019, el software Pegasus, con el que espió a dos periodistas, uno de ellos de esta casa editorial, y a un defensor de derechos humanos. Hasta el momento, las autoridades no han abierto una investigación al respecto

El Secretario de la Defensa se negó a ir a la Cámara de Diputados y solo aceptó hablar con legisladores en las instalaciones de la Sedena hasta que este sábado se conoció la suspensión del encuentro

Read More

Latin America-related events online and in Washington this week

Monday, October 17

Tuesday, October 18

  • 1:00-2:30 at Zoom: Abuse, Accountability, and Organizational Culture at U.S. Border Law Enforcement Agencies (RSVP required).
  • 2:30-4:00 at Zoom: Human Rights and the Changing Colombia-Venezuela Relationship (RSVP required).

Wednesday, October 19

Thursday, October 20

  • 1:00 at PUCP Zoom and Facebook Live: El legado del fujimorismo (RSVP required).

Weekly U.S.-Mexico Border Update: October 13, 2022

With this series of weekly updates, WOLA seeks to cover the most important developments at the U.S.-Mexico border. See past weekly updates here.

This week:

  • Mexico has agreed to a U.S. request to accept expulsions of Venezuelan citizens into its territory, using the Title 42 pandemic authority. The DHS announcement comes with the launch of a small program to allow up to 24,000 Venezuelan citizens to apply for humanitarian parole from outside the United States. Venezuelan migration to the U.S.-Mexico border, nearly all of it overland, totaled 33,000 people in September.
  • Over 48,000 people, 80 percent of them Venezuelan, transited Panama’s Darién Gap wilderness in September. The barely-governed region, once regarded as impassable, remains very dangerous for migrants who seek to walk its 60-mile-plus length.
  • A foreign ministers’ meeting alongside the OAS General Assembly session in Peru followed up on 21 countries’ commitments to improve migration management. The State Department announced in recent weeks $817 million in new migration-related assistance.
  • Mexico’s attorney general has proposed giving the National Guard, a new branch of the armed forces, a direct role in apprehending and detaining migrants, and requiring the government’s migration agency to maintain a registry of human rights defenders.
  • Texas’s troubled “Operation Lone Star” anti-migration policy was the subject of several lengthy pieces in the U.S. media over the last week, including the CBP Commissioner’s view that Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) busing of migrants has become a “pull factor” encouraging migrants to come to the border.

Mexico will now accept Title 42 expulsions of Venezuelans

“Effective immediately,” the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on October 12, “Venezuelans who enter the United States between ports of entry, without authorization, will be returned to Mexico.” A release from Mexico’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that these returns will be expulsions across the land border under Title 42.

Title 42 is a measure that U.S. authorities, in the name of limiting COVID-19’s spread, have used to quickly expel migrants from the U.S.-Mexico border over 2.2 million times. Often, these expulsions deny migrants the right to ask for asylum in the United States. Land ports of entry along the border remain closed to most asylum seekers.

The Trump administration first implemented Title 42 in March 2020. The Biden administration maintained it, then planned to suspend it in May 2022 amid declining COVID cases. A lawsuit brought by Republican state attorneys-general prevented that May suspension. Now, the Biden administration is fighting for the right to suspend Title 42 even as it expands its application to Venezuelan citizens.

As of October 12, Mexico is accepting U.S. Title 42 land-border expulsions of citizens of five countries: Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and now Venezuela. Citizens of those first four countries have made up 99 percent of recent months’ Title 42 expulsions, since land-border expulsions are cheaper and easier—both logistically and diplomatically—than expulsions by air.

As the first reports emerged of disoriented, homeless migrants returned to Mexican border cities, human rights and migrants’ rights defenders were quick to criticize the new measure. Migrants expelled to Mexico under Title 42 have been subjected to thousands of known cases of assault, rape, kidnapping, robbery, and other violent attacks. WOLA called out the Biden administration for a policy that “seeks to bring the numbers down at all costs rather than adopting measures to reopen the border to access asylum or other forms of protection,” and faulted the Mexican government for a step that “once again demonstrates its willingness to do the U.S. bidding on migration enforcement, even at the expense of the safety and well-being of migrants and asylum seekers.”

The Biden administration pushed to include Venezuelan citizens because of a sharp recent rise in arrivals of Venezuelan citizens at the U.S.-Mexico border. U.S. border authorities had encountered 153,905 Venezuelans during the first 11 months of the government’s 2022 fiscal year (October 2021-August 2022), and DHS’s release revealed that 33,000 more Venezuelans arrived at the border in September, for a full-year total of about 187,000 Venezuelan migrants. Citizens of Venezuela were the second most-encountered nationality at the border in August and September. The only other countries whose citizens have ever been encountered at the border 33,000 or more times in a single month are Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and (once, in April 2022) Cuba.

Texas Public Radio reported that “up to 660 Venezuelans have been crossing every day in El Paso alone.” This has strained the city’s short-term migrant shelter capacity, reduced when its principal humanitarian nonprofit, Annunciation House, closed the largest shelter in its network earlier this year “due to maintenance issues and a lack of volunteers,” the Guardian reported.

Along with the Title 42 expansion, DHS announced a humanitarian parole program for up to 24,000 Venezuelan refugees. As 33,000 Venezuelan migrants arrived at the border in September, this program would benefit a number equal to about 3 weeks of the current flow.

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Latin America Security-Related News: October 12, 2022

(Even more here)

October 12, 2022

Western Hemisphere Regional

El Estado violenta a usuarios de drogas pobres, satura las oficinas del sistema judicial, encarcela a los eslabones más bajos, mientras delitos como los de lavado de dinero son escasamente investigados e improbablemente condenados


Journalist Dom Phillips was following Indigenous rights activist Bruno Pereira when both men disappeared along a remote river


El estado de emergencia, que permite el despliegue de las Fuerzas Armadas, fue decretado el 16 de mayo por el gobierno del Presidente Gabriel Boric, en la Región de La Araucanía, y las provincias de Arauco y del Biobío


El presidente de Colombia, Gustavo Petro, planteó desde su campaña presidencial la posibilidad de reemplazar el servicio militar obligatorio y sustituirlo por un servicio que no necesariamente deba ser prestado en las fuerzas militares

Le contamos cuáles son las claves para entender este acuerdo y las preguntas que deja

Uribe says the FARC was the bad guy, and the Truth Commission says no: everyone committed crimes, but the government and paramilitaries were worse. The story told is complicated, because it was a complicated war

Colombia, Panama

Los registros oficiales señalan que, por ejemplo, en la semana del 24 al 30 de septiembre se reportaron 14.000 salidas de migrantes, que se traduce en un 12% más en comparación con la semana anterior

Dominican Republic, Haiti

Dominican President Luis Abinader announced the country’s biggest purchase of military gear since 1961 – six helicopters, ten aircraft, 21 armored vehicles and four anti-riot trucks


U.S. Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs Brian Nichols was scheduled to fly to Haiti on Wednesday as part of an official two-day visit

The Commission for a Haitian Solution to the Crisis, also known as the Montana Accord (named for the Port-au-Prince hotel where the group formed), issued a statement on October 7 opposing any foreign intervention

Since the early 1900s, there have been at least three major foreign military interventions in Haiti led by the United States and the United Nations


Gobierno hondureño intercede ante Estados Unidos sobre la necesidad de extender el actual TPS a damnificados por Eta y Iota, o a crear un nuevo TPS


El hackeo de “Guacamaya” exhibe la corrupción, abusos y delitos de dos poderes: el poder militar y el poder presidencial (incluida la familia de AMLO)

El borrador de la Sedena y el CNI contempla penas de prisión y multas a quienes, entre otras cosas, posean, accedan o conozcan información identificada como de seguridad nacional

Because standing armies require a lot of people and resources, there is always a temptation to use them for non-defense tasks. This is not unique to Mexico. Militaries get used because they already exist and cost a lot to maintain

El golpe estaba dado desde el 9 de septiembre, con la publicación en el Diario Oficial de la Federación, el decreto por el que se “ordena” dar de baja a todo el personal de Policía Federal que quede en la GN

En vez de ello, el general citó a los legisladores a un encuentro en su oficina el próximo 18 de octubre



U.S.-Mexico Border

Officials in rural Kinney County, Texas, are pushing Gov. Greg Abbott to take ever more extreme action against migrants and asylum-seekers

When two migrants were shot on a roadside in West Texas, the police arrested two suspects: The warden of a troubled private prison, and his brother, a local jail employee

Congress remains deadlocked on how to enact immigration reform, leaving the task of managing the influx of people — a rapidly escalating problem — to the Biden White House. But the causes of the current migration boom are complicated

Nonstop commentary in the U.S. about a “border crisis” fails to convey a dramatic shift in the migrant population over the past nine years


On the first anniversary of the death of Raúl Isaías Baduel, Provea presents the report “The slow death of Baduel”, through which the human rights violations against the Minister of Defense and his relatives during almost 11 years of political prison are systematized

It has come under criticism for allowing the participation of countries with spotty human rights records, including China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and Russia

The plan is intended to serve as an expanded and more orderly process. If migrants meet the criteria and are approved, they’d then be paroled into the US at an airport with the ability to also work legally

The program, an effort to deal with a surge in migrants, would be similar to one offered to Ukrainians

Venezuela, Western Hemisphere Regional

Some 4.3 million refugees and migrants from Venezuela face challenges accessing food, housing and stable employment, a recent assessment concludes

Next Tuesday: Abuse, Accountability, and Organizational Culture at U.S. Border Law Enforcement Agencies

I don’t host events very often, and I’ve wanted to do this one for a while.

There’s a few colleagues in Washington and at the U.S.-Mexico border whose work I really admire: people who take testimonies from migrants about abuse they say they suffered at the hands of U.S. border law enforcement agencies (CBP and Border Patrol), and people who doggedly follow the DHS complaints process and otherwise seek reforms to hold abusers accountable. It’s hard work.

I’m delighted that four of these colleagues accepted my invitation to talk about their work, what they’re finding, what happens when you try to achieve justice or redress after an abuse occurs, and how to bring about institutional and cultural change.

We’ll be talking at 1:00pm Eastern next Tuesday in this virtual event. I’ll share the video on YouTube (and embedded here) afterward. Please join, and share—here’s the WOLA event announcement.

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