5 links from the past week
- Why does Venezuela’s military remain so loyal to the Maduro regime? Some give credit to a Cuban-managed counter-intelligence capability that sniffs out dissident officers. The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, a network of investigative journalists, finds another explanation: a cache of internal military documents shows how top commanders benefit from massive corruption. State contracts get channeled through private corporations connected to generals. The report profiles 35 of the generals.
- The International Crisis Group published a very current situation report on conditions along the Colombia-Venezuela border, where the effects of coronavirus are just starting to be felt.
- At La Silla Vacía Kyle Johnson, who works for the Kroc Institute’s Colombia team but does a lot of independent writing, recounts a recent visit to rural Tumaco, Nariño, where he meets with the head of a FARC dissident faction, which splintered last November from a dissident faction whose founder was killed in late 2018. The story portrays life in an ungoverned zone along what may be Colombia’s busiest cocaine route, where narcotraffickers have undisputed authority.
- At The El Paso Times, Lauren Villagrán visits Tapachula, Chiapas, near Mexico’s busiest border crossing with Guatemala. There, she talks to Haitian migrants who are adjusting to the idea of settling in Mexico rather than the United States. A common destination is Mexicali, a city bordering southeast California with a growing Haitian population.
- El Salvador President Nayib Bukele has responded to coronavirus by dramatically curtailing civil liberties, even ignoring unanimous Constitutional Court rulings striking down his edicts. Bukele has ordered Salvadorans to open their homes to warrantless security-force raids. El Faro alarmingly documents soldiers carrying out such raids in a slum on San Salvador’s outskirts.