5 links from the past week
- Congressional Research Service posted a new update to its report on Mexican politics and U.S.-Mexican relations. A masterful overview by longtime researcher Clare Ribando Seelke. (Also recommended: CRS’s report on Honduras, also updated this week. Both reports are excellent sources of U.S. aid numbers.)
- Spain’s El País published a series of essays about how COVID-19 is affecting Latin America, with contributions from noted reporters in El Salvador, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Chile, Nicaragua, Mexico, and at the U.S.-Mexico border. It’s anchored by a great piece by Alma Guillermoprieto.
- At El Faro, Carlos Martínez, Óscar Martínez, and Efren Lemus try to get at the reasons why gang-related homicides jumped in El Salvador in late April after spending much of the Bukele government’s months in office near longtime lows. It’s apparent that the gangs, especially MS-13, can turn violence on and off like a switch. It’s likely that they’re contesting control of the streets with the armed forces during the COVID lockdown.
- At Animal Político, Cecilia Farfán of USCD’s U.S.-Mexico Center reflects on underlying causes of Mexico’s persistently high violent crime. She suggests looking beyond “illegality versus illegality” or “social fabric” narratives, going more local to look at the semi-legal origins of the barrios currently suffering the worst violence.
- Marta Ruiz, a veteran investigative journalist at Semana magazine who is now a commissioner on Colombia’s Truth Commission, “reflects from quarantine” on the country (and world) that may emerge after the current crisis ends.