5 links from the past week
- Jonathan Blitzer, “The Teens Trapped Between a Gang and the Law” (The New Yorker, January 1, 2018).
Profiles unaccompanied minors who fled from Central America to Long Island, only to find themselves alongside local branches of the MS-13 gang they were running away from. U.S. authorities are aggressively deporting minors on the mere suspicion of gang membership.
- Roberto Valencia, “Cuatro Claves Que Ayudan a Dimensionar la Violencia Homicida de 2017 en el Salvador” (El Faro (El Salvador), January 5, 2018).
Violence declined in El Salvador last year, but homicides remain above a horrific 60 per 100,000 residents. The much-cited analyst highlights trends here. One notable number: The population of San Salvador has declined by 37 percent since 2005.
- Alejandra S. Inzunza, Jose Luis Pardo, “A Year of Violent Tragedy Through Human Stories: 2017 in Complexo Do Alemao” (Agência Pública, RioOnWatch (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), January 3, 2018).
The authors talk not to cops, politicians, and criminals, but to a large number of residents and activists in Rio’s giant, violence-plagued Complexo do Alemão favela. “They tell a story of violence and of a promised peace that turned into a daily conflict.”
- “CJNG Avanza en 22 Estados” (Revista Zeta (Tijuana, Mexico), January 2, 2018).
A thorough overview of Mexico’s brutal Jalisco New Generation Cartel, which appears to be supplanting Sinaloa’s dominion over criminality in much of the country—a main reason for last year’s alarming spike in violence.
- Juanita León, “‘Sólo me atrevo a decir quién no será el nuevo presidente’: Coronell” (La Silla Vacía (Colombia), January 4, 2018).
The Univision reporter and popular Colombian columnist gives a frank overview of Colombia’s political situation on the eve of hotly contested March legislative and May presidential elections. He is a master of turns of phrase. One admired presidential candidate is “running a marathon with an anvil tied to his ankle.” A leftist is “the ghost of Castro-Chavismo with feet.” On a politician who has made deals with political bosses: “It’s impossible to be a ‘pure’ Ali Baba if you’re surrounded by 40 thieves.” Another who is reluctant to take strong positions “gets into the shower but won’t get wet.”