5 links from the past week
- The Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission, a bipartisan body created in 2017, came out with a thoughtful report based on a year and a half of work. Lots of recommendations that sound like common sense and leave you wondering why they weren’t implemented already—unless you’ve been mired in the politics of drug policy.
- The fourth of a five-part Washington Post series about “how criminal groups are transforming Mexico” focuses on the arduous search for the disappeared, spurred far more by mothers than by the authorities, amid a profusion of mass graves. The Post has put a lot of resources into this series, and it’s worth your time. Pair it with this profile of the Madres Coraje, who are using drones and other tech to locate remains in Nuevo León, by the Camino a encontrarles project.
- Santa Marta is a beautiful Caribbean city whose environs, during the 1990s and 2000s, were under the brutal sway of the AUC paramilitary blocs led by “Jorge 40” and Hernán Giraldo. Colombia’s La Liga Contra el Silencio finds that paramilitaries, most of whom can trace their DNA to the old AUC, are making a comeback in the city just as 40 and Giraldo are being returned from U.S. prison.
- Guatemala’s Agencia Ocote profiles Anatasia Mejía Tiriquiz, the director of Xolabaj Radio and TV, an independent media outlet in conflict-battered Quiché department. Mejía has just returned from 37 days in prison, a case that alarmed press freedom watchdogs about the state of free speech in Guatemala.
- The International Crisis Group’s Elizabeth Dickinson profiles Luz Mary, a social leader in the Altos de Cazucá slum on Bogotá’s far outskirts. Most striking about the story is how completely abandoned she is by the government, even in a densely populated area near the center of Colombia’s political life, and even as she tries to maintain a program to help at-risk youth.