- Sam Cowie, David Biller, “Tarnished Gold: Aircraft, Fuel Key to Illegal Amazon Mining” (Associated Press, Associated Press, January 11, 2022).
A fleet of small planes services illegal gold mining in and around Indigenous lands in Roraima, Brazil. The difficulty of stopping the flights points to the complexity of fighting organized crime when it’s totally encrusted within “legitimate/legal” local elites—something we see a lot in Colombia, too.
- Valentina Parada Lugo, “La Zozobra Que Viven Lideres Sociales en Arauca Luego de Detenciones Arbitrarias” (El Espectador (Colombia), January 11, 2022).
In places where everyone has had to coexist with guerrillas for decades—like Arauca, Colombia—civil-society organizations (as well as politicians)) have to maintain some ties. But prosecuting civil society leaders on weak evidence is one of the stupidest ways to try to weaken an insurgency: it stigmatizes vulnerable activists, barely affects the violent group’s strength, and multiplies locals’ distrust in the state.
- Rafael Abuchaibe, ““Me Encerraron en un Destacamento Militar y Me Violaron Durante 25 Noches”” (BBC (UK), January 11, 2022).
Good overview of a case that’s finally before Guatemala’s courts: the military’s systematic rape, together with paramilitaries, of dozens of indigenous women in Baja Verapaz in the early 1980s. It’s taken nearly 40 years to get even this amount of justice.
- Anatoly Kurmanaev, “Haitian Prime Minister Had Close Links With Murder Suspect” (The New York Times, January 11, 2022).
“New evidence suggests the man who took over from Haiti’s murdered president had close links to a prime suspect in the assassination — and that the two stayed in contact even after the crime.”
- Peter Canby, “The Murder of Mexican Journalists Spreads to a Magical Town” (The New Yorker, January 11, 2022).
Along with hundreds of thousands of migrants, a lot of northbound drugs pass through Chiapas, Mexico’s southernmost state. It’s kind of remarkable that Chiapas remained violence-free for as long as it has. That’s ending: organized-crime violence is rising fast. Among recent cases is the October murder of journalist Fredy López Arévalo in San Cristobal de las Casas, a charming tourist destination.