- Seth Freed Wessler, “The Coast Guard’s ‘Floating Guantánamos’,” The New York Times Magazine, November 20, 2017.
Wessler reveals and details a very disturbing practice that intensified with the U.S. Southern Command’s post–2012 “Operation Martillo” drug-interdiction surge. When the U.S. Coast Guard captures someone trafficking drugs in international waters—often, impoverished fishermen at the low end of the drug business—it confines them on board for weeks or months at a time without charges, usually in shackles and incomunicado.
- Azam Ahmed, “In Mexico, Not Dead. Not Alive. Just Gone.” The New York Times, November 20, 2017.
Tens of thousands of Mexicans have disappeared, either at the hands of criminal groups or the security forces themselves. Mexico’s government is either overwhelmed or just doesn’t care. Ahmed profiles some of the families who are organizing, both to press the government and to find their missing loved ones on their own.
- Jacqueline Charles and Patricia Mazzei, “Haitian quake victims in the U.S. will lose deportation protection in 2019,” The Miami Herald, November 20, 2017.
This is the best overview I’ve seen of the Trump administration’s reckless and cruel decision to force 60,000 Haitians to return en masse within 18 months. It goes into the political calculation behind it, splits in the Republican party, especially in Florida, the potential impact on Haiti, the families that will be separated, and the lives that will be forever disrupted.
- “La no repetición de la violencia se ve distante,” Verdad Abierta (Colombia), November 24, 2017.
A year after the signing of Colombia’s FARC peace accord, an in-depth look at persistent violence in several regions. Draws heavily from good reporting by the national human rights ombudsman’s office and the OAS.
- Alexis Okeowo, “A Mexican Town Wages Its Own War on Drugs,” The New Yorker, November 27, 2017.
The complicated story of Nestora Salgado, who led a community self-defense “police” force in Olinalá, Guerrero. She ran afoul of corrupt Guerrero officials. Her force abused its own power and she spent time in prison. And she is something of a folk hero—with many critics—back home.
- Nik Steinberg, “Trump and Havana’s Hard-liners,” The New York Review of Books, November 22, 2017.
“While greater US engagement removed one of the main impediments to Cuba’s moving toward greater openness and freedom,” the former Human Rights Watch and Obama administration official recognizes, “it could not by itself bring about that change.” However, he holds out the possibility that Trump’s misguided walk-back of Obama’s reforms could “gavaniz[e] a coalition to lift the embargo altogether.”
- Elisabeth Malkin, “Distaste for Honduran Leaders Who Linger Fuels Distrust in Election,” The New York Times, November 25, 2017.
A snapshot of Honduras on the eve of voting likely to re-elect an authoritarian-leaning president. What happens when violent crime goes down, but corruption remains as rampant as ever?