Adam Isacson

Still trying to understand Latin America, my own country, and why so few consequences are intended. These views are not necessarily my employer’s.

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Corruption

Corruption in Latin America: links from the past month

Argentina

The investigation was begun after the newspaper La Nación obtained notebooks belonging to a driver who took meticulous notes about bags of cash he purportedly ferried around the city

Colombia

Funcionarios públicos como notarios, registradores y jueces se alían con los criminales para amenazar a los campesinos y obligarlos a vender a precios muy por debajo del valor real de los predios

Army Master Sgt. Daniel Gould, assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group, was arrested after Drug Enforcement Administration agents found 40 kilograms of cocaine in two backpacks on a military airplane in Colombia

En una decisión sin precedentes, Fernando Carrillo decidió abrir procesos contra tres altos oficiales, en medio del escándalo de desvío de fondos reservados y el presunto espionaje ilegal al interior del Comando de las Fuerzas Militares

El Salvador

Su confesión es una ventana a estructuras de corrupción que van más allá de su presidencia y sus lujos, y debe dar lugar a investigaciones que lleguen mucho más lejos

Saca, who was arrested in 2016, had made a deal with the Attorney General’s Office: If he confessed, he would face a lighter sentence

Guatemala

The circle is nearly closed. Jimmy Morales, who won power precisely because of his predecessor’s corruption, is now facing down accusations that he committed some of the same transgressions. It was a biblical lesson he apparently missed

The move has quelled doubts about Porras’ independence and further isolated Guatemala’s embattled president

The Pérez Molina and Baldetti government clearly understood that in order to be in politics and make money in Guatemala, corrupt politicians and businessmen use what they call “quotas of power,” or favors, which open doors to contracts and government benefits

Powerful Guatemalan politicians and businessmen accused in the investigations have been repeatedly trying to undermine the CICIG and stop the investigations against them and their allies, including through recent overtures to Washington

On July 4, the Interior Ministry withdrew 20 officers assigned as security to the facilities and personnel of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala

Honduras

Nájera’s response to the move by the US Congress fits into a broader pattern of elites accused of corruption trying to muddy the waters by impugning the reputations of others

Mexico

Half of the 10 retired or active officers who agreed to speak to Al Jazeera, admitted that in their force some sort of quota system existed

Peru

Desde el 7 de julio, unos audios dejaron al descubierto que en vez de administrar justicia, unos jueces y fiscales se habían dedicado a delinquir

Links from the past month about organized crime-related corruption in Latin America

Detail of a graphic from Periódico Central demonstrating how politically connected criminals routinely steal gasoline from the pipelines of Mexico’s state oil company in Puebla.

(I say “organized crime-related” to distinguish this kind of corruption from its slimy, tawdry, but usually less-deadly cousin, “graft.”)

Colombia

In his latest column, the security analyst goes over some of the historical ties between opposition leader and former president Álvaro Uribe’s supporters and organized crime, and notes that even today Uribe’s party has introduced legislation that would help criminals keep land that they have massively stolen.

Honduras

Devis Leonel Rivera Maradiaga, an extradited leader of Honduras’s Cachiros drug-trafficking organization, has been implicating many Honduran politicians while testifying to a New York court. These include the brother of President Juan Orlando Hernández and the son of the previous president, Porfirio Lobo.

Mexico

U.S. agents acting on a federal indictment arrested Edgar Veytia, alias “Diablo,” the chief prosecutor of Nayarit state and member of the governing PRI party, for trafficking heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana. Nayarit is featured as the home state of the “Xalisco boys” heroin-trafficking ring in Sam Quiñones’s excellent 2015 book Dreamland.

Officials from the recently elected government of the U.S. border state of Chihuahua recognized that, during the previous governor’s term, many municipalities’ police forces and local officials passed into the complete control of organized crime and narcotrafficking. This is especially so in the state’s northeast (a dangerous zone near the Texas border east of Ciudad Juárez) and in the Sierra Tarahumara mountains. The ex-governor, Javier Corral, fled to Texas last week in a questionable attempt to evade corruption allegations.

This investigation looks at collusion between government officials and organized crime in the state of Puebla, east of Mexico City, where the practice of stealing gasoline from the national oil company’s pipelines is widespread.

Venezuela

A series of monographs detailing links between the state and organized crime in Venezuela. Found via a March 22 English overview by InsightCrime, which summarizes a January monograph by Mildred Camero, a former Venezuelan judge and “drug czar.” Camero argues that 2005 and 2010 reforms giving the armed forces a greater role in investigating and combating drug trafficking ended up corrupting them to the extent that they now control most large-scale smuggling.

Ugly calls for military rule in Brazil

Brazil saw a new round of protests yesterday in favor of aggressive anti-corruption measures. But as the New York Times’ Dom Phillips notes, they were not only smaller than in the past, they were harder to the right in their politics.

[M]any marchers in Rio de Janeiro said they would vote in the 2018 election for Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right lawmaker from the city who has praised dictatorship-era torturers and attacked gay rights.

In a December 2016 poll by the Datafolha polling institute, 9 percent said they would vote for Mr. Bolsonaro in some scenarios.

Most disturbing are these photos from the Brazilian magazine Veja of protestors holding placards calling for the country’s military, which ruled brutally between 1964 and 1985, to re-intervene in politics.

Protest sign reads "SOS Forcas Armadas!!! Salve o Brasil desses Bandidos!!!"

Protest sign reads "Eu Quero Intervencao Militar Ja"

 I don’t know what this guy’s message is. Great outfit, though.

Guy in a Brazilian Captain America outfit

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