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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Latin America

“Measuring the drug trafficking problem by cultivated hectares is a mistake”

On Sunday evening I posted this tweet in response to a statement from Colombia’s Defense Minister that, while red meat for his political base, is just incredibly off-base as a strategy.

Juan Sebastián Lombo, a reporter from the Colombian daily El Espectador, reached out to me about this. We had a good conversation, and the newspaper did a good job of translating my gringo Spanish in a piece posted last night. Here’s a quick English translation.

“Measuring the drug trafficking problem by cultivated hectares is a mistake”: Adam Isacson

By Juan Sebastián Lombo, El Espectador, November 26, 2020

For Adam Isacson, head of the Defense Oversight Program at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), we must also talk about the absence of the state, poverty, inequality, corruption, and impunity.

Last Monday, Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo again referred to drug trafficking as “Colombians’ main enemy” and asked to restart glyphosate spraying to avoid clashes with growers protesting forced eradication. Amid many different responses, from the United States came a questioning of Trujillo’s position, pointing out that the Colombian government should see the real causes of drug trafficking.

The criticism came from Adam Isacson, director of the Defense Oversight Program at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA). For most of Isacson’s career, he has focused on Colombia as a subject of study and has even accompanied several peace processes with different organizations, including that of Havana with the FARC. In an interview with El Espectador, Isacson discusses his criticisms of the Defense Minister’s position, gives WOLA’s perspective on human rights in the country, and even discusses their monitoring of the case of former President Álvaro Uribe.

Why do you say that the main problem in Colombia is not drug trafficking?

They are confusing a symptom with the causes. Drug trafficking is a serious problem in Colombia and has been since the 1970s, but it is much more important to think about why this illegal business thrives so much in your country. It is as if someone had cancer, but only focused on the resulting headaches. Why doesn’t the Minister of Defense talk about the vast territories where the state doesn’t reach? That is where coca is easily planted and laboratories are located. Why doesn’t he talk about poverty and inequality? Why doesn’t he talk about corruption and impunity? All this is the oxygen that drug trafficking breathes. To speak only of drug trafficking as the cause of all problems is 1980s rhetoric that’s very discredited. No one makes policy nowadays seriously thinking that ending drug trafficking is going to end the rest of the country’s problems.

Is Colombia wrong to continue with the same strategy then?

If prohibition were dropped and drugs were regulated, Colombia would probably do much better. The country has a certain problem of addiction to drugs like cocaine, but not as much as larger consumer countries. What Colombia suffers is that because it’s an illegal business, the cost of cocaine is high and that feeds organized crime, which corrupts everything. If it were a low cost, regulated product like alcohol, it would not cause so many problems. What we don’t know is if in the rest of the world the damage would be greater if it were legalized. How many more people would become addicted? How many would neglect their children? How many would die from an overdose? All these harms aren’t known. In the United States we are experimenting with legal marijuana, which is a drug with fewer health hazards. There is a fear of experimenting with more addictive drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamines, heroin, among others. That’s why we have to say that one doesn’t know how it would go for the world as a while, but for Colombia specifically there would be a net benefit if cocaine were legalized.

You also talk about the coca growers and the government’s fixation on one of the weakest links.

Measuring the problem in hectares of coca cultivation is a mistake. A more useful figure would be the number of families forced to live off of that crop, that’s the figure that needs to be lowered. The United Nations, in 2017, revealed that there were at least 120,000 families, or half a million Colombians, living off coca, whether they were farmers, raspachines, processors, or others. That figure must be lowered by offering alternatives. The State must also reach the territories to offer services and legal economy alternatives. Eradicating does not reduce much the number of families that depend on coca, because replanting, and migration to plant elsewhere, are enormous. So the hectare number stays high. You have to really think about opportunities for those families. The security and governance situation where these families live is also an important issue.

WOLA has been following the peace process.

As has been documented by foundations, legislators like Juanita Goebertus, and the United Nations, there is a lot of work to be done on implementation. What is most behind schedule is everything having to do with the first chapter: rural reform and the state’s presence in the territory. Of course, Dr. Emilio Archila is doing what he can, with the resources he is given to implement the PDETs, but four years later, too much still just exists on paper, in plans, and in PowerPoint presentations. It has not been possible to implement the accord in many places, much less establish the physical presence of the state. This is a long-term issue, but so far they are far behind where they should be after four years of setting up implementation investment and personnel. The presence of the government in places like Bajo Cauca, Catatumbo, Tumaco, and La Macarena, among others, is not seen. In some places it is limited to the presence of troops, and often not even that. That’s what’s most lacking. In each chapter of the accord there are successes and failures. An important effort has been made in the demobilization and reintegration process, but more needs to be done, although it should be noted that well below 10 percent of ex-combatants have gone to the dissidents. The JEP and the Truth Commission are working, but they need more support and budget.

And with regard to crop substitution…

It’s a mixed picture. It’s something that the Duque government didn’t like. They stopped allowing the entry of new families [into the substitution program]. The current administration complains that the Santos government was making promises that could not be financed, and that is true. But the pace of delivery to families who committed to replacement has been too slow.

Since you were talking about the JEP before, how have you seen its work and the attacks from the governing party?

The JEP has always had the challenge that it is the product of a compromise, which does not satisfy anyone 100 percent. Everyone had to “swallow a toad.” The criticisms of the JEP are also because it was a reason the plebiscite was rejected, it was born weakened. In spite of that I believe that its magistrates have shown great professionalism and have built a fairly robust institution from scratch in only three years. They have not made any major political mistakes. Patricia Linares and Eduardo Cifuentes are upright, serious and professional people. With the last confessions of the Farc (Germán Vargas Lleras, Álvaro Gómez, and Jesús Bejarano) it has been shown that there is hope of revealing unknown truths, and this must continue. The most important challenge is that although most magistrates are great academics, they do not have political heavyweights to defend them. Another important element is that next year the first sentences will be handed down and it has not yet been defined how the ex-guerrillas and military personnel who have been prosecuted will be punished. This will be very important for the credibility of the JEP.

How does the organization view the human rights situation in Colombia?

We are seeing more massacres, more murders of human rights defenders and social leaders compared to the prior 10 years. We knew that the first years after the peace accord were going to be more violent than the last years of negotiation, but one would hope that, after that, institutions would adapt and justice would begin to function so that levels of violence would begin to diminish. But we aren’t seeing this, there is no significant increase in the number of convictions of the masterminds behind massacres and murders of leaders. When this impunity persists, the consequence is that the murderers feel free to continue killing.

The numbers continue to snowball. It is worrying that we see the rights situation worsening. There are elements within Ivan Duque’s government who are concerned, but there is no major action in the Ministries of Defense and Interior, the latter with the National Protection Unit. It remains to be seen whether the new Ombudsman will continue with the same energy as his predecessor, I hope so. We have to say out loud what the United Nations and other governments have said diplomatically: Colombia is not improving in human rights and there isn’t enough political will on the part of the government to do so.

Returning to the issue at hand, President Duque has said that drug trafficking is the main cause for the assassination of social leaders. Is there a possible truth here, or is this another simplification of the problem?

Drug trafficking is a source of funding, probably the main source of funding, for organized crime. That, often in collaboration with individuals in “legal” Colombia, is the main cause of the assassination of social leaders in Colombia. So it can be said that drug trafficking finances much of what Colombia is experiencing, but organized crime also lives from extortion, kidnapping, human trafficking, illegal mining and so many other things that require control of a territory, which the state is not disputing.

I would also add that the organized crime groups behind all these human rights violations are a much more difficult enemy to combat than the FARC. The FARC at least tried to fight the state, but these groups prefer not to do that: they seek to have relations with the State, with local landowners, with local political bosses. They prefer to bribe and coerce the authorities instead of fighting them. This makes them harder for a state to combat, because its own institutions are infiltrated in a way that the Farc never managed to do. That’s why it must be said that to get rid of a few kilos of cocaine, while these organizations live off other businesses and infiltrate institutions, is very simplistic. I don’t know who would be fooled by such facile arguments.

Regarding Joe Biden’s victory in the United States, can this change the Colombian government’s position or actions?

I don’t know, because the Biden government places a high value on the bilateral relationship. It’s going to continue aid as usual and many of the counter-narcotics programs will continue as before. Trade is not going to be touched, it will probably expand. Colombia and the United States, as a country-to-country relationship, will be fine. But the Democratic Party and the Centro Democrático aren’t fine. Colombia saw Biden’s advisors and Democratic Party members calling on members of its ruling party to stop campaigning in Florida and to stay away from the U.S. presidential campaign.

Trump won Florida and two south Florida Democrats lost their seats, so there’s no love lost with the Centro Democrático. While the bilateral relationship will remain close, Biden and the Democrats will find ways to be a nuisance to the Centro Democrático. They are sure to talk more about issues that the Duque government would rather not touch, like implementing the peace accord, protecting social leaders, cleaning up the Army after so many scandals. They might even speak out about the Uribistas’ attempts to weaken the judicial system in the case of their leader.

Speaking of the Uribe case, WOLA announced it would do special monitoring of this judicial process. Why does a judicial action against a former president for alleged manipulation of witnesses have such importance and international relevance?

For Colombia it’s an important case because it is a great test for the independence of the judiciary and the principle that no one is above the law. This process would also answer many questions about the past of Álvaro Uribe and his associations. It is an opportunity to learn the truth about the rumors of his possible relationship, and those of his closest associates, with paramilitarism. All of these things must come out through a legal process. It is a great test for Colombian democracy. We are experiencing something similar here with our outgoing president. We are going to see if the legal and ethical violations he has committed can be prosecuted by our justice system.

In four months of monitoring, what have you observed?

Nothing new has emerged for us. When we say that we are doing monitoring, it does not mean that we have investigators on the ground. Although there is something of concern: that Uribe’s family has hired a lobbyist here. We have seen that a former Florida congressman has published some things attacking Ivan Cepeda. They have sought to educate other Republicans in favor of Uribe. What is worrying about this is that they are looking to create solidarity between politicians with a populist and authoritarian tendency. A “Populist International” is being formed, and we see this in this effort to name a street after Alvaro Uribe or to issue tweets celebrating his release from house arrest. It is a sign that they don’t care about justice but about authoritarianism. The Bolsonaristas in Brazil are part of this too.

Some articles I found interesting this morning

Favia Lucero/YoCiudadano photo at Animal Político (Mexico).

(Even more here)

November 27, 2020

Bolivia

El comandante en jefe de las Fuerzas Armadas leyó un comunicado en el que se refieren a la detención del jefe del Comando Estratégico de Operaciones de Cochabamba. Está imputado por asesinato

Mientras, en todas las plazas Abaroa del país, militares en servicio pasivo se concentrarán hoy para protestar

Brazil

His election broke the mould of Brazilian politics and was in some ways an aberration. Even so, it would be a mistake to write off his chances of a second term

In two months of campaigning leading up to the first round of voting on Nov. 15, there were 200 murders, attempted murders or otherwise injured candidates

Colombia

Ha pasado más de un mes desde que la periodista y columnista Adriana Villegas denunció los cantos violentos con los que entrenan los militares del Batallón Ayacucho de Manizales y las mujeres de la ciudad siguen esperando sus disculpas públicas

De los 280 casos reportados, 135 han sido esclarecidos con avances significativos así: 34 casos superaron la fase de imputación y están en investigación; en 45 hay órdenes de captura y avanzan en indagación; 20 están en juicio, en 33 hay sentencias condenatorias y tres precluyeron

Esa cifra ya supera los asesinatos registrados durante todo el año 2019, en el que Somos Defensores confirmó 124 casos

“Eliminar los cultivos ilícitos es acabar con la financiación de quienes masacran y asesinan líderes sociales”, añadió en medio de la rueda de prensa

Para Adam Isacson, encargado de la Veeduría de Defensa de la Oficina de Washington para Asuntos Latinoamericanos (WOLA), se debe hablar también de ausencia del Estado, pobreza, desigualdad, corrupción e impunidad

Colombia, Venezuela

As the virus spread, thousands of Venezuelan migrants left Colombia and began trekking home on foot

Cuba

Los integrantes del colectivo exigen la liberación del rapero Denis Solís. El escritor Carlos Manuel Álvarez, colaborador de EL PAÍS, fue arrestado y liberado antes de medianoche

Honduras

Dos tormentas consecutivas en noviembre de 2020, desnudaron las debilidades de infraestructura, prevención y capacidad operativa y financiera de Honduras para hacer frente a los desastres naturales

La agresión policial a un autobús privado con más de treinta empleadas de una fábrica textil obligó al Estado a admitir que los agentes aplicaron un procedimiento inadecuado

Mexico

La familia del agente de la Guardia Nacional lleva más de siete meses sin respuesta de la corporación y de la Fiscalía de Chihuahua que investiga la desaparición

  • Alejandro Hope, Siguen Espiando (El Universal (Mexico), November 27, 2020).

En contradicción con lo afirmado por el presidente, el gobierno federal utiliza al aparato de inteligencia para dar seguimiento a la oposición política

The suspect was identified by a senior Mexican official as Roberto González, who is known as “The 32” and is considered one of the chieftains of Mexican gang La Línea

They kicked the government workers out of the federal Human Rights Commission building in Mexico City. They covered the walls with the names of rape victims and hung posters with the faces of the dead. Then they invited women and children to shelter

Venezuela

La organización advierte que Venezuela ha sido poco diligente en esta materia y que la Comisión Nacional de Derecho Internacional Humanitario, creada hace 5 años, debe comenzar a funcionar

A rigged vote will end the opposition’s control of the last democratically elected institution

The so-called Citgo 6 are employees of Houston-based Citgo refining company, which is owned by Venezuela’s state oil company, PDVSA. They had been lured to Venezuela three years ago for a business meeting and were arrested on corruption charges

Some articles I found interesting this morning

Ernesto Benavides/AFP/Getty Images photo at The Guardian (UK). Caption: “A man wearing a Peruvian flag stands in front of a mural in honour of Inti Sotelo and Bryan Pintado, two victims killed in recent protests.”

(Even more here)

November 26, 2020

Western Hemisphere Regional

El confinamiento obligado por la pandemia dejó más vulnerables aún a las mujeres de América Latina frente a compañeros, proxenetas y funcionarios violentos

Bolivia

El Comandante en Jefe aclaró que los uniformados ejecutaron operaciones de apoyo a las fuerzas policiales que fueron rebasadas, evitando así la confrontación y el derramamiento de sangre

When Luis Arce received the presidential sash on November 8, he inherited a justice system in tatters and pliant to those in power

Brazil

Como era de se prever, a imagem dos militares, duramente construída ao longo dos últimos 35 anos, tem sido afetada – negativamente – por esse processo

Colombia

Se desarrolla en la Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz la audiencia nacional en la que al menos nueve integrantes del alto Gobierno deberán dar cuentas de las acciones preventivas que han adelantado para evitar el homicidio de exintegrantes de las Farc

Hundreds of environmental defenders in Colombia live in fear in what is the most dangerous country in the world for their work

La mayoría de senadores no respaldaron una iniciativa que quería establecer un día al año para rendirle un homenaje a las madres de Soacha, víctimas de los falsos positivos

Contradice que los asesinatos de firmantes del Acuerdo se deban sólo al narcotráfico, rencillas personales o las disidencias

Costa Rica, Nicaragua

A study reveals 51 unmarked crossings used by Nicaraguan migrants. It also highlights the dangers they encounter in their crossing

Cuba

Biden is gambling that a focus on the restoration of flights and remittance privileges removed under Trump — which Miami Cubans have griped about over steaming cups of cafecito — will allow his administration to re-engage Havana

Guatemala

Algunos asistentes a ellas me destacaron ese detalle: percibían y sentían mayor rabia, una desbordada; no desconfianza, sino animadversión hacia los representantes del Estado

Honduras

Sea level rise is wiping out a pair of coastal Honduran communities, driving people to flee. Environmentally destructive policies only fuel further displacement

Mexico

As the U.S. government continues to work with Mexico in law enforcement matters, it should emphasize the fundamental importance of continuing to strengthen the FGR and the National Anti-Corruption System

Nicaragua

Miles de mujeres denuncian a sus agresores en busca de ayuda, y la respuesta que reciben es que “deben mediar”; decenas de ellas han sido asesinadas

Peru

Under the rallying cry “They messed with the wrong generation”, the non-partisan group is warning Peru’s elected representatives that they will not tolerate a return to the business-as-usual world

Majority of Peruvian lawmakers are under investigation for bribery and other crimes, stirring anger and destabilizing the country’s leadership

U.S.-Mexico Border

Low wages contribute to women’s vulnerability but other significant factors besides economic inequality, like the drug trade and misogyny, ultimately enable and allow for violence against women

Most experts agree President-elect Joe Biden will fulfill his campaign promise to stop building Donald Trump’s border wall. But only time will tell how the incoming administration will repair the damage — environmental, cultural and political

The McAllen Central Processing Center will reopen in 2022 after a major renovation, Customs and Border Protection officials said

This report provides an update on metering along the U.S.-Mexico border amid CBP’s asylum processing suspension. It documents approximately 15,690 asylum seekers on waitlists in 9 Mexican border cities

Immigration agencies won’t suddenly clean up their act when the president leaves office. What’s Biden going to do about their systemic abuses?

Some articles I found interesting this morning

Cristian Garavito photo at El Espectador (Colombia). Caption: “Según los reclamos de los líderes, las regiones PDET han quedado relegadas por las ‘Zonas Futuro’ del gobierno del presidente Iván Duque, que privilegian la intervención militar.”

(Even more here)

November 25, 2020

Western Hemisphere Regional

As many as a dozen women will have their deportations delayed until President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January

Bolivia

El GIEI-Bolivia está conformado por cinco expertos. Los especialistas garantizaron ‘independencia’ y un trabajo ‘imparcial’ en la investigación de los hechos del año pasado. El Gobierno comprometió apoyo

El militar de rango cumplía funciones de jefe de la guarnición militar del departamento de Cochabamba (centro), donde se encuentra la ciudad de Sacaba, escenario de violentos enfrentamientos entre militares y campesinos cocaleros

Brazil

The killing of an Afro-Brazilian man, and the widespread outrage it has sparked, underscores the urgent need for the Government to tackle racism and racial discrimination in South America’s largest country

The pace of these killings has more than doubled in 2020, with the power of militia groups blamed for much of the violence

Colombia

Tres antiguos comandantes están en el listado en el que Cauca y Nariño han registrado más homicidios. Revelamos sus identidades

La Sociedad de Activos Especiales podrá transferir predios que hayan sido objeto de extinción de dominio a excombatientes de las Farc que tengan un proyecto productivo aprobado, bien sea individual o colectivo

La pregunta que comienza a plantearse es si ya se cerró la ventana de oportunidad que abrió el Acuerdo y estamos en el reinicio de un nuevo ciclo de violencia político-militar o si solo estamos atravesando un bache difícil

While some gains have been made, Colombians in many parts of the country continue to live with insecurity

En lo corrido de 2020 (al 23 de noviembre) se presenta un leve aumento en la violencia asociada al conflicto armado interno, frente a la violencia registrada en el mismo periodo del año anterior

A cuatro años de la firma del Acuerdo Final de La Habana, las organizaciones sociales que monitorean los Programas de Desarrollo con Enfoque Territorial entregaron el balance

La política para enfrentar la deforestación debe atacar las puertas giratorias entre las economías legales y las ilegales, sin descuidar el tejido social local

We bring to your attention the following human rights abuses and urge you to take action

Luego que un Tribunal de Justicia y Paz pidiera a la Fiscalía investigar al hermano del expresidente Álvaro Uribe por presunta financiación de un frente paramilitar, la entidad no encontró méritos para iniciar un caso formal

Por primera vez un congresista del Partido Farc preside una sesión plenaria en el Congreso

65% aumentaron las acciones de los grupos armados en el cuarto an?o del post-acuerdo de paz (comparado con el 250 primer an?o pre-acuerdo)

Colombia, Ecuador

Two U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress aircraft participated in “Brother’s Shield,” a Colombian Air Force led exercise, and in “UNITAS LXI,” an Ecuadorian Navy led exercise, in the U.S. Southern Command’s area of responsibility Nov. 8

Cuba

Ambos diarios ofrecen una amplia cobertura sobre la isla para la comunidad cubanoamericana y reciben regularmente millones de visitas desde Cuba

Guatemala

The Trump administration expelled 33 children who came to the US without a parent back to Guatemala after a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking the controversial practice that same day

Guatemala, Honduras

Inside shelters and improvised camps across Central America, families who lost everything in the severe flooding set off by the two major hurricanes are arriving at the same conclusion

Guatemala, Honduras, U.S.-Mexico Border

“En enero agarramos viaje”. La frase se escucha en colonias del norte de Honduras, la zona más golpeada por los huracanes Eta y Iota en las últimas semanas

Honduras

USS Comstock (LSD-45) passed through the canal and the ship is planning to take up station off the coast of Honduras

Mexico

The cross-cutting activities of “state” actors meant there were both crimes of commission and crimes of omission, but it was with the latter where the cry it was the state resonates most profoundly

The hunt for El Chapo, widespread corruption and Israeli cyber firm NSO’s dealings in Mexico reveal dark truth about infamous phone-hacking software Pegasus: ‘The greater the violence, the greater the business opportunities’

A partir de marzo de 2018 la ofensiva paramilitar provocó el desplazamiento forzado de más de 2 mil personas de 13 comunidades. A los de Aldama les han arrebatado casas, enseres personales, tierras, milpas, huertos, animales y el derecho a vivir en paz

The ‘H-2 Cartel’ was not some minor group that somehow managed to bribe the country’s top security official. Rather, it was an organization that not only controlled drug trafficking in Nayarit between 2011 and 2017, but also established close ties with much of the state’s political elite

Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela

29 Venezuelan refugees, 16 minors among them, were missing for a day after the Trinidadian government put them in wooden boats back to Venezuela. They are safe now but the story hasn’t ended

U.S.-Mexico Border

Three years ago, Leticia and her son became victims of one of the largest-scale, ethnically motivated human rights abuses perpetrated by the U.S. government since Japanese internment. Today, they want to be advocates

“In the last two months alone, CBP has detained 14 children under the age of five for longer than five days, including a one-month-old baby who was detained for over 16 days in September 2020,” the lawmakers wrote

Mexican government aid workers in touch with Rodriguez say the number of expulsions in Sasabe has skyrocketed

Many of these, it sounds like, involve U.S. citizens

Venezuela

WOLA and Acción Solidaria map out the existing humanitarian infrastructure in Venezuela today, and highlight the need to address the crisis on the ground

Having failed to push Maduro from power, the opposition hardliners have helped perpetuate a punishing paralysis

“Any president in the world today would want to get closer to a solution to the crisis in Venezuela,” Guaido said in an interview

Some articles I found interesting this morning

Mark Lambie photo at The El Paso Times. Caption: “Workers line the top of the border fence between El Paso and Juarez with two layers of concertina wire Thursday, November, 19, 2020 near the Bridge of the Americas.”

(Even more here)

November 24, 2020

Western Hemisphere Regional

This summer, ICE gave the parents the choice between keeping their children with them in detention or releasing their children from detention without them

President-elect Joe Biden’s choice of Alejandro Mayorkas to lead the Department of Homeland Security thrilled immigrant advocates

Mr. Mayorkas was seen as the candidate who could best stabilize the department, which has spent much of the last four years in turmoil

Bolivia

El viceministro Gonzalo Rodríguez expuso que se detectaron irregularidades por parte del anterior personal y que los nuevos responsables son “militares honestos”

Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador

El lector encontrará aquí un total de 14 piezas escritas por otras tantas autoras y autores que, con distintos tonos y registros, cubrieron los cuatro países que portagonizaron más intensamente las movilizaciones: Ecuador, Chile, Colombia y Bolivia

Brazil

Demonstrators enraged by Freitas’ death painted “Black lives matter” on the pavement of Paulista Avenue, one of the most famous in São Paulo, following a series of protests across the country

Central America Regional

“Corruption kills,” a former United States ambassador in Guatemala once told me, and nowhere is that more evident than when natural disasters strike

Central America Regional, Guatemala

Any migrants displaced by these storms that seek to reach the United States continue to face an aggressively protected border blocking them from their destination

Central America Regional, Mexico

This report puts forward another approach, one that reflect the many faces of migration through the region and that is rooted in closer cooperation with Mexico and Central American countries

Colombia

Un grupo de excomandantes liderados por Iván Márquez se rearmó, se hundieron las curules para las víctimas y ya son 242 los exguerrilleros asesinados en el país

Los acusados rompen el silencio y aseguran ser víctimas de entrampamientos, con el fin de ponerle palos en la rueda a los acuerdos

Sergio Jaramillo, ex Alto Comisionado de Paz, hace un balance de la firma del acuerdo, tras 4 años

It has so far destroyed 111,131 hectares in 2020

A partir de este lunes y hasta el próximo jueves, varios expertos de la región analizarán los desafíos de seguridad, democracia y globalización para los países latinoamericanos en medio de la pandemia

A new report by international forensic experts commissioned by Human Rights Watch points to the intentional killing of detainees during a prison riot in March 2020

Ha surgido un movimiento de jóvenes alrededor de las dos tragedias que comienza a arrojar una luz de esperanza en ambos municipios de que algo podría cambiar para bien

El pasado fin de semana, el grupo de origen paramilitar decretó el cierre del comercio y el tráfico de vehículo, luego de que su jefe máximo muriera en medio de un operativo de la fuerza pública

Colombia, Venezuela

Forecasts indicate that migration flows will not decrease in the medium term despite the COVID-19 pandemic

Cuba

El cierre desde este lunes de todas las sucursales de Western Union en Cuba por las últimas sanciones de Estados Unidos cercena la principal vía legal de envío de remesas a la isla y amenaza con dificultar la subsistencia de sus ciudadanos

El Salvador

Though the Bukele government has previously found itself embroiled in corruption scandals, this is the first time that the Attorney General’s Office has levied a major investigation into alleged malpractice

Guatemala

Corruption is at the center of it all. But the protest movement still lacks adequate political organization and a consolidated program to fundamentally reconfigure the antidemocratic postwar political system

La represión es la nueva carta con que se presenta este gobierno

Some of Trump’s actions can be undone relatively easily, legal scholars and former judges and justice officials say. Others require laborious rule-making or slow-moving litigation

Honduras

Muchos de los refugios habilitados para familias damnificadas en la capital no cuentan con presencia de las autoridades, sino que han sido delegados a activistas del partido de gobierno, las familias piden comida y ayuda

Mexico

El titular de la Secretaría de Marina (Semar), Rafael Ojeda Durán, refrendó su lealtad “incondicional” no solo al presidente Andrés Manuel López Obrador, sino también al Ejército “como nuestro compañero de armas”

El estado de Jalisco ocupa el primer lugar nacional en el número de cuerpos exhumados de fosas clandestinas

The citizens of both countries have something to worry about when it comes to civil/military relations

Rafael Heredia Rubio, abogado del General Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, dijo que había un “sentimiento desagradable” entre los militares mexicanos por la detención del extitular

No fue El Pentágono el que arrestó a Cienfuegos, sino la Agencia Federal Antinarcóticos, dijo Craig Deare, exoficial de inteligencia de El Pentágono

Nicaragua

Family-run media spread state propaganda while Ortega uses state spending and tax laws to squeeze rival outlets

Peru

El periodista refirió que también se pretendía imponer un toque de queda de 24 horas y arrestar a quienes dirigían las manifestaciones contra el régimen de facto de Merino de Lama

Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela

An at­tor­ney is call­ing for a full-scale in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­to the cir­cum­stances in which 16 Venezue­lan chil­dren and nine women were de­port­ed mere hours be­fore their habeas cor­pus hear­ing

U.S.-Mexico Border

The wire is going up along a stretch of now 30-foot barrier between El Paso’s Downtown Paso del Norte bridge and the Bridge of the Americas

GAO’s analysis of USACE data shows that, as of July 2020, the federal government acquired 135 private tracts, or sections, of land and is working to acquire 991 additional tracts

Some articles I found interesting this morning

Reuters/Luis Echeverria photo at Al Jazeera. Caption: “An office of the Congress building is seen after demonstrators set it on fire during a protest demanding the resignation of President Alejandro Giammattei, in Guatemala City, Guatemala November 21, 2020.”

(Even more here)

November 23, 2020

Western Hemisphere Regional

A new response to the pandemic and the ensuing economic contraction, together with a deeper push to repair and expand the tattered American social safety net, may provoke a corresponding change in Latin America

Bolivia

Noticias de Bolivia y sus Departamentos, todo el acontecer local

Los observados fueron los dos argentinos. La delegación se completa con un inglés, un brasileño y una colombiana. Su trabajo comenzará el lunes

Bolivia, Western Hemisphere Regional

Taken together, these studies offer a gripping portrait of an increasingly important site of political struggle: the battle within the left over resource extraction

Brazil

Local press reported that the man, 40-year-old welder João Alberto Silveira Freitas, died of asphyxiation, drawing comparisons to George Floyd’s killing in the U.S. earlier this year

Brazil’s president is enjoying a surge in popularity thanks to emergency cash transfers and reduced political tensions. But his fortunes may turn, and the threat he poses to Brazilian democracy rise again

The right-wing wave that swept Brazil in the 2018 elections has brought with it remarkably few proposals to tackle what is arguably the country’s most urgent crisis

Colombia

En esta conmemoración de los 4 años de la firma del AFP en el Teatro Colón, los llamados a garantizar su implementación son urgentes

La bala mató al chico de 18 años, desarmado e indefenso. Hablan la madre de la víctima y el abogado que preside el colectivo jurídico que representa a la familia

De las 7.491 denuncias por abusos policiales que han llegado a la Seccional de la Fiscalía en Bogotá en ese lapso, ni una sola ha llegado a etapa de imputación

El Espectador revela los documentos y los testimonios que probarían que esos jóvenes fueron asesinados por la Fuerza Pública. Entre ellos hay un menor de edad

Todos los sectores sociales, políticos y económicos de la región coincidieron en que lo que se necesita para parar y prevenir la repetición del conflicto es una inversión integral y una articulación profunda

En Betania, suroeste del departamento de Antioquia, fueron masacrados ocho recolectores de café; mientras en Cauca, una de las regiones más azotadas por la violencia política, asesinaron a cinco

Las disidencias de las FARC son un riesgo grande para la seguridad a nivel regional, pero no lo son para el Estado central. Tampoco hay una guerra entre Gentil Duarte e Iván Márquez

En el Bajo Cauca Antioqueño luego de conocerse que Caín había sido dado de baja, también empezó a circular un panfleto en el que ‘Los Caparros’ imponían un paro armado desde hoy, 20 de noviembre

Herederos del paramilitarismo, han consolidado su dominio sobre el narcotráfico y la minería ilegal, así como un control de las carreteras

Esta columna responde al deseo que expresamos hace unas semanas en nuestra cuenta de Twitter de dar nuestra opinión desde un medio de comunicación masivo. Este espacio atendió a ese llamado

Colombia, Venezuela

Since the start of the pandemic, humanitarian organizations say there has been a marked increase in gender-based violence along the border regions

Costa Rica, Nicaragua

Una investigación realizada por la Fundación Arias, de Costa Rica, reveló que tanto policías costarricenses y militares de Nicaragua están siendo involucrados con la trata de personas en la frontera sur

Cuba

More than a hundred pro-government civilians on Sunday mobbed a handful of protesters who showed up at Havana’s Central Park to support a group of dissidents on a hunger strike, while security forces watched on

Guatemala

A contentious budget bill pushed thousands into the streets to demand an end to corruption, among other grievances

The incident on Saturday came as about 10,000 people were protesting in front of the National Palace in Guatemala City against corruption and the budget

Honduras

Honduras sufrió en menos de quince días la furia de dos ciclones que dejaron a su paso muerte y millonarias pérdidas. Uno de los sectores más afectados fue el sector agroalimentario

Mexico

Elementos de la Guardia Nacional (GN) fueron desplegados en la reserva de la biósfera de la mariposa monarca para prevenir y combatir la tala clandestina, la cacería ilegal o la instalación de asentamientos irregulares

Las primeras versiones y testimonios de estudiantes y personas que los auxiliaron en medio de los ataques de esa larga noche de Iguala, dan cuenta de su presencia

The president reneged on his campaign vow to end the military’s involvement in Mexico’s war against drug traffickers while vastly expanding the role of the armed forces in other civilian matters

De acuerdo con especialistas en temas de narcotráfico, la agencia estadounidense ha roto todas las reglas en México y actúa de manera unilateral, generando tensiones a nivel de gobiernos

“México se comprometió a colaborar con Estados Unidos en la captura de un objetivo primordial”, dijo la fuente, quien solicitó el anonimato

Latin America-related online events this week

Monday, November 23

  • 9:00-10:30 at Zoom: Segundo Congreso de la Red Latinoamericana de Seguridad Incluyente y Sostenible “Desafíos de la Seguridad en Tiempos de Crisis Múltiples” (RSVP required).
  • 12:00-1:30 at Facebook Live: Conversatorio: La verdad es un acto de justicia.
  • 1:00-2:00 at wilsoncenter.org: DOJ’s Role in Fighting Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering in Latin America (RSVP required).
  • 1:30-3:00 at Zoom: Segundo Congreso de la Red Latinoamericana de Seguridad Incluyente y Sostenible “Desafíos de la Seguridad en Tiempos de Crisis Múltiples” (RSVP required).
  • 5:00 at atlanticcouncil.org: Latin America and the Caribbean’s COVID-19 recovery: A conversation with IDB President Mauricio Claver-Carone (RSVP required).
  • 6:30-7:30 at gwu.edu: The Future of US-Latin American Relations Under the Biden Administration (RSVP required).

Tuesday, November 24

  • 9:00-10:30 at Zoom: Segundo Congreso de la Red Latinoamericana de Seguridad Incluyente y Sostenible “Desafíos de la Seguridad en Tiempos de Crisis Múltiples” (RSVP required).
  • 9:00-10:30 at wilsoncenter.org: Brazil, No Longer the Country of Impunity? The Lessons of Operation Car Wash (RSVP required).
  • 11:00 at Zoom: Deadly Trade: How European and Israeli weapons exports are accelerating violence in Mexico (RSVP required).
  • 1:00-2:15 at brookings.edu: The Biden presidency and the future of America’s ‘forever wars’ (RSVP required).
  • 3:00 at atlanticcouncil.org: Thriving amid COVID-19: Illicit trade in Latin America and the Caribbean (RSVP required).
  • 5:00 at Zoom: Participación Política de Mujeres Afrodescendientes en América Latina y el Caribe: Retos y Oportunidades (RSVP required).
  • 4:00-5:30 at Zoom: Segundo Congreso de la Red Latinoamericana de Seguridad Incluyente y Sostenible “Desafíos de la Seguridad en Tiempos de Crisis Múltiples” (RSVP required).

Wednesday, November 25

  • 9:00-10:30 at Zoom: Segundo Congreso de la Red Latinoamericana de Seguridad Incluyente y Sostenible “Desafíos de la Seguridad en Tiempos de Crisis Múltiples” (RSVP required).
  • 11:00 at Zoom: Coca and Capitalism in Cauca (RSVP required).
  • 2:00 at Zoom: Los Golpistas, la Democracia y los Jóvenes que la Podrían Salvar (RSVP required).
  • 3:00-4:30 at Zoom: Segundo Congreso de la Red Latinoamericana de Seguridad Incluyente y Sostenible “Desafíos de la Seguridad en Tiempos de Crisis Múltiples” (RSVP required).

Thursday, November 26

  • 9:00-10:30 at Zoom: Segundo Congreso de la Red Latinoamericana de Seguridad Incluyente y Sostenible “Desafíos de la Seguridad en Tiempos de Crisis Múltiples” (RSVP required).
  • 4:00-5:30 at Zoom: Segundo Congreso de la Red Latinoamericana de Seguridad Incluyente y Sostenible “Desafíos de la Seguridad en Tiempos de Crisis Múltiples” (RSVP required).
  • 8:00PM at Facebook Live and YouTube: Las Violencias del Racismo.

Friday, November 27

Two interviews from last Thursday

I enjoyed talking about the border for an hour, on DC poet and all-around-brilliant person Ethelbert Miller’s radio show, on November 19.

And later that same day I was pleased that Cuestión de Poder, on the NTN24 cable network, wanted to dig into the COVID-era expansion of Latin America’s militaries’ roles. We’ll be wrestling with this for a while.

Also, the plants in my home office are thriving right now.

5 links from the past week

  • A country that won’t take dramatic action after 250,000 people die from a pandemic also won’t take dramatic action after 2.5 million weapons are smuggled from its legal gun dealers across the border into Mexico, just over the past 10 years.
  • 5,400 words in English about Colombia’s false positives scandal, the ups and downs of the country’s armed forces, and the struggle of the victims? Yes, please. The Guardian’s latest “long read” is a great piece by Mariana Palau.
  • Two of the profession’s most trusted and cited border and migration reporters, Alfredo Corchado and Dianne Solís at The Dallas Morning News, dig into the likelihood that the Biden administration will truly undo the Trump administration’s hardline policies. This analysis will lower your expectations.
  • It’s more than just climate change. Writing between two brutal hurricanes, El Faro’s Carlos Martínez draws a direct parallel between Honduras’s endemic corruption and the amount of damage that a storm can do. Pair that with this analysis of Honduras’s “murky” police reform and pervasive mistrust of government, by Marna Shorack, Elizabeth G. Kennedy, and Amelia Frank-Vitale at NACLA.
  • In an excellent four-part series, Nicaragua’s Expediente Público talks to experts and social movement leaders to figure out what it would take to reimagine and reform the country’s police force in an eventual post-Ortega context.

Some articles I found interesting this morning

Photo from Animal Político (Mexico).

(Even more here)

November 20, 2020

Western Hemisphere Regional

Se mantiene la criminalización de las personas usuarias permitiendo que éstas sean perseguidas penal y administrativamente, y enfrenten castigos con cárcel y multas de hasta diez mil pesos

The DHS Reform Act of 2020, will improve DHS operations and address the Trump Administration’s mismanagement, waste, and abuse of the Department by requiring a range of reforms

Brazil

A Black man died after being beaten by supermarket security guards in the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre on the eve of Friday’s Black Consciousness Day observations, sparking outrage

The political situation in Brazil remains quite reactionary, even after Jair Bolsonaro’s party lost ground in Sunday’s election. But the far-right president’s violent agenda took a hit — and that’s worth celebrating

Colombia

Aparece en las piezas gráficas de una campaña que denunciaba estos hechos, violencia física y simbólica contra la mujer al interior de esta institución castrense

Desde los días del plebiscito el enfoque de género enfrenta la resistencia de grupos conservadores que hacen parte de la actual coalición de gobierno, y ahora se ve amenazado por el recrudecimiento de la guerra y la pandemia

Con el homicidio de Bryan Steven Montes, conocido como ‘Jairo López’, la cifra de firmantes del Acuerdo de paz asesinados llega a 242 en todo el país

Mexico

El subsecretario de Derechos Humanos, Población y Migración de la Secretaría de Gobernación, Alejandro Encinas, dijo que la acusación contra el Capitán Crespo “es por presuntos vínculos con la organización Guerreros Unidos”

Señaló que si bien las medidas para proteger la salud durante una pandemia son necesarias, existen “grandes riesgos de que sean excesivas y discriminatorias o abuso en la implementación de ellas”

En 2018, la Policía Federal simuló contrataciones y compras para justificar el uso de más de mil 500 mdp cuyo destino real se desconoce

El de Cienfuegos Zepeda no es el único caso donde la justicia norteamericana ha quedado en evidencia por prestarse a una negociación de carácter político de esta magnitud

Drug policy reform involves a gradual shift in rhetoric, laws and practices. It doesn’t necessarily mean legalizing all drugs, but focusing on harm reduction and treatment

Peru

Though the 76-year-old Sagasti only entered congressional politics in 2016, his professional background is that of a man who has thought long and hard about how to approach complex political problems

U.S.-Mexico Border

Aides say congressional leaders and the heads of the Senate and House Appropriations committees will soon negotiate a compromise between the $2 billion request and counteroffer of zero dollars once both chambers settle on the allocation amounts

Mark Morgan, the acting commissioner of CBP, once more used his monthly enforcement briefing to depict border crossers as selfish and unconcerned for the welfare of U.S. agents and the American public

Uruguay

“Hasta no hace mucho tiempo en Uruguay habían planteos de eliminar las Fuerzas Armadas e incluso hubo calificaciones sobre el soldado en la campaña electoral pasada muy agraviantes”, señaló

Venezuela

Una teniente Hidalgo fue detenida luego de manifestar su descontento por la falta de comida, agua, transporte y otros servicios que afectan a los uniformados. Otros miembros de la Fuerza Armada la apoyaron

Some of them could even still be on active duty, as the pronouncements of their retirements have not been published

Some articles I found interesting this morning

Photo from El Faro (El Salvador). Caption: “San Pedro Sula, capital industrial hondureña, quedó aislada de Tegucigalpa, ya que las carreteras que conectan a ambas ciudades quedaron inundadas debido a las tormentas provocadas por Iota. En Villanueva, municipio del departamento Cortés, centenares de personas que viajaban hacia Tegucigalpa quedaron a la deriva.”

(Even more here)

November 19, 2020

Western Hemisphere Regional

While recovery is expected next year, its extent is likely to be limited, leaving economic output well below the pre-Covid level by the end of 2021

Bolivia

Vecinos de la ciudad de El Alto y representantes de organizaciones sociales encabezaron una marcha en memoria de los caídos

Chile

El hecho ocurrido en el Servicio Nacional de Menores de Talcahuano, ubicado a unos 430 kilómetros al sur de Santiago, donde la policía en un procedimiento disparó contra dos niños en una institución a cargo del Estado

Colombia

En su mayoría los soldados reconocieron que la erradicación forzada no resuelve los problemas que hacen posible la existencia de los cultivos ilícitos en el país

When the Colombian army defeated the Farc guerrillas, ending decades of conflict, General Mario Montoya was hailed a national hero. But then it was revealed that thousands of ‘insurgents’ executed by the army were in fact innocent men

Any future cooperation between the United States and Colombia on matters of mutual concern will require the support of the Colombian people. That will not be forthcoming if the United States appears to be encouraging an end-run around justice

Aunque la propuesta era extenderla por 15 años más, finalmente se prorrogó por 10 para no diferir de lo aprobado por Cámara y así no crear inconvenientes en el trámite. La iniciativa pasa a sanción presidencial

Cuba

The Treasury Department’s decision to prohibit U.S. remittance senders from using the most widely used financial intermediary in Cuba will disrupt remittance flows to families and further restrict support for the emerging private sector

Dominican Republic

Transnational criminal groups could not operate successfully without the complacency of law enforcement in the United States

El Salvador

The firm’s sole employee and executive director is Brian Dean, a Latin American specialist who led the state of Florida’s efforts to expand trade in the region when Jeb Bush was governor

Honduras

About 2.9 million people in Honduras were affected by Eta

Aguantar. Ese es el verbo que parece regir las cosas en el Valle de Sula, en el norte hondureño

  • Marna Shorack, Elizabeth G. Kennedy, Amelia Frank-Vitale, A State of Mistrust (NACLA, November 19, 2020).

Questionable homicide numbers, a murky police purge, and a pervasive distrust of authorities in Honduras reveal deep state failures that enable violence and impunity

Mexico

Un grupo de poder dentro del Ejército mexicano se movilizó para presionar al presidente Andrés Manuel López Obrador para que girara instrucciones de traer a casa, sano y salvo, al exsecretario de la Defensa Nacional. Era eso o enfrentar una rebelión en la tropa

Casos como la desaparición de los 43 normalistas de Ayotzinapa, Calera y masacres como Apatzingán, Tlatlaya y Nochixtlán dejaron huella en el sexenio de Enrique Peña Nieto. En la mayoría de ellos se ha documentado la participación del Ejército

La acusación es por presuntos vínculos con la organización Guerreros Unidos, a la que se atribuye la responsabilidad de la desaparición de los 43 estudiantes de Ayotzinapa el 26 de septiembre de 2014

AMLO y Marcelo Ebrard operaron fuerte para el regreso a México de Cienfuegos, y lo hicieron porque a su vez se toparon con una enorme presión de la cúpula militar

In a country with just a single legal gun shop, on a military base in the capital, roughly 2.5 million illicit American guns have poured across the border in the past decade

“No existe un acuerdo de impunidad” en el caso del general Salvador Cienfuegos, ni se le dará “carpetazo”, sostuvo esta mañana Andrés Manuel López Obrador

Current and former law enforcement officials expressed frustration that such an important case was spiked

The Mexican government threatened to kick out the DEA and limit cooperation with the U.S. on international narcotics investigations unless criminal charges were dropped

Mexican officials made the threat after weeks of anger at the surprise arrest of a former defense minister. Their gambit appears to have worked — the charges were dropped

The announcement suggests the fallout from the arrest of former Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos — which enraged Mexico when the Justice Department announced it last month — is far broader than previously known

Peru

Like Brigada Verde, hundreds of small, decentralized organizations formed through social media to coordinate the week-long mobilizations that ousted the interim president

That could see Peru follow in the footsteps of Andean neighbor Chile, which in the wake of fiery street demonstrations last year is now rewriting its constitution

U.S.-Mexico Border

In a two-page order, Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said unaccompanied migrant children who are taken into custody by border officials must be afforded the safeguards Congress established for them

The government is expected to seek an immediate stay of the injunction and appeal Sullivan’s ruling

Venezuela

In an effort to complete his consolidation of power, Nicolas Maduro is cracking down on the leftist activists who once supported him, but have begun to speak up against his administration’s corruption and cronyism

James Story will work from the capital of neighbouring Colombia

Some articles I found interesting this morning

Photo from defensa.com (Spain).

(Even more here)

November 18, 2020

Bolivia

El ministro de Defensa, Edmundo Novillo, pidió este martes “desestigmatizar” el grito ‘patria o muerte’ al interior de las Fuerzas Armadas (FFAA), que fue erradicado por la expresidenta Jeanine Áñez

Brazil

Brazil’s municipal elections saw setbacks for the president, gains for right-wing parties outside his orbit – and promising new voices on the left

Central America Regional

Add that to the overflowing buffet of problems confronting the Biden administration when it takes over Jan. 20

The Biden administration will need to move fast on a new regional architecture to address Central American migration

Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua

The Central American toll from Iota remained unclear Tuesday as officials scrambled to help. However, Colombia confirmed at least one death

El Salvador

La intervención de agentes de la PNC para obstaculizar los allanamientos que la Fiscalía comenzó el lunes 13 en las oficinas del Ministerio de Salud es gravísima

Guatemala

The Guatemalan Congress’s efforts to press criminal charges against Constitutional Court judges over a recent court ruling are a flagrant assault on judicial independence

Mexico

Para especialistas consultados, su regreso se debe a presiones diplomáticas y a la necesidad de mantener estrategias de seguridad, pese a que la procuración de justicia en México está en vilo

En lo que va del sexenio, varias decisiones del Ejecutivo colocan a las Fuerzas Armadas en tareas que no forman parte de sus funciones constitucionales

It raises questions about the trade-off between U.S. investigations into Mexican drug trafficking and attempts to maintain a delicate bilateral relationship

Ebrard denied the decision was related to the U.S. elections or the decision not to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden, noting he spoke with Barr on Oct. 26

The quick reversal may be an attempt to preserve relations between the countries or a testament to the close relationship between President Trump and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico

Una posibilidad puede ser que se haya acordado dejar a la DEA y otras agencias en su condición presente, actuando sin restricciones en territorio mexicano y con derecho de picaporte en las dependencias de seguridad mexicanas

The U.S. Department of Justice has made the decision to seek dismissal of the U.S. criminal charges against former Secretary Cienfuegos, so that he may be investigated and, if appropriate, charged, under Mexican law

López Obrador has continued to dig in, pinning his decision on the Mexican constitution’s foreign-policy principles of nonintervention and national sovereignty, and declaring that his country is not a “colony” or a “wimp”

Nicaragua

Un reporte de investigación sobre la progresiva desnaturalización de la Policía Nacional, no solo revela las características y causas de esa descomposición institucional, sino que visualiza lo que debería ser una hoja de ruta para una reforma

Some articles I found interesting this morning

The police stood guard in front of Peru’s Congress in Lima after interim President Manuel Merino announced his resignation on Sunday.
Angela Ponce/Reuters photo at The New York Times. Caption: “The police stood guard in front of Peru’s Congress in Lima after interim President Manuel Merino announced his resignation on Sunday.”

(Even more here)

November 17, 2020

Western Hemisphere Regional

El Perú no es el único país de la región que sufre por la brutalidad de las fuerzas del orden. México, Colombia, Brasil, Chile y Argentina también sufren por lo mismo

His international policies will probably follow long-standing norms as he embraces multilateralism and traditional diplomacy

Bolivia

El presidente de Bolivia, Luis Arce, cambió a toda la cúpula de las Fuerzas Armadas con el complejo “desafío de que el pueblo vuelva a confiar” en ellas

La máxima autoridad nacional solicitó a los uniformados estar cohesionados con el pueblo, trabajar para lograr la unidad de todos los bolivianos, defender la democracia, la paz social y garantizar la estabilidad del gobierno

Brazil

President’s candidates suffer heavy defeats amid resurgence of mainstream parties

Brazilians, voting for mayors and city councilors across the country, seemed to favor experienced politicians from traditional parties, a move that may damage reelection hopes for President Jair Bolsonaro

President Jair Bolsonaro’s cavalier handling of the coronavirus pandemic drew outrage. But as the curve in Brazil has flattened, his political standing has strengthened

Colombia

Ya son 241 excombatientes de Farc asesinados

En una operación de la Fuerza Pública realizada en el municipio antioqueño de Tarazá, fue dado de baja Emiliano Alcides Osorio Macea, alias “Caín” o “Pilatos”, principal cabecilla de la organización criminal

Emiliano Alcides Osorio estaba encargado de esa estructura delictiva desde el año 2016, cuando se separó del Clan del Golfo

El Salvador

La semana pasada, la UCA dio a conocer que, el pasado 30 de octubre, unos jueces de la Sala de lo Penal de la Corte Suprema, en una decisión no unánime (dos contra uno), ignoraron la inconstitucionalidad de la Ley de Amnistía

Guatemala, Honduras

Indigenous communities in Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala were among the hardest hit. Now another hurricane is arriving

Honduras

The teams returned to Soto Cano Air Base in Honduras to coordinate a ready posture in anticipation of tropical storm Iota threatening the region

El huracán Eta llovió sobre Honduras, un país muy pobre, muy desigual, perforado por la corrupción de sus políticos y con una economía en permanente naufragio

Honduras, Nicaragua

It crossed the coast just 15 miles south of where Category 4 Hurricane Eta came ashore on Nov. 3

Mexico

Mostraron su preocupación ante la posibilidad de que el capitán José Martínez Crespo, actualmente bajo investigación “delincuencia organizada con la finalidad de cometer delitos contra la salud”, pueda salir en libertad a partir del miércoles

El objetivo de la inversión es construir un centro de evaluación con tecnología de punta, consultorios de especialidades, área de psicología y hasta piscina

Peru

He and his Purple Party bloc were among just 19 of 130 lawmakers to vote against Vizcarra’s removal

The decision to name Mr. Sagasti, an engineer, academic and first-time legislator, as the country’s new president was not expected to immediately quell popular anger

U.S.-Mexico Border

Some of the most vocal critics of border wall construction over the past four years told The Arizona Republic they would like to see Biden go a step further and consider the possibility of tearing down certain sections

The completion of President’s Trump’s signature wall on the U.S.-Mexico border is very much in doubt

Even asylum-seekers who are enrolled in the Migration Protection Protocols program, which requires them to wait in Mexico, are now indefinitely stuck as their court hearings have been postponed due to the pandemic

Some articles I found interesting this morning

Violeta Ayasta – GEC photo at El Comercio (Peru). Caption: “La segunda marcha nacional contra Manuel Merino dejó dos muertos, cientos de heridos y decenas de jóvenes no ubicados.”

(Even more here)

November 16, 2020

Western Hemisphere Regional

A new Cold War between the “great powers” outside Latin America – the United States and China – has again undermined the region’s ability to defend its own interests and given impetus to new ways of establishing its autonomy

The “plain text” of the department’s order of succession showed that Wolf’s ascension to acting secretary did not follow established law and was part of several hastily crafted administration moves designed to get people into the top DHS position outside of standard procedures

Bolivia

Los militares no fueron invitados a los principales actos protocolares del Ejecutivo. En la Policía, los dos primeros tienen denuncias

Las investigaciones buscan esclarecer los hechos y fortalecer la reconciliación nacional

Brazil

Conselheiros do presidente dizem que, de zero a dez, a chance de o republicano reverter a derrota nas urnas é…“sete”

Brazil, Venezuela

Gunmen on Saturday captured a businessman linked to the Venezuelan dissidence in Brazil, shot him in the leg and forcibly took them across the border into Venezuela

Central America Regional

The storm, the second hurricane to strike Central America in less than two weeks, was expected to produce catastrophic winds and up to 30 inches of rain all week

Colombia

Lamento que el Ejército desperdicie esta oportunidad de reconocer un problema y, en cambio, asuma una actitud negacionista

En los dos años de la administración de Iván Duque las disidencias han duplicado su presencia

“Los grandes deforestadores son los gamonales que llegan en helicópteros, o incluso en avioneta, o en camionetas 4×4 blindadas”

El movimiento asegura que los homicidios y las amenazas a sus simpatizantes son un ataque sistemático. Las víctimas eran conocidas en sus territorios por liderar luchas sociales

El investigador habla de la situación que vive el país en términos de seguridad y de la urgencia de recomponer el rumbo en momentos en que la violencia se ha exacerbado en varias zonas

Honduras

Two weeks after Hurricane Eta made landfall in Central America as a category 4 storm – causing widespread destruction and hundreds of thousands to lose everything – an unprecedented second major hurricane is forecast to hit Monday night in almost the exact same spot

Mexico

La detención del capitán Crespo es solo por vínculos con el narcotráfico, hasta ahora no hay acusación sobre su participación en los hechos de Iguala el 26 de septiembre de 2014

Solo siete de cada 100 elementos de la Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional (Sedena) que fueron transferidos a la Guardia Nacional, lo hizo de manera voluntaria, reconoció el instituto armado

Una Caravana conformada por organizaciones, colectivos y redes de apoyo al Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN), documentó testimonios y evidencias de la intensificación de acciones paramilitares

El presidente Andrés Manuel López Obrador reconoció que tuvo que tomar la decisión de inundar a las comunidades chontales de Nacajuca y Centla, para que “no se inundara por completo” la capital de Tabasco

Alfredo Bosco came to Guerrero on assignment to document southern Mexican villages emptied out by conflict. Over repeated visits he documents the region’s story

Grupo armado se habría llevado por la fuerza a fotorreportero de esta casa editorial

La oficina de la Fiscalía de Estados Unidos en el distrito este de Nueva York y la defensa del General Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda pidieron al Juez que amplíe el plazo de la apertura del juicio para preparase

Nicaragua

Expediente Público presenta el análisis de siete líderes de movimientos sociales, campesinos y partidos políticos opositores en Nicaragua, sobre cuál sería la mejor estrategia para poner fin al accionar represivo de la Policía Nacional

Peru

After several hours of closed-door negotiations, congressional leaders emerged in the early hours of Monday to announce that their session was recessing without any decision and would reconvene later in the day

Manuel Merino took power after Congress pushed out Peru’s popular president. In office less than a week, he faced mounting opposition from protesters

The politician agreed to step down after a night of unrest in which two young protesters were killed and half his Cabinet resigned

Mientras que el Gobierno no se dé cuenta y no sienta el mensaje de la calle, el mensaje de la sociedad, las marchas van a continuar y cada vez con mayor intensidad

“Las Fuerzas Armadas pondrán todos sus medios y capacidades en la defensa de su pueblo y del Estado de derecho, basados en los principios fundamentales de la libertad y la democracia”, enfatizó el comando conjunto

Además de dos muertos y más de cien heridos, aún hay decenas de manifestantes que están inubicables luego del sexto día de marchas contra Manuel Merino

U.S.-Mexico Border

Biden has said he will end construction of Trump’s wall, but activists say they hope for more than a return to the status quo

The Trump administration is scrambling to build as much of the border wall as it can before the Biden administration begins

Its board has decided not to sell the land to the Trump administration for border wall construction

The monument to nativism spans 371 miles. Border communities and activists consider it “an attack on our heritage and our identity.” But Biden hasn’t pledged to uproot it

Many changes detailed on Biden’s campaign website are couched with words such as “review.”

The Department of Homeland Security was molded in President Trump’s image, and not just on immigration policy. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. will have work to do to remake it

Venezuela

La derrota de Donald Trump en las elecciones marca el fin de la estrategia de “máxima presión” para forzar la salida del mandatario Nicolás Maduro en Venezuela, mientras la llegada del demócrata Joe Biden a la Casa Blanca abre una oportunidad para promover una solución política

Cree que la administración Biden va a distanciarse de la retórica de la administración de Trump y de una política de levantar promesas falsas para la oposición venezolana

Latin America-related online events this week

Monday, November 16

  • 1:30 at migrationpolicy.org: Mission Critical: The Evolution of U.S. Homeland Security in the 21st Century (RSVP required).
  • 1:30 at Zoom: Legislative Effectiveness in Latin America (RSVP required).
  • 3:00–5:00 at immigrationforum.org: Leading the Way: An American Approach to Immigration (RSVP required).

Tuesday, November 17

  • 12:30–2:00 at refugeesinternational.org: Voices from the Border: Detention and the Need for Humane Alternatives (RSVP required).
  • 2:30–4:00 at wilsoncenter.org: What Does the World Expect of President-elect Joe Biden? (RSVP required).
  • 3:00–5:00 at immigrationforum.org: Leading the Way: An American Approach to Immigration (RSVP required).
  • 5:30–7:30 at clacs.nyu.edu: Bolivia’s Electoral Victory: What challenges lie ahead for MAS? (RSVP required).

Wednesday, November 18

Thursday, November 19

  • 10:00–11:30 at wola.org: Evaluating U.S. Sanctions Policy Towards Venezuela (RSVP required).
  • 11:00–12:00 at thedialogue.org: A Conversation with Iván Duque Marquéz (RSVP required).
  • 1:00–2:00 at wola.org: Race and Policing in the Time of COVID in Latin America (RSVP required).
  • 3:00–5:00 at immigrationforum.org: Leading the Way: An American Approach to Immigration (RSVP required).
  • 5:30–7:30 at urosario.edu.co: Peacebuilding amid Persistence of Violence (RSVP required).
  • 6:00 at wola.org: The Three Rs: Realize, Recognize, & Reconciliation—A Panel about Environmental Justice and Colonization (RSVP required).

Friday, November 20

Saturday, November 21

  • 11:00–12:30 at urosario.edu.co: Peacebuilding amid Persistence of Violence (RSVP required).
  • 2:00–5:00 at urosario.edu.co: Peacebuilding amid Persistence of Violence (RSVP required).
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