- “The Central America Regional Security Initiative in Honduras,” by Aaron Kortuis;
”CARSI in Guatemala: Progress, Failure, and Uncertainty,” by Nicholas Phillips, Woodrow Wilson Center Latin America Program.
Two very in-depth studies (actually I haven’t finished reading them yet) of how the United States’ multi-year aid package to Central America is playing out in Guatemala and Honduras. Thoroughly researched and mostly well-written. The Guatemala one is more upbeat than the Honduras one.
- “Justice and the Creation of a Mafia State in Guatemala;”
”The ‘Tennis Shoe King’ Who Became Guatemala’s Gentleman Lobbyist,” by Steven Dudley, InsightCrime.
We’re all still trying to figure out how the badguys always seem to come out on top in Guatemala. Steven Dudley peels back a layer, putting under a microscope how corruption and influence-peddling networks, involving both traditional wealthy families and recent upstart elites, gain control over institutions like the justice system. (And, as a result, guarantee that Guatemala will remain an undeveloped country for another generation.) “Guatemala has networks of current and ex-officials who—either through their control of key government posts, their ability to control policy, or their economic might—are sucking the country dry.”
- “Terror en el Bajo Cauca,” Semana (Colombia).
Semana still does some of the best reporting on Colombia’s ever-morphing conflict, or organized crime emergency, or whatever you want to call it. No guerrillas are in this story of terrified populations living in this region about 2 hours’ drive from Medellín. “The territory was divided [in 2010] into franchises handed out by the Úsuga clan, which runs the Urabeños” neo-paramilitary group.
- “Witness: 21 Killed by Mexico Army Had Surrendered,” by Mark Stevenson and E. Eduardo Castillo, Associated Press.
The AP’s Stevenson noted at the time that there was something fishy about a June 30 shootout between Mexico’s army and a gang of 21 men and one woman, all of whom were killed even though soldiers sustained no casualties. (“There have been so many such incidents that human rights groups and analysts have begun to doubt the military’s version.”) Now, Stevenson reports on new witness revelations—which first emerged in, of all places, Esquire Latin America, accusing the military of summarily executing the gang members, one by one, after they had already given up.
- “Arrests in Chile bomb attack focus on anarchists,” by Luis Andrés Henao, Associated Press.
It sounds more like 1904 than 2014, but the September 8 bombing in the Santiago metro, which wounded 14 people, may have been the work of an anarchist group. In Chile, where it playeed an important role in the labor movement in the first half of the 20th century, anarchism “has resurged in recent years.” The country’s most prominent anarchists, though, disavow the use of violence and repudiate the subway attack.