- “Venezuela: Dangerous Inertia,” International Crisis Group, September 23.
The think tank calls on the international community, especially the Union of South American States (UNASUR), to take steps to avoid “further violence sooner or later.” A very good overview of the past months’ failed efforts to negotiate and the current opportunity—slim but perhaps possible with international accompaniment—to achieve greater political balance on the Supreme Court and Electoral Council.
- “Murder of Colonel’s Son Raises Questions Over Role of El Salvador’s Military,” September 24
”El Salvador: A Murder, A Bogus Investigation, An Army Cover-Up?,” September 25
Héctor Silva, InstightCrime.
A retired Salvadoran Army colonel known for his unusually strong pro-human rights stance suffered the murder of his son in April. He is convinced that elements of El Salvador’s armed forces are responsible, and the lack of a serious investigation seems to prove him right. Raises disturbing warning signs about a military that often gets held up as an example of how U.S. assistance can improve a foreign force’s human rights performance.
- “The child migrant crisis seems to be over. What happened?" by Dara Lind, Vox, September 19.
By far the best “explainer” piece laying out the reasons for the sharp decrease in arrivals of unaccompanied Central American migrant children since July. These include the Mexican government’s crackdown, U.S. authorities’ greater detention and deportation of family units, the nature of the rumors migrant smugglers were spreading, and U.S.-funded public awareness efforts. Lind notes that the violence that pushed so many migrants out in the first place persists.
- “Así transformarían a Colombia los acuerdos logrados con las Farc,” Juanita León, La Silla Vacía, September 25.
Colombian government and FARC guerrilla negotiators have worked for more than two years under the principle that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.” As a result, the three draft accords reached so far (land and rural development, political participation, drug policy) have been kept secret so that they could be revisited later. This week, though, negotiators agreed to make the three drafts public in order to counter critics’ misrepresentations of them. Here, León concludes that “if even half of these accords are fulfilled, Colombia will pass through a profound democratic revolution.”
- “El Salvador aid deal struck,” by David Rogers, Politico, September 20.
A year after coming to agreement with El Salvador on a US$277 million package of mostly infrastructure aid, the U.S. government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation finally has approval to start delivering it. It dragged on so long because different parts of the Obama administration had held the disbursement up for varying reasons. Treasury was worried about dollarized El Salvador’s money-laundering regulations. U.S. Trade Representative was concerned about a Salvadoran program providing cheap corn and bean seeds. Rogers writes that the process “became almost a case study in how the competing agendas of different factions inside MCC can be a challenge themselves.”