Armed groups and "total peace" -- Crisis Group
March 2, 2023
Colombian criminal armed groups could take advantage of the Petro administration’s efforts to negotiate “total peace” to tighten their territorial grip, warns a new International Crisis Group report.
Petro’s focus on humanitarian accords with groups is “laudable in many ways,” and has been accompanied by “a slower tempo of hostilities involving these groups, and a fall in homicides perpetrated by them in some regions.”
“Yet rural residents report that other types of violence have become more frequent. This state of affairs could worsen. Some groups may lack the incentive to engage in good-faith talks. Even those that enter into agreements may intend to capitalise on ceasefires to expand their influence. Avoiding this outcome will require the state to make crystal clear that these forms of violence are unacceptable,” argues the report.
The government must also “insist that armed groups end forms of coercion such as child recruitment, sexual and gender-based violence, and movement restrictions. State bodies and the military should strengthen mechanisms to protect civilians in rural areas,” argues the report.
Colombian President Gustavo Petro has sparred with his Salvadoran counterpart, Nayib Bukele, on Twitter, over the Central American country’s controversial crackdown on street gangs. Petro critically compared mass incarceration in El Salvador with Colombia’s social policies as tools for lowering homicides. Bukele retorted that El Salvador’s results outweigh rhetoric. (El País)
A Guatemalan judge ordered the investigation of nine journalists from El Periódico. The newspaper’s president, José Rubén Zamora, a prominent government critic, has already been jailed on various charges since last year. The judge asked prosecutors to investigate whether the reporters were maliciously pursuing prosecutors, judges and other members of Guatemala’s justice system, reports the Associated Press.
“The Caribbean has a history of migration, but the severe nature of climate change in the region and the rapidity of such changes could push entire countries from the lands of their birth, according to a new report by Global Americans. “Two of the Caribbean’s most significant contributors to recent migration, both within the region and to North America, are Cuba and Haiti. Climate change is one of the major factors in this trend, though political and social factors weigh heavily.”
More than 98 people have died, and over 340 have gone missing traveling from Cuba towards the U.S., since January 2021. “Little is said about those who do not arrive, because they die or disappear in the attempt. Their names, often unknown, are diluted in imprecise statistics. However, behind the numbers there are suffering families, broken stories and incomplete dreams.” — El Toque
Canada is seeing a surge of asylum seekers at illegal border crossings with the U.S. — creating an unusual point of tension between the two neighbors. While a treaty between both countries requires migrants to apply for asylum in the first country they pass through — the U.S. in this case — refugee advocates have long argued that the rights of asylum-seekers are not sufficiently protected in the United States. (New York Times)
U.S. climate envoy John Kerry met with Brazilian government officials this week, and conveyed his commitment to collaborate on preserving the Amazon, albeit without specific policy details. A newly reactivated work group of the two nations will present its results on the Amazon, renewable energies and Indigenous peoples at the April summit of the Group of 20 major economies, Brazilian Environment Minister Marina Silva said. (Associated Press)
Researchers have proven a clear correlation between deforestation and regional precipitation in a new study that adds to fears that the degradation of the Amazon is approaching a tipping point. (Guardian)
Members of the Indigenous Paî Tavyterã, located in Paraguay’s Amambay department, denounced a case of land invasion and threats with firearms, as well as the irregular sale of sacred indigenous lands that form part of the ancestral Tekoha Guasu Yvy Pyte territory. (Última Hora)
The community has denounced increasing incursions by illegal loggers since 2021, which have become more frequent since December. The invaders have threatened community leaders. (Última Hora)
Eduardo Mendúa, an A’i Cofan Indigenous leader who fought against oil extraction in the Amazon rainforest, was killed in Ecuador on Sunday. He was a member of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador and the murder is believed to be linked to his community’s fight to block Ecuador’s state-owned oil company, Petroecuador, from expanding its drilling in the region of Sucumbíos. (Democracy Now)
Autopsy reports found more than 30 bullet wounds in the bodies of unarmed five men killed by military troops last week in Mexico’s Tamaulipas State. The details of the encounter remain murky, reports El País.
Coverage and legal analysis of the Baéz Sosa murder trial, in which a young man of Paraguayan descent was beaten to death by a group of middle-class rugby players in 2020, ignored important racial components in the attack — “a marker for the current state of public debate," activist Alejandro Mamani told LatAm Journalism Review. (See Feb. 7’s briefs.)
Large swathes of Argentina were left without power yesterday after blackouts in the national grid due to a fire, in the midst of a major heat wave that has increased demand for energy. (Reuters)
A mysterious ailment that afflicted hundreds of members of the U.S. diplomatic corps, known as “Havana syndrome,” did not result from the actions of a foreign adversary, according to a report that caps a years-long effort by the CIA and several other U.S. intelligence agencies to understand the phenomenon, reports the Washington Post.
Archeologists uncovered a new moai statue on Rapa Nui (Easter Island). The figure, like others of its kind, represents the islanders’ “deified ancestors,” reports the Smithsonian Magazine.
A Bolivian man said he survived a month lost in the Amazon alone living off of worms and insects, drinking his urine and collecting rainwater in his boots. If confirmed, Jhonatan Acosta, would be one of the longest-ever lone Amazon survivors, reports AFP.