Recent surge in violence in Mexico
The past week has seen an uptick in violence in central and northern Mexico, including public displays of arson and 260 people killed between August 9-12 in the states of Jalisco, Guanajuato, Chihuahua, and Baja California, reports Reforma. Two journalists have also been murdered in the last two weeks, reaching a total of 15 slain journalists in Mexico since the start of the year, as reported by InSight Crime journalist Parker Asmann on Twitter. Some analysts and commentators have been quick to frame the violence of this last week as “terrorism,” but government officials and other analysts have pushed back against this, writes AP. AMLO, for his part, “suggested Monday the attacks were part of a political conspiracy against him by opponents.”
As noted by James Bosworth and Lucy Hale at the Latin America Risk Report, there has been notable violence in Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez, leading to National Guard deployments in these cities, as well as Guanajuato. They write, “These incidents further incentivize López Obrador to center the national guard and the military in the federal government’s security response… As the national guard and the military continue to be the central actors in the government’s security response, it will be increasingly difficult for any hand-picked successor of López Obrador to change the status quo whether or not the proposed reform formally passes.” As we wrote yesterday, AMLO is considering regulatory changes or executive orders to remove civilian control from the National Guard, as he no longer has the required congressional support to enact constitutional changes. The constitution maintains that the body should be under civilian control, yet AMLO is seeking to reform the National Guard by placing it under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defense. AMLO initially ran on a campaign of “hugs, not bullets” and a demilitarized security approach, but he has adopted a militarized strategy in governance.
“The families of 10 miners still missing after a flood at a facility in Mexico’s northern Coahuila state have appealed for more help as the rescue operation continued for the tenth day,” reported Al Jazeera on Sunday.
Three international oil companies will work alongside the government of Argentina to develop a gas field in Tierra del Fuego, a province which “currently represents 19% of the country's gas production,” says MercoPress.
Fossilized remains of a newly discovered dinosaur, named Jakapil kaniukura, were found in the southern Patagonia region of Argentina, explains the Guardian. The fossils were a “first-of-its-kind discovery.”
Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega has begun to pressure Argentina to return the controversial plane that landed from Venezuela in June, claiming that Argentina’s Alberto Fernández is operating on pressure from the “yankees,” reports TN.
Coca leaf producers declared they would no longer engage in dialogue with the Bolivian government, claiming that the government has no interest in resolving the conflict, reports Los Tiempos. Producers are protesting against US-funded efforts to eradicate local production.
A record number of women are running for state-wide office in Brazil, but they are disproportionately running as Vice Governor, with men much more likely to be running for Governor. (Folha)
Despite a trend towards decline in support for democracy in Brazil over the last decade, the democratic mood in the country has improved since Bolsonaro assumed office four years ago, writes the Brazil Research Initiative.
“Practicing journalism in Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador is becoming increasingly difficult in the face of the persecution of independent media outlets by neo-populist rulers of different stripes, intolerant of criticism,” according to the Inter Press Service.
Following the election of Colombia’s first Black vice president, Afro-Colombian communities on the country’s pacific coast are hoping for concrete policies to address the needs of the communities there, according to the Guardian.
In an effort to reform Colombia’s security forces, newly-elected Gustavo Petro nominated new commanders for the military and the police, says Al Jazeera. Petro’s standards for his new commanders were “zero corruption, zero violation of fundamental rights,” and, as Adam Isaacson from WOLA wrote on Twitter, Petro indicated that “if massacres or social-leader killings happen in military and police commanders' areas of responsibility, it ‘will affect’ their career paths.”
In World Politics Review, James Bosworth discusses the likelihood of success for Gustavo Petro in his first 100 days in office, including the president’s bold tax reform that is “most likely to be unpopular with both political elites and the public.”
Although national policies may receive the spotlight, migration integration is primarily the responsibility of cities and local communities, write Rebecca Bill Chavez and Manuel Orozco at the Inter-American Dialogue, outlining five key areas for promoting integration.
A recent survey of Venezuelans by Equilibrium CenDE finds that 32% reported a household member wishing to emigrate within the next 12 months, 60% of whom have concrete plans to do so.
Mexico, Argentina, Ecuador, and Bolivia continue to support Pedro Castillo’s presidency in Peru, despite his facing six criminal investigations, various cabinet reshuffles, and continued impeachment attempts, reports Reuters.
A return to the negotiating table by the Maduro regime and the Venezuelan opposition, with the mediation of Great Britain, is “highly probable,” according to the opposition chief negotiator for the Plataforma Unitaria, Gerardo Blyde. (Monitoreamos)