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Latam Brief: Haiti gang attacks continue

A person lifts a sheet to look at the identity of a body in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, March 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)
A person lifts a sheet to look at the identity of a body in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, March 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Latin America Daily Briefing

Haiti

  • CARICOM has received nominations for six of the nine spots on a transitional presidential council that aims to organize democratic elections in Haiti. The international plan is to have a council with representatives from key political movements and sectors of civil society but ongoing negotiations “have bogged down by infighting among some of the groups,” reports the Miami Herald. “Another complication: People being considered for the presidential panel are worried about their personal safety and that of their families, given the escalating attacks against homes, businesses and government facilities.” (See also Le Nouvelliste)

  • Gunmen assaulted two upscale neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince and killed at least a dozen people, yesterday. Both neighborhoods had previously remained largely peaceful despite a surge in gang attacks across Haiti’s capital, reports the Guardian.

  • The Miami Herald reports at least 24 dead bodies on the streets of the upscale Pétion-Ville area, victims of gunshots.

Colombia

  • Colombia’s “Total Peace” initiative has excluded the country’s largest armed criminal outfit, the Gaitanista Self-Defence Force. “This gap is significant, given the Gaitanistas’ deep pockets and their drive to expand,” explains a new International Crisis Group report, which recommends Bogotá “start down a path of progressively more substantive discussions with the Gaitanistas aiming, first, to reduce violence against civilians and, secondly, to discuss legal conditions for laying down arms.”

  • Colombian President Gustavo Petro said he has not proposed a constitutional reform in order to perpetuate himself in power. (EFE)

  • The surprise proposal, tossed out last week, has dominated Colombian political conversations, and could divide Petro’s own coalition, reports El País. (See yesterday’s briefs.)

  • Former paramilitary Salvatore Mancuso’s legal fate is in the hands of Colombia’s Special Jurisdiction for Peace, reports the Associated Press.

Honduras

  • A string of U.S. convictions of Honduran drug trafickers, including former president Juan Orlando Hernández, “are seen as just a drop of justice in a desert of impunity,” writes Jennifer Ávila in Americas Quarterly. President Xiomara Castro’s promises to crack down on graft and reestablish an international anti-corruption commission have stalled in “a political system still dominated by old-guard parties, and investigations are disproportionately targeting the opposition. The fate of the potential UN commission seems ever more uncertain, and anti-corruption efforts as a whole may be at risk of unraveling.”

Venezuela

  • Nicolás Maduro has been in power for 11 years in Venezuela — though he is unpopular, he is likely to “win” another six-year mandate in July by leveraging “the top-down Chavista framework, the destruction of institutions, military support and the intelligence services,” reports El País.

Mexico

  • The Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico appears to have made an effort to quell fentanyl production in its territory to stave off increased government pressure, but growing evidence suggests diverse factions of the group “have simply migrated their operations north to be closer to the US-Mexico border,” reports InSight Crime.

Cuba

  • Cuba’s government accused the U.S. of stoking a protest against electricity outages and food shortages in Santiago de Cuba on Sunday, reports the Guardian. (See yesterday’s post.)

Argentina

  • Argentina’s Milei administration retains popular support despite an increasingly crushing economic crisis — “but all this can change in a matter of days and the flip side of the administration’s arrogance is its extreme fragility,” argues Crisis in a new mapping of government officials.

Dominican Republic

  • The Guardian profiles Dominican Republic land defender Esteban Polanco, who heads the Federation of Farmers Towards Progress (La Federación de Campesinos hacia el Progreso), which has, for decades, challenged successive governments and powerful business interests and famously stopped an international mining company from destroying and exploiting Loma de Blanco.

Regional Relations

  • Panama “accused Nicaragua of meddling in its internal affairs by allowing former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli to continue taking swipes at the justice system and promoting his political allies from within the walls of the Nicaraguan embassy,” reports the Associated Press.

Critter Corner

  • Greenpeace has called for the creation of a high seas protected zone under a new UN treaty to secure a much wider area around Ecuador’s Galapagos archipelago — Guardian.
A marine iguana in Tortuga Bay, Santa Cruz island. Ernesto Benavides/Agence France Presse
A marine iguana in Tortuga Bay, Santa Cruz island. Ernesto Benavides/Agence France Presse

Jordana Timerman / Latin America Daily Briefing
http://latinamericadailybriefing.blogspot 03 19 2024

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