President Trump’s new measures against Cuba preserve diplomatic relations and the right to most U.S. trade and group travel. But aggressive U.S. atmospherics risk hardening Cuba’s domestic politics and making it harder for Havana to play its mediating role in regional crises and conflicts.
CrisisWatch is a monthly early warning bulletin designed to provide a regular update on the state of the most significant situations of conflict around the world.
Violence is escalating in Venezuela, killing 70 people in over two months of ever-angrier popular protests against a government that is abandoning representative democracy. Regional states should avert a humanitarian catastrophe by pressuring the Maduro regime to withdraw plans to elect a phony constituent assembly on 30 July.
Central American gangs are responsible for brutal acts of violence, abuse of women and forced displacement of thousands. Governments must go beyond punitive measures and address the social and economic roots of gang culture, tackle extortion schemes and invest in communities.
Mexico’s third-most populous state has suffered an unprecedented wave of violence. Veracruz’s new governor must stand by pledges to end state-criminal collusion and impunity. Strong international support will be needed to help find the bodies of the disappeared and transform the state police and legislature.
Revised and ratified after its shock rejection in October 2016’s referendum, Colombia’s peace agreement still lacks sustainable political support. Reversing public distrust will need swift and effective implementation of the accord – including full apologies for past crimes and the visible handover of weapons by insurgents.
With a collapsing health care system, sky-rocketing inflation and crippling state controls, Venezuela is beset by unprecedented social and economic crises. To end the root problem of political paralysis, the Chavista government and opposition must use outside-mediated negotiation to restore democratic and responsible economic governance.
To convert August’s historic peace deal into a durable end to 52 years of conflict, the government and FARC rebels must redouble efforts to achieve a full cessation of hostilities, a successful plebiscite, and UN-monitored ceasefire and weapons handover process.
The opposition [in Venezuela] knows perfectly well that they would lose a violent struggle. If they start shooting back, everything is over. So the violence on the opposition side is reactive.
The election [of Venezuela's Constitutional Assembly] planned for July 30 could be a trigger point leading to a sharp escalation of violence.
For the FARC, the subject of money has always touched a nerve. If it's shown they have a lot of wealth, it adds fuel to the narrative that they are simply drug traffickers.
The more people die [in Venezuela], the more the anger grows and the more willing the [Venezuelan] government becomes to respond even more violently.
After years of using elections as plebiscites [...] the government [of Venezuela] can now [...] neither muster the electoral support nor find a convincing reason not to hold a vote.
The U.S. has a role to play in contributing to the international pressure [on Venezuela], but that is best done multilaterally, which is what we have seen so far.
Originally published in El Pulso
Herederas de los conflictos armados de la década de los ochenta e impulsadas por las deportaciones masivas desde EEUU, las maras son un problema de primera magnitud en El Salvador, Honduras y Guatemala. Las políticas de ‘mano dura’ son tan inútiles como dañinas.
Originally published in Politica Exterior
Two developments are propelling Venezuela faster along a route that has already led to dozens of deaths in the last few weeks: the first is an undemocratic proposal for a new constitution; the second is increasingly isolated Venezuela’s withdrawal from the Organisation of American States.
Venezuela’s neighbours are at last contemplating tougher measures to counter its dangerous and undemocratic behaviour. The government, helped by outsiders, should now negotiate with the opposition on a transitional regime to lead the country out of its grave social, economic and political crisis.
Originally published in Miami Herald