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.
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.
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.
Massive deportations from Mexico and the U.S. have not stopped Central Americans fleeing endemic poverty and epidemic violence. Erecting more barriers and forcing migrants and refugees underground deepens the humanitarian crisis - and strengthens the illegal networks turning much of Central America into a criminal battleground.
As the saying goes, [Venezuela's military is] willing to accompany Maduro to the cemetery but not be buried with him.
[Some at the top of Venezuela's government] appear genuinely to believe that this is a revolution and the ultimate goal is the replacement of the capitalist economy with one that is entirely state-run.
If the opposition are prepared to negotiate a calendar of elections and a transitional arrangement for Maduro, then it is possible the split between government hardliners and pragmatists could widen.
Everybody knows that the real reason the government [of Venezuela] doesn't want to have elections is because it's going lose them.
[The FARC rebel leader] “Pollo” wanted to return to the peace process since at least January, and in March he submitted a list of 333 dissident militia members who wanted to surrender.
The [Venezuelan] government controls nearly all levers of power while the opposition has the support of the voters. That's why the opposition needs to have elections and why the government doesn't.
Originally published in Miami Herald
Since Colombia ratified a revised peace accord to end the country’s long insurgency, FARC rebels have moved rapidly to ad hoc cantonment sites where they will demobilise under UN supervision. But the FARC leadership’s commitment to the deal is under pressure from disparate elements in its rank and file.
Facing social and economic collapse, Venezuela is likely to continue to be Latin America's most urgent crisis in 2017. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2017 annual early-warning report for European policy makers, Crisis Group urges the European Union and its member states to work closely with governments in the region, particularly Caribbean nations with close ties to Caracas, toward the restoration of democracy in Venezuela.
Originally published in Open Society Foundation
Deportations from Mexico and the U.S. will not stop Central Americans fleeing poverty and violence. Instead of building a wall, the U.S. should help Mexico provide safe, secure reception areas on its southern border for Central American migrants.