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Security & Strategic Review - May 2020

LEADER
Despite the social distancing guidelines introduced by the government in late March to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19), and even though this has reduced drug trafficking activity, the levels of violence in Mexico have not subsided...
ANDEAN COUNTRIES
The Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN), the largest guerrilla group in Colombia since the demobilisation of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Farc) in 2016, was the principal target of the security agenda that formed the basis of President Iván Duque’s 2018 election campaign, and has been something of a nemesis for his government ever since...
US attorney general William Barr’s indictment of Nicolás Maduro on 26 March, the first of a sitting foreign president since Panama’s Manuel Noriega in 1988, sent shockwaves through Venezuela...
One of Bolivia’s first recorded cases of coronavirus (Covid-19), a 65-year-old woman in the city of Santa Cruz, the capital of the eponymous department, was turned away from four hospitals by panicked patients and staff, before eventually being isolated by local authorities...
BRAZIL & SOUTHERN CONE
The global nature of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has both highlighted the importance of international cooperation and prompted a retreat into nationalism by governments struggling to meet the needs of their health systems...
In mid-March, indigenous leaders in Brazil decided to cancel this year’s Acampamento Terra Livre (ATL) annual indigenous gathering in Brasília, due to take place in the final days of April, over coronavirus (Covid-19) concerns...
Brazil’s public security authorities were able to claim a victory in April with the capture of one of the criminals on the justice & public security ministry (MJSP)’s 2020 ‘most wanted’ list...
MEXICO
The procurement of medical supplies in Latin America during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has all the hallmarks of a corruption minefield...
In the shadow of the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, another public health threat has been spreading alarm amongst Mexico’s health authorities...
CENTRAL AMERICA
At the end of March, the international anti-corruption NGO Transparency International (TI) warned about “serious corruption risks” in Latin America’s emergency response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic...
An increase in the discovery of drug laboratories in Honduras and a high-profile arrest in the US earlier this year have added overwhelming evidence to fears that the country has now graduated from its “experimental phase” in cocaine production to become a full-blown producer...
Local and international human rights groups have denounced a “surge in repression” by the government led by Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega in April...
CARIBBEAN
Suriname is due to go to the polls on 25 May, and the opposition fears that President Desi Bouterse is taking unfair advantage of the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis to boost his chances and those of his National Democratic Party (NDP)...
On 17 April, on the grounds that “the Covid-19 virus continues to pose a significant threat of a natural calamity”, Prime Minister Timothy Harris successfully introduced a resolution to extend the national State of Emergency to six months, but only after reducing the time period from the originally proposed 12 months...
Atlantic basin seasonal forecasts warn that warm sea surface temperatures and atypical atmospheric conditions will likely give rise to above-average hurricane activity in the Caribbean in 2020...

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