ACLED Regional Presentation – Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean (September 17 – 23, 2022) – Haiti

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Last week in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, gang violence remained high in Mexico, Haiti and Trinidad and Tobago. In Haiti, three people were killed in riots calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, while gangs looted food warehouses and blocked the country’s main oil terminal. In Mexico, deadly attacks targeting civilians have escalated violence in the states of Guanajuato and Oaxaca. Similarly, in Panama, armed suspects killed a pre-candidate for deputy for the 2024 elections.

In Haiti, protests continued across the country last week amid continued rising fuel prices and calls for Prime Minister Henry to resign, with some protests turning deadly. During a demonstration in the Pétionville district, Ouest department, unidentified gunmen shot and killed two participants and injured four others. Elsewhere, in Les Cayes, in the South department, armed rioters clashed with police, killing one person. Meanwhile, in the North department, outbreaks of rioting over four consecutive days of protests have contributed to a 220% increase in violent events in the North over the past week compared to the weekly average of the previous month, as indicated ACLED Subnational Surge Tracker.

Amid the protests, members of the Guepe Noire gang looted the offices and a food warehouse of the humanitarian organization Caritas in Port-de-Paix, North West department. Following the incident, police arrested 12 gang members and days later killed the gang leader. This violence has contributed to the 71% increase in weekly violent events in Haiti over the past month compared to the weekly average of the previous year. ACLED Conflict Change Map also warned of an upsurge in violence in the country over the previous four weeks. The UN Special Representative for Haiti called for more support to deal with the current crisis and condemned the attacks on humanitarian operations (UN, September 26, 2022).

Elsewhere in the Ouest department, members of the G-9 gang coalition barricaded roads in the Cité-Soleil district on September 19, blocking access to the Varreaux oil terminal. A few days after the start of this obstruction, the leader of the G-9 gang, Jimmy Cherizier, affirmed that the G-9 continues to fight the country’s current crisis and that the oil terminal will remain under their control (Haiti Libre, September 22, 2022). This is not the first time the G-9 has taken control of the oil terminal; in November 2021, the gang blocked access to the terminal, demanding Henry’s resignation. Human rights organizations accused the G-9 of collusion with the government, seeking to participate in demonstrations in order to discredit the popular demands of the demonstrators (Gazette Haiti, September 20, 2022).

Last week in Mexico, gang violence continued to escalate in the state of Guanajuato, driven by several attacks that left several people dead. In the neighboring municipalities of Romita and Silao, 10 people were killed in two separate attacks by armed suspects. Following these incidents, members of the Santa Rosa de Lima cartel broke into a bar in Tarimoro, shooting and killing 10 other people. The Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) claimed that these attacks were part of an offensive by the Santa Rosa de Lima cartel aimed at securing control of drug markets and trafficking routes in municipalities contested by the two cartels ( Infobae, September 24, 2022). Meanwhile, the state governor claimed that the recent escalation in violence was due to a conflict within the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel caused by a splinter faction that allegedly supports CJNG operations (Informador, September 22, 2022 ). Violence in Guanajuato became deadliest in September, during which ACLED records the highest monthly number of reported deaths so far in 2022.

Meanwhile, in the state of Oaxaca, unidentified perpetrators carried out targeted attacks that caused the death of an Institutional Revolutionary Party delegate and a lawyer in the municipalities of Soyaltepec and Santa Lucia del Camino. , respectively. These trends contribute to the 115% increase in violent events in Oaxaca over the past week compared to the weekly average of the previous month, as indicated by ACLED Subnational Surge Tracker. So far in 2022, Oaxaca is among the states in Mexico with the highest number of attacks targeting current and former candidates, politicians and government officials.

In Panama, armed suspects shot and killed an independent politician on September 17. The politician was attacked while accompanied by his political team in the municipality of Chepo, in the province of Panama. A well-known rancher, the victim was killed days after collecting the required number of signatures to run for the 2024 legislative elections (Panamá en Minutos, September 19, 2022). The authorities’ preliminary investigations suggest that the attack was carried out by armed men (Crítica, September 21, 2022). This is the first recorded attack against a politician in Panama in 2022.

In Trinidad and Tobago, attacks on civilians by armed suspects led to a 37% increase in weekly violent events in Trinidad and Tobago in the past month compared to the weekly average of the previous year . ACLED Conflict Change Map also warned of an upsurge in violence in the country over the previous four weeks. Most of the attacks were recorded in the neighboring regions of San Juan-Laventille, Tunapuna Piarco and Diego Martin in the northwest of the country. Security experts have attributed the increase in violence to gangs challenging the control of drug sales and human and drug trafficking, among other criminal activities, particularly in the Tunapuna district, which is believed to be under the control gangs (InSight Crime, September 21, 2022).

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