Author Topic: Latin America  (Read 58991 times)

Crafty_Dog

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Stratfor: Honduras- crisis could fuel migration
« Reply #150 on: June 06, 2019, 04:13:17 AM »
In Honduras, a Political Crisis Could Fuel Migration
A tire fire burns at the doors to the outer entrance of the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa on May 31, 2019.
(ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images)

Highlights

    Government decrees authorizing labor force readjustments in the education and health sectors have sparked ongoing protests against Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez.
    The country has few major transportation routes, so even small protests can have an outsized effect on the economy.
    The security situation in Honduras will rapidly deteriorate if the protest wave continues to gain momentum, and the economy will suffer — something that could send more migrants north within months.

Editor's Note: This security-focused assessment is one of many such analyses found at Stratfor Threat Lens, a unique protective intelligence product designed with corporate security leaders in mind. Threat Lens enables industry professionals and organizations to anticipate, identify, measure and mitigate emerging threats to people, assets and intellectual property the world over. Threat Lens is the only unified solution that analyzes and forecasts security risk from a holistic perspective, bringing all the most relevant global insights into a single, interactive threat dashboard.

Protests continued June 5 in various parts of Honduras, including Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula after June 2 incidents in which protesters set fire to 62 trucks and shipping containers on trucks headed to Puerto Castilla for export to the United States, La Prensa reported. In the June 2 incident, protesters closed a bridge on the CA-13 highway, forcing trucks to stop near the village of Guadalupe Carney. On May 31, protesters in the capital of Tegucigalpa burned tires outside the exterior entrance leading to the visa appointment waiting room at the U.S. Embassy. The fire left scorch marks to the exterior stone wall, but did little damage before being extinguished.

The Big Picture

As Honduras nears the 10-year anniversary of the removal of President Manuel Zelaya, its current president, Juan Orlando Hernandez, now sees opposition to his governance surging into the streets. Should the current wave of protests in the Central American country gain momentum and turn into a lengthy insurrection against its president, it could send more Honduran migrants north toward the United States, with implications for that country and its southern neighbor, Mexico.
See Security Challenges in Latin America

Honduran government decrees authorizing labor force readjustments in the education and health sectors drove the protests. But even though Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez promised June 3 to reverse them, the protests have spread to a broader cross section of the political left.

These demonstrations are the latest chapter in the long-running series of left-wing protests against the Hernandez government. His government won a highly contested election in November 2017, which the left accused him of rigging. Frequent corruption cases involving the president's associates have dragged down his approval ratings since he took office in 2013, and U.S. law enforcement agencies reportedly are investigating allegations of cocaine trafficking against him.

Demonstrations in Honduras can be highly violent and often involve property damage or loss of life when protesters go after the drivers of vehicles stopped at roadblocks. They have also damaged businesses in marches through San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa, El Progreso and La Ceiba.

The security situation in Honduras will rapidly deteriorate if the protest wave continues to gain momentum, and could send more migrants north within months.

The targeting of U.S. interests by left-wing protesters is not surprising given U.S. support for the Hernandez government. Other foreign countries and companies seen as supportive of the government could also be targeted or sustain unintended damage from public unrest. If the demonstrations grow, they could interfere with supply chains and hurt foreign companies with personnel and facilities inside the country. Since the country has few major transportation routes, even relatively small protests can cut off major logistical corridors and lead to food and fuel shortages.

The protests could continue to June 28, the 10th anniversary of the 2009 Honduran coup. They could even gain momentum and turn into a lengthy insurrection against the president. The security situation in Honduras will rapidly deteriorate if the protest wave continues to gain momentum, and could send more migrants north within months. An even more depressed Honduran economy will keep pushing people abroad, and the logical place they would go to find low-wage jobs is the United States. This in turn could prompt the United States to put even more pressure on Mexico, whether in the form of tariffs or other measures, to stem migration from Central America.

Crafty_Dog

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Stratfor: Honduras- crisis could fuel migration 2.0
« Reply #151 on: July 03, 2019, 09:12:48 AM »
Highlights

    Mexico has promised the United States it will reduce the surge in migration across their shared border under threat of U.S. tariffs.
    The number of Hondurans seeking asylum or employment in the United States will likely remain stubbornly high amid persistent political and economic instability there.
    The United States will use any continued migrant surge fueled by Honduran unrest to try to extract concessions from the Mexican government, which will, in turn, try to delay making them — if it can.

Though Central Americans for years have accounted for an increasing percentage of overall migrants crossing the U.S. border illegally, their numbers grew dramatically in early 2019. In May 2019 alone, about 130,000 people were arrested trying to cross the border. The composition of migrant flows also shifted, with the number of individuals in families apprehended at the border by U.S. authorities growing from 105,000 during all of 2018 to almost 330,000 during the first five months of 2019. Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are currently the main sources of illegal immigration to the United States that pass illegally through Mexico. Honduras is the second-largest source of migrants entering the U.S. illegally.
The Big Picture

A deal in June with Mexico to reduce the number of immigrants crossing illegally into the United States caused the White House to back off from a threat to slap tariffs on imports from Mexico. Under the deal, Mexico agreed to step up its efforts to prevent migrants from crossing its territory to the U.S. border. But with swelling unrest in Honduras likely to worsen the economy and spark more migration through Mexico to the United States, Washington may well return to its tariff threat.

A Migrant Surge Spawns a Tariff Threat

In May, U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to enact tariffs of up to 25 percent on all Mexican imports within months unless Mexico took immediate steps to reduce illegal migration from Central America through its territory. Almost certainly intended as a negotiating tactic to help the Trump administration further its aims on curbing illegal immigration, the threat would have had major consequences for Mexico's economy had tariffs been enacted.

A line graph showing apprehensions at the southern U.S. border

To stave off economic damage, the Mexican government agreed in June to deploy 15,000 troops to reinforce key crossing points along the U.S.-Mexico border and to send 5,000 troops to guard the Guatemala-Mexico border, a key crossing point for Central Americans entering Mexico. The two nations agreed that if migrant apprehensions on the U.S. side of the border weren't significantly reduced by early September, then talks on additional measures to curb illegal immigration would begin.

A line graph showing people detained or turned away at the U.S.-Mexico border

Nearly a month after deferring tariffs against Mexico, the Trump administration is likely crafting its response to the new Mexican security measures. The White House demanded that Mexico reduce migrant crossings so that Customs and Border Protections arrests on the U.S. side of the border fall to around 20,000 per month. The Trump administration probably settled on this number because it would equal the record-low number of arrests seen in late 2016 and early 2017. It is unlikely, however, that this number will decline to anywhere near this amount within three months.

Unrest in Honduras Will Fuel the Migrant Surge

Honduras will become a major contributing factor complicating Mexico's ongoing negotiations over immigration with the United States. The roots of that instability are the 2009 coup against former President Manuel Zelaya and a closely contested 2017 presidential election, compounded by drought and crop failure. Throughout May and June, Honduras' left-wing public sector health and education unions and Zelaya's Liberty and Refoundation Party (Libre) mounted extensive nationwide protests against President Juan Orlando Hernandez and his ruling National Party. The protesters are not trying to overthrow Hernandez, whose power bases, such as the army and police, remain loyal to him. Instead, Libre is trying to position itself as a viable contender for power in Honduras' November 2021 presidential election. Hernandez is an increasingly unpopular figure, with high-profile corruption cases and frequent blackouts in major cities such as Tegucigalpa, the capital, and San Pedro Sula diminishing his low approval rating.

Libre and its political allies are largely focused on pressuring the president and showing their strength through street demonstrations and roadblocks. The opposition can mount such protests for months at a time, though their intensity ebbs and flows. Numerous triggers for renewed left-wing protests exist, such as ongoing corruption scandals and often heavy-handed police tactics with protesters.

The White House could use rising or even steady migration driven by Honduran unrest to press Mexico to accept a "safe third country" agreement or else be slapped with tariffs.

Such demonstrations will disrupt the flow of goods, fuel and laborers between virtually all major cities in the country. Lengthy demonstrations will also hit key exports such as textiles and automotive wiring harnesses. Extensive disruptions to daily life will cause greater economic pain for the country's informal labor force, which accounts for around half of all laborers. The informal labor force depends on untaxed, largely menial labor and is largely employed in the service industry. Prolonged demonstrations will exacerbate the already-heavy incentives for informal laborers to leave the country. So as protests stifle economic activity, they will drive more migrants north.

The trend of rising migration is likely to develop in late 2019 and early 2020, just as Mexico is again trying to deflect the threat of tariffs from the United States. At their next meeting with White House officials, representatives of the Mexican government will likely tout achievements made in sealing the border and deploying a long-term security presence there, deterring more and more migrants. The White House meanwhile will likely make additional demands of Mexico, the most important of which will be that Mexico sign a "safe third country" agreement with the United States, which will designate Mexico a safe place for migrants seeking asylum and make it difficult for them to request asylum in the United States, and will likely threaten Mexico with tariffs again if it does not.

The Mexican government will try to delay agreeing to such a deal until after the November 2020 U.S. presidential election in case Trump loses and the subsequent president decouples trade policy with Mexico from the question of illegal immigration. But Mexico may not be able to delay making concessions to the United States until then if the pace of illegal border crossings swells too quickly.

Crafty_Dog

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Argentina leads in counterterrorism
« Reply #152 on: July 22, 2019, 12:29:10 PM »


Argentina: Latin America's New Leader in Counterterrorism
by Joseph M. Humire
The Gatestone Institute
July 17, 2019
https://www.meforum.org/58965/argentina-latin-americas-new-leader-in-counterterrorism