This is a source for analysis, interviews, and commentary on security in Latin America. Herein you will find rumors, the results of off the record interviews, and information you'll not find in international or United States news media.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Correa is not Chavez, Hostage Talks, and a new report

I’d like to announce that we’re working on part three of our ongoing series on organized crime in Mexico. Parts I and II are available on my website here. This time around we’ll focus on the pressure cracks that have begun to form between the organized criminal factions in Mexico that so far can be divided into four large groups. Two groups, specifically the Gulf Cartel and Sinaloa Federation, have begun to show some signs of stress.

Fractures due to ongoing pressure from the Calderon administration may manifest themselves into smaller drug trafficking organizations. These considerations as well as organizational charts and maps, and a discussion of the reasons why organized crime may team up with insurgents in Mexico will all be included in our upcoming report. I expect to publish it via my website by the end of November.

In other news, Ecuador has moved forward with a constituent assembly that with representatives from around the country will meet and debate the governing law of the country, to be enshrined in a new constitution. The president, Rafael Correa, holds a majority position in the assembly and is likely to push through progressive changes that, like in Bolivia, many Ecuadorians hope will grant more rights and status to the country’s poor and disenfranchised parts of society.

This policy, however, has proven unpopular with the right wing parties in Ecuador as well as international press that tends to lump Correa together with Bolivian president Evo Morales and Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. While all three are happy to hug and smile for the cameras, they are quite different. Correa is clearly not Chavez.

Meanwhile, Chavez continues to outpace change in Venezuela. His constant push to force Venezuela through the reformations necessary to mold Venezuela into his own vision of the ideal country has created a serious strain on institutional capacity there. Government offices are simply not well equipped to maintain the president’s rhetorical pace. As they fall behind, corruption and incompetence fill the gap. It seems that even with billions you can’t buy a revolution. Even Castro is telling Chavez to slow down and administer the administration.

Yet Chavez continues to push his agenda on the international stage. His current foray into Colombian affairs, trying to negotiate a humanitarian exchange between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the Uribe administration may create some positive outcome for FARC hostages, but it’s unlikely Uribe will budge on any peace agreement. Meanwhile, Chavez continues to lose precious time at home, where many Venezuelans have begun to openly question the direction of this “revolution”.

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