Last week in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, worsening gang violence drove overall increases in violence in Haiti, Mexico, Honduras, and Jamaica. In Haiti, violence spiked last week amid clashes between the rival G-9 and G-Pep gang alliances in Port-au-Prince. In Mexico, the Los Alemanes Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) clashed in San Luis Potosí state, while violence also increased in Ciudad de Mexico and Chiapas state. In Honduras, members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) killed the son of former President Porfirio Lobos. In Jamaica, gang violence increased last week in Kingston parish. Meanwhile, in Panama, demonstrations against increasing fuel prices and the high cost of living continued. In Cuba, blackouts and the lack of public services drove demonstrations in three provinces.
In Haiti, the G-9 and the G-Pep gang alliances engaged in multiple days of clashes in Cité de Soleil district in Port au Prince, Ouest department, last week. At least 89 people were killed in the clashes, including civilians, while humanitarian organizations reported that gangs blocked access to the area, hindering medical assistance to the injured (Reliefweb, 13 July 2022). Amid the clashes, there were also reports of gang attacks targeting civilians. The clashes followed an incursion by the G-9 gang against the leader of the G-Pep, Ti Gabriel, who controls most of the neighborhoods of Cité Soleil (Rezo Nòdwes, 13 July 2022). According to local organizations, the G-9 used state-owned machinery to destroy hundreds of houses as part of their offensive (RNDDH, 13 July 2022). The G-9 controls the center of Port-au-Prince and several surrounding districts and allegedly has ties with the government (Rezo Nòdwes, 3 September 2021). The G-9 is seeking to counter the increasing power of the rival gang alliance, G-Pep, which opposes the government and has expanded its control in the northeast areas of Port-au-Prince (InSight Crime, 18 July 2022). These trends contribute to the 56% increase in violence in Haiti over the past week relative to the past month that is flagged by ACLED’s Conflict Change Map.
Meanwhile, residents and taxi drivers staged demonstrations in Ouest, Sud, and Artibonite departments last week against insecurity and fuel shortages. Demonstrations turned destructive in Ouest department, where people erected flaming barricades in the city center and in the districts of Delmas, Petionville, and Tabarre.
In Mexico, clashes between rival criminal groups continued last week in San Luis Potosí state. The majority of clashes occurred in San Luis Potosí City, where a clash between rival gangs left one dead, while in a separate clash between members of the Los Alemanes Cartel and the CJNG, two people were injured. The Los Alemanes Cartel is an ally of the Gulf Cartel, which is competing with the CJNG for control of drug markets and drug trafficking routes in the capital and the south of the state (Infobae, 1 July 2022). These clashes contribute to the 133% increase in violence in San Luis Potosí last week relative to the past month flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker, which first warned of increased violence to come in the state in the past month.
Elsewhere, clashes between criminal groups and law enforcement resulted in a 150% increase in violence in Ciudad de Mexico over the past week relative to the past month, as flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker. In the district of Tlalpan, state police officers clashed with members of the Los Chapitos gang — a branch of the Sinaloa Cartel — and arrested 14 gang members. According to security experts, the Los Chapitos gang controls the drug markets in Tlalpan district and has been seeking to expand its control in the districts of Benito Juárez and Coyoacán, strongholds of the La Unión Tepito gang (Infobae, 13 July 2022). Meanwhile, gang violence continued in Venustiano Carranza district, where members of an unidentified gang carried out a drive-by shooting against members of the La Union Tepito gang.
In Chiapas, attacks by gunmen left three civilians dead last week, including a former candidate for local deputy in Pueblo Nuevo Solistahuacan municipality. Meanwhile, a group of migrants clashed with merchants at a local market in Tapachula municipality over the use of public spaces in the market. Tapachula has become one of the main gates for migrants to enter Mexico from Guatemala; in 2021, more than 35,000 migrants arrived in Tapachula, with many remaining in the city as they wait to legalize their migration status and continue their way to the US border (El País, 12 September 2021). These trends contribute to the 100% increase in violence in Chiapas last week relative to the past month flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker, which first warned of increased violence to come in the state in the past month.
In Honduras, members of the MS-13 gang, posing as police officers, attacked a group of people outside a nightclub in Tegucigalpa last week. During the attack, gang members forced three men out of a vehicle and executed them; one of the victims was the son of former President Lobos. The bodyguard of one of the victims responded to the attack, leading to a clash in which one gang member and the bodyguard were killed. Though the motivations behind the attack are unknown, representatives of the government claim that criminal organizations are seeking to undermine confidence in the government (El Pulso, 14 July 2022). During his time in office, former President Lobos was accused of being involved in corruption schemes; currently, one of his sons is incarcerated in the US on drug trafficking charges, while his wife is under arrest in Honduras for corruption (BBC, 15 July 2022).
Additionally, gang violence intensified in Cortés department, driven by extortion-related attacks, while an attack in Puerto Cortés left four men dead. Such violence led to the 102% increase in violence in Cortés in the past month relative to the past year flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Threat Tracker, which first warned of increased violence to come in the department in the past month.
In Jamaica, violence remained at high levels last week amid multiple attacks by gunmen against civilians. The majority of these attacks were recorded in Kingston parish, contributing to the 167% increase in violence in this parish over the past week relative to the past month, as flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker. Gang attacks targeting civilians resulted in four dead, while a clash between rival gangs left one person dead and six others injured. Elsewhere, in Westmoreland parish, unidentified armed men killed the owner of a mechanical workshop. While violence in Westmoreland has not been common, it has become increasingly volatile, resulting in a shift from a place of ‘low risk’ to being considered an area of ‘growing risk’ by ACLED’s Volatility and Risk Predictability Index.
In Panama, for the second consecutive week, workers from different labor sectors and Indigenous communities demonstrated against the high prices of fuel and food across the country last week. Demonstrators blocked roads in all of the country’s 10 provinces and in one of the six Indigenous districts. Though the majority of demonstrations were peaceful, demonstrations in Panama City, Panamá Oeste province, and Veraguas province turned violent, with rioters barricading roads and clashing with police officers. These trends contribute to the 540% increase in violence in Panama over the past week relative to the past month that is flagged by ACLED’s Conflict Change Map. Amid the demonstrations, President Laurentino Cortizo announced a reduction of 23.5% in the price of fuel, as well as other price reductions for some basic goods (Swissinfo, 11 July 2022). However, leaders of labor unions claim that demonstrations will continue and refuse to negotiate with the government, accusing it of mismanagement and corruption (France 24, 16 July 2022).
In Cuba, people demonstrated on 14 July against constant power outages in La Habana, Pinar del Rio, and Santiago de Cuba provinces. In Los Palacios, Pinar del Rio, thousands of residents gathered and chanted anti-government slogans (La Razón, 15 July 2022); in La Habana, police forces dispersed a demonstration. Reports suggest that internet services may have been suspended in areas in which demonstrations were reported (ABC International, 15 July 2022). Activists also report acts of intimidation by state forces who surrounded their houses to prevent gatherings or actions commemorating the one-year anniversary of the 11 July anti-government demonstrations (Cibercuba, 9 July 2022). In La Habana, police forces arrested a journalist and the leader of Ladies in White on 9 and 10 July, respectively.
Note: This dashboard automatically updates to cover the most recent data release. Use the date filters to view data for the period covered by this regional overview if necessary.