Last week in South America, Indigenous militias carried out several attacks in southern Chile against forestry companies, private property, and a Catholic church. In Colombia, the Gulf Clan clashed with state forces in the departments of Antioquia and Bolívar, resulting in at least eight deaths. In Suriname, citizens took to the streets for the second consecutive week to protest corruption, nepotism, and high inflation in the country. Finally, in Brazil, violence continued unabated in the Mato Grosso and Pará states, resulting in at least 17 deaths.
In Chile, the Coordination Arauco Malleco (CAM) Mapuche militia attacked several forestry sites last week. In the Biobío region, gunmen set fire to machinery and a truck belonging to a forestry company in Lautaro municipality, leaving behind a banner mentioning Pablo Marchant, an Indigenous militiaman killed in a clash with police in July 2021. Likewise, in the Araucanía region, the group claims responsibility for an arson attack on a forestry truck near the Los Sauces area. Meanwhile, other Indigenous militias claim responsibility for attacks on private property and a Catholic church in the southern regions. These trends contribute to the 33% increase in violence in Chile over the past week relative to the past month that is flagged by ACLED’s Conflict Change Map. The Mapuche people have claimed for decades that their territory has been illegally requisitioned by agriculture and forestry companies acting with state complicity (Reuters, 10 July 2021) (for more, see ACLED’s report on Understanding Indigenous Conflict in Chile).
In Colombia, state forces clashed with the Gulf Clan in the Antioquia department on multiple occasions last week. At least five Gulf Clan members were killed in a clash in Apartado municipality, near the border with Panamá, including the mastermind behind the Pistol Plan (Plan Pistola in Spanish), Enoc Valencia Córdoba (alias: Cherry) (El Espectador, 25 July 2022). The Gulf Clan also clashed with police officers in Yarumal, killing two police officers. In recent weeks, the group has targeted state forces as part of the Pistol Plan in retaliation for the extradition of their top commander, Dairo Antonio Úsuga David (alias: Otoniel), to the US on 4 May (El Colombiano, 12 July 2022). Violence in Antioquia is both common and highly volatile; it is considered an area of ‘extreme risk’ by ACLED’s Volatility and Risk Predictability Index. These trends contribute to the 170% increase in violence in Antioquia 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 Antioquia in the past month.
Similarly, the Gulf Clan clashed with anti-narcotics police officers in the south of Bolívar department last week, killing one officer and injuring six others. ACLED’s Subnational Threat & Surge Trackers first warned of increased violence to come in Bolívar in the past month. Violence in Bolivar is both common and highly volatile; it too is considered an area of ‘extreme risk’ by ACLED’s Volatility and Risk Predictability Index.
In Suriname, demonstrators took to the streets last week for the second consecutive week to demonstrate against corruption, nepotism, and high inflation, as well as to call for the resignation of President Chandrikapersad ‘Chan’ Santokhi. Leading civil organization Team Organic was joined in demonstrations by labor unions, political parties, teachers, and health workers. During the demonstrations, several outbreaks of violence were reported. In Brokopondo, rioters threw Molotov cocktails, set tires on fire, and destroyed civilian vehicles driving towards Paramaribo. Meanwhile, in Klaaskreek, demonstrators clashed with police. The demonstrations were fueled by a corruption scandal that came to light the week prior, in which individuals received a large sum of money from the Ministry of Finance and Planning through falsified payment orders (Caribbean Loop News, 18 July 2022). Amid the demonstrations, Team Organic set a list of demands and asked the government to grant at least two or three in order to open a national dialogue (Suriname Herald, 21 July 2022). Most of these demands focus on providing solutions to the high inflation in the country, nepotism, and corruption (Suriname Herald, 21 July 2022). Outbreaks of violence during demonstrations contributed to the 380% increase in violent events in Suriname over the past week, relative to the weekly average for the past month, that is flagged by ACLED’s Conflict Change Map.
Lastly, in Brazil, violent attacks against civilians and clashes between state forces and organized crime groups continued to drive political violence last week. In Mato Grosso, the Red Command (CV), the First Capital Command (PCC), and unidentified groups engaged in attacks on civilians and armed clashes, resulting in multiple fatalities. These trends contribute to the 300% increase in violence in Mato Grosso over the past week relative to the past month, as flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker. Likewise, violence continued unabated in Pará state last week. Several targeted attacks against civilians and armed clashes between organized crime groups and military police across the state resulted in at least 15 fatalities. Violence in Pará is both common and highly volatile; it is considered an area of ‘extreme risk’ by ACLED’s Volatility and Risk Predictability Index.
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