Last week in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, violence against civilians remained at heightened levels in Haiti, Mexico, Honduras, and Trinidad and Tobago. In Haiti, the kidnapping and murder of five members of the Base 47 organization by suspected police officers triggered demonstrations, during which a journalist was killed. Meanwhile, gang attacks and kidnappings increased in Ouest, Artibonite, and Nord departments. In Mexico, attacks against civilians increased in the northern states of Sinaloa and Sonora, while in Chihuahua, US border patrol dispersed a demonstration of Venezuelan migrants attempting to cross into the US. In Honduras, extortion-related attacks drove an increase in violence.
In Haiti, suspected police officers detained five members of the Base 47 organization on 29 October in Delmas district, Port au Prince, before allegedly executing them. Their bodies were found in Tabarre district on 31 October. While the reason for the attack is unknown, the victims had promoted an anti-government movement called Bwa Kale (Redzo Nòdwes, 7 November 2022). Some local sources have contested the allegation that police were involved in the killings, claiming the attack was perpetrated by an unidentified group posing as police, while representatives of the police have not yet given an official statement (Gazzette Haiti, 31 October 2022). Their apparent arrest triggered violent demonstrations in Port-au-Prince on 30 October, with rioters barricading roads and police beating participants. Police also beat and arrested a journalist covering the event. During a subsequent demonstration, journalists and Base 47 members burned tires outside a police station in Delmas 47, demanding the release of the Base 47 prisoners and the arrested journalist. Police deployed tear gas and live ammunition against the demonstrators and destroyed journalists’ equipment, reportedly killing a journalist and leaving five others injured. Last week was the second consecutive week that ACLED records attacks against journalists in Haiti; thus far in 2022, at least five journalists have been killed in targeted attacks, while two others have been killed by police while covering demonstrations.
Armed groups also carried multiple attacks targeting civilians last week, including attacks in Port-au-Price, Nord department, and Artibonite department. Armed suspects kidnapped several people in Port-au-Prince, including a former government minister and a bank official, while members of the I-14 gang kidnapped another person in Nord department. In Artibonite department, Baz Gran Grif de Savien gang members, along with allies from the Kokorat San Ras and Palmiste gangs, looted food warehouses and set several houses on fire, forcing residents to leave the area. There were also reports of gang members carrying out acts of sexual abuse during the attack (Le Nouvelliste, 4 November 2022). ACLED’s Emerging Actor Tracker flagged the I-14 and the Palmiste gangs as emerging actors over the past month in Haiti; the presence of emerging actors indicates a change in the conflict environment, with civilians often bearing the burden of such new activity.
Meanwhile, following security operations and clashes against members of the G-9 gang, police announced an end to the blockade of the Varreux oil terminal on 3 November (RFI, 4 November 2022). Access to the terminal had been obstructed by G-9 since September. Separately, on 4 November, the US and Canadian governments announced sanctions against President of the Senate Joseph Lambert and former President of the Chamber Youri Latortue for allegedly providing support to gangs (DW, 4 November 2022).
In Mexico, violence increased last week in the northwest of the country as armed suspects and gang members attacked civilians in Sinaloa and Sonora states. In Sonora, more than a dozen people were reportedly killed in targeted attacks, which security experts have attributed to ongoing turf wars between criminal organizations (La Silla Rota, 3 November 2022). In October, ACLED records a spike in armed clashes in Sonora, most of which involved rival gangs. Similarly, in Sinaloa, attacks by armed suspects contribute to the 186% increase in violent events in this state last week relative to the weekly average for the preceding month flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker, which also warned of increased violence in Sinaloa during the preceding four weeks. In both Sinaloa and Sonora, the Caborca Cartel and different factions of the Sinaloa Cartel fight for control of drug and human trafficking routes (El País, 16 July 2022).
In the neighboring state of Chihuahua, US border patrol officers intervened in a demonstration along the US border by migrants from Venezuela demanding entry into the US. US border patrol officers fired rubber bullets at demonstrators who attempted to cross the Rio Bravo into the US, claiming some of the migrants that reached the US border had assaulted border personnel (The Washington Times, 1 November 2022). Since 12 October, when the US government announced new border restrictions and more than 1,000 Venezuelans were expelled to Mexico, migrants have set up camps in Ciudad Juárez seeking permission to enter the US (BBC, 4 November 2022; Los Angeles Times, 22 October 2022). Last week, Venezuelan migrants also protested in Chiapas in the south of Mexico against the new US migration measures and started a caravan to the northern border of the country.
Last week in Honduras, gang attacks drove an increase in violence, particularly in Francisco Morazán and Cortés departments. In San Pedro Sula city, a drive-by attack by members of the Barrio 18 gang resulted in the reported deaths of four people, while Mara Salvatrucha members kidnapped a man in a separate attack. Meanwhile, extortion-related attacks by gang members reportedly left three taxi drivers dead. This violence contributed to the 26% increase in violent events in Honduras last week relative to the weekly average for the preceding month. ACLED’s Conflict Change Map also warned of increased violence in the country during the preceding four weeks. Authorities have recently recognized an increase in reports of extortion, with local experts claiming gang extortion is causing community displacement in urban areas (Radio America, 3 November 2022; El Proceso Digital, 22 October 2022).
In Trinidad and Tobago, attacks against civilians by gunmen resulted in at least six reported fatalities last week, contributing to the 71% increase in average weekly violent events in Trinidad and Tobago in the past month relative to the weekly average for the preceding year. ACLED’s Conflict Change Map also warned of increased violence in the country during the preceding four weeks. The majority of attacks occurred in Tunapuna-Piarco region, where local sources have reported ongoing feuds between gangs (Trinidad and Tobago Guardian, 11 September 2022).
Note: This dashboard automatically updates to cover the latest four weeks of data released by ACLED. Use the date filters to view data for the one-week period covered by this Regional Overview.