Last week in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, gang violence remained at high levels amid disputes between rival groups in Haiti and Mexico, while Indigenous communities were targeted by attacks in Mexico and Honduras. In Haiti, members of the Savien gang reportedly killed 15 people in Artibonite department, and inter-gang violence in Ouest left several reportedly dead, including a journalist. In Mexico, violence increased in Guanajuato state last week amid violent actions by the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel, while in Guerrero state, armed men reportedly killed three members of the Indigenous and Popular Council of Guerrero-Emiliano Zapata (CIPOG-EZ). In Honduras, police forces attacked members of the Garifuna Indigenous community during an eviction.
In Haiti, gang violence continued in Petite Riviere de l’Artibonite commune last week, with a deadly attack by members of the Savien gang that resulted in the reported deaths of 15 people. The Savien gang executed the victims after accusing them of selling smuggled goods to generate profits for the rival Baz Gran Grif de Savien gang (Radiographie, 9 November 2022). ACLED’s Emerging Actor Tracker flagged the Savien gang as an emerging actor 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, clashes involving rival gangs and police were reported in Archaie municipality and Port-au-Prince, amid attempts by the Base 5 Secondes gang and their allies to expand their areas of control in Ouest department. In Carabet district, Archaie, clashes between unidentified rival gangs reportedly left at least one gang member and two civilians dead. Residents reported that members of the Base 5 Secondes gang and the allied Canaan gang have already taken control of Lafiteau, Simonette, Titanyen, and Malingue cities in Archaie (Le Nouvelliste, 9 November 2022). These incidents follow the Base 5 Secondes gang’s attack against a flour mill near the Lafiteau port. Since September, ACLED records an increase in violence in Archaie municipality as gangs attempt to seize control of the Lafiteau port and its industrial area.
In Port-au-Prince, Base 5 Secondes gang and members of the Ti Makak gang attacked a police station, leading to clashes that lasted over two days. During the clashes, at least five gang members were reportedly killed. Civilians were also forced to leave the area as their houses were damaged during the attack. Additionally, gang members shot and reportedly killed a journalist in Tabarre district. According to local sources, the attack occurred during clashes between rival gangs, though other versions of the events suggest that gang members forced the journalist out of his house and killed him in a direct attack (Swiss Info, 9 November 2022). This is the third consecutive week that ACLED records the killing of journalists in Haiti.
In Mexico, members of the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel intensified their violent actions in Guanajuato state last week following the arrest of the cartel leader’s brother on 8 November for the alleged illegal possession of more than 60,000 US dollars (Proceso, 8 November 2022). A day after his arrest, cartel members set stores and vehicles on fire to block roads in at least seven municipalities, including Celaya. Armed men also carried out two separate attacks against police officers in Celaya municipality on 11 November, reportedly leaving one officer dead in Rincón Tamayo community and a gunman dead in Celaya city. Following these attacks, armed men carried out a further round of roadblocks in at least seven municipalities. In Celaya city, armed men reportedly killed a driver for refusing to surrender his vehicle. Meanwhile, in Apaseo el Grande municipality, Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel members broke into a bar and shot at a group of people, reportedly killing nine. The group left threatening messages at the scene against the rival Jalisco New Generation Cartel (Infobae, 10 November 2022). This attack comes after similar mass killings in bars perpetrated by Santa Rosa de Lima in recent months as part of their strategy to fight for the control of drug selling points in this state (Milenio, 10 November 2022).
Elsewhere in Guanajuato state, two unidentified suspects shot and reportedly killed a woman member of a local group of mothers searching for their disappeared children in Abasolo municipality. The Representative in Mexico for the office of the UN Commissioner for Human Rights Guillermo Fernández-Maldonado Castro condemned the killing and demanded the government provide security to relatives of disappeared people, who are often attacked for their involvement in investigations (Infobae, 9 November 2022). These trends contribute to the 114% increase in violent events in Guanajuato over the past week relative to the weekly average for the preceding month, as flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker.
In Guerrero state, unidentified armed men reportedly killed three members of the Indigenous organization CIPOG-EZ in Chilapa de Álvarez municipality. The attack came less than a month after survivors of violence met with President Andrés Manuel López-Obrador to demand more security and the arrest of members of the Los Ardillos gang, which the CIPOG-EZ blamed for last week’s attack (El Norte, 6 November 2022). Members of Indigenous communities in Guerrero have denounced attacks and extortion by Los Ardillos gang members and said that the group seeks to take control of their lands and force the communities to work for them (Infobae, 22 June 2022). In 2022, ACLED records a dozen attacks by the Los Ardillos gang against Indigenous communities in Guerrero, including the previous killing of two members of CIPOG-EZ in May.
In Honduras, police and military officers evicted members of the Garifuna Indigenous community last week following a judicial order for the alleged usurpation of lands in Bay Islands department (Proceso de Digital, 8 November 2022). During the eviction, officers destroyed houses and beat members of the community, injuring at least 15 Indigenous residents and arresting six others. Members of the Garifuna community denounced the attack as a violation of their rights over ancestral territories by the state, which they claim has sold their lands to private individuals to generate financial profits (Contra Corriente, 7 November 2022; La Prensa, 7 November 2022). Moreover, human rights organizations claimed that the judicial order for the eviction goes against a previous ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, in which the Honduran state was found guilty of human rights violations against this community (Expediente Público, 12 November 2022).
Elsewhere, gang members continued to carry out extortion-related attacks against taxi and bus drivers last week, including an attack against a Garifuna taxi driver in Cortés department. Such attacks contributed to the 77% 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.
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