Last week in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, gangs reportedly killed senior security officers in Mexico and Haiti. In Mexico, armed groups carried out multiple attacks against journalists in Veracruz state. Tensions continued to increase on the Haitian-Dominican border. In Honduras, extortion-related attacks continued, while land conflicts intensified in Colón department. In Guatemala, violence against civilians remained high.
In Mexico, anti-gang operations conducted by security forces continued in Zacatecas state last week amid increasing gang violence. In Pinos municipality, National Guard members and state police clashed with criminal groups in four different communities. The state coordinator of the National Guard, who was leading the federal anti-gang plan Zacatecas II, was reportedly killed during the clashes in Jalcomate community, along with at least one other officer and a gang member. Meanwhile, gang violence continued in the Jerez municipality last week, where a clash between the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel reportedly left at least three people dead (Milenio, 25 November 2022). ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker warned of increased violence in Zacatecas during the preceding four weeks.
Elsewhere, in Veracruz state, targeted attacks against journalists by armed suspects contributed to the 193% increase in violent events in this state over the past week relative to the weekly average for the preceding month, as flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker. In Xalapa municipality, armed individuals reportedly killed a journalist while he was driving a taxi as his side job. Some reports suggest that the attack may have been related to a traffic incident, though investigations are ongoing (Infobae, 23 November 2022). In Cosamaloapan municipality, armed individuals kidnapped another journalist and searched his house; the victim was found unharmed three days later (Infobae, 23 November 2022). ACLED records more than 30 attacks targeting journalists in Mexico thus far in 2022, resulting in the reported deaths of at least 17 journalists. This figure surpasses the total number of attacks recorded in 2021.
In Haiti, unidentified gang members reportedly killed the director of the National Police Academy last week as he traveled in an official vehicle through the Petionville commune in Port-au-Prince. His killing comes just over a month after armed men killed the police commissioner for Croix-des-Bouquets district on 18 October. Gang violence continued in other areas of Port-au-Prince amid internal conflicts among members of the G-9 gang coalition. Notably, G-9 affiliates reportedly killed Ti Junior, the leader of the G-9-affiliated Nan Chabon gang, over control of dock and truck looting activities in the La Saline neighborhood (Rezo Nòdwes, 26 November 2022). Ti Junior had controlled La Saline, where the Nan Chabon gang perpetrated a massacre in 2018 that reportedly left at least 71 people dead (RNDDH, 23 June 2022).
Elsewhere, in Nord-Est department, ongoing demonstrations denouncing the recent deportation of thousands of Haitians from the Dominican Republic increased in Ouanaminthe last week. In the binational market of Ouanaminthe-Dajabón, Haitian demonstrators blocked the border gate between Haiti and the Dominican Republic for four consecutive days, throwing stones at the Dominican side on 24 November. Meanwhile, on the Dominican side, people demonstrated in support of the recent deportations and other migratory measures executed by the Dominican government and also blocked the border to prevent Dominican goods from going to Haiti. Local sources estimate that approximately 40,000 people have been deported in November by the Dominican government, including Dominican citizens of Haitian descent (Al Jazeera, 24 November 2022). This is the second consecutive week that demonstrations related to the deportation of Haitian migrants have been reported, and the second time that ACLED records demonstrators blocking the border between these two countries in the last month.
In Honduras, violence against civilians continued at high levels last week amid attacks by unidentified armed suspects that resulted in at least a dozen reported deaths. Extortion-related attacks continued in Francisco de Morazán, where gunmen killed a man for his alleged involvement in extortions. Such violence contributed to the 60% increase in average weekly violent events in Honduras 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. In response to the ongoing violence, President Xiomara Castro declared a nationwide state of emergency on 24 November, extending the power of the police to fight against extortion and drug trafficking (Euronews, 25 November 2022).
Meanwhile, in Colón department, farmers occupied African palm farms in Tocoa and Trujillo municipalities last week over ongoing land disputes in the area. In Tocoa, the occupiers also took around 300 workers hostage. In response to the occupation, palm company workers demonstrated and demanded that the government intervene, while rioters refused to leave, demanding a dialogue with authorities to solve their ownership claims over the lands (La Prensa, 24 November 2022). In the Bajo Aguán region – which includes Trujillo and Tocoa municipalities – there has been a decades-long conflict between peasants and private companies; peasants claim ownership over lands that were taken and sold by the state to private companies (HRW, 12 February 2022). The Honduran Council of Private Enterprises accused criminal groups of being behind the land occupation, claiming that criminal groups have invaded approximately 20,000 hectares of African palm (La Prensa, 21 November 2022).
In Guatemala, attacks against civilians by armed suspects remained high in several departments last week, with the majority of the events recorded in Guatemala department. Meanwhile, in Chimaltenango department, armed individuals on motorcycles reportedly killed four people in a single attack. According to local reports, violence has intensified in this department due to an ongoing conflict between the Barrio-18 gang and the Mara Salvatrucha (Prensa Libre, 20 November 2022). ACLED’s Conflict Change Map previously warned of increased violence in Guatemala during the past month.
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.