May 5 - 11, 2022| Issue 7 - SOUTHCOM
Stacey Casas, Jhamil Moya, Daniel Ruiz, SOUTHCOM Team
Carlos Hochberger, Editor; Jennifer Loy, Chief of Staff
Colombian citizens against violence in Colombia
Date: May 8, 2022
Parties involved: Colombian government; Colombian Ministry of Defense; USA; Gulf Clan; Dairo Antonio Usuga ‘Otoniel’; Afranio Manuel Reyes Martinez 'Pedro'
The event: At least six people were killed and 180 vehicles burned due to the declaration of an "armed strike" by the Gulf Clan. The armed strike began last Thursday, May 5 and will last until Tuesday May 10. In the midst of the armed strike Pedro, second in command of the Gulf Clan in the Magdalena region, was arrested. The armed strike is an act of retaliation against Colombian authorities for the extradition to the United States of their former leader, Dairo Antonio Usuga, better known as Otoniel.
Analysis & Implications:
Gulf Clan members will likely continue conducting terrorist acts against police and military deployed in 11 departments affected by the armed strike to dissuade the government from carrying out more arrests and extraditions, likely resulting in an increase in fatalities. If terrorist activities cause more violence, it is likely that more members of the security forces will mobilize to the region and seek to neutralize high-value Gulf Clan targets such as alias ‘Siopas’ and alias ‘Chiquito malo’ to regain regions where the clan has a presence. The local population will very likely have to reduce their movement between towns and municipalities due to fighting and attacks, limiting their economic and commercial activities, likely affecting their quality of life.
It is very likely the US will also demand the extradition of Pedro, resulting in a new armed strike in Colombia or aggravating the existing one. An increase in violence will likely imply a severe erosion of democracy and the rule of law if the political authority concedes or negotiates in the face of acts of terrorism. An increase of violence will very likely imply a severe erosion of democracy and stability, The violence of the Gulf Clan is likely to increase its intensity if cooperation between US and Colombian authorities continues, which will almost certainly increase the number of terrorist attacks in the region. The inability of the government to respond to terrorist attacks effectively will likely facilitate new terrorist activities throughout Colombia. This will almost certainly have a negative impact on local populations affected, likely increasing displacement and social instability among the population. If social instability increases, citizens will likely lose confidence in state institutions and their ability to provide security, likely reducing citizen cooperation with authorities and further hindering the government's ability to effectively combat criminal groups like the Gulf Clan.
Date: May 9, 2022
Location: Latin America
Parties involved: Puebla Group; Caribbean Community (CARICOM); US; Summit of the Americas; Latin America; Cuba; Venezuela; Nicaragua; Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda Ronald Sanders
The event: The Puebla Group, which is a political and academic forum made up of representatives of the Latin American political left, have expressed their support to Caricom's petition not to be sidelined from the upcoming Summit of the Americas to be held in Los Angeles in June. Last week the ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda in the United States, Ronald Sanders, revealed that Caricom would consider absenting themselves from the Summit of the Americas if Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua do not participate.
Analysis & Implications:
The Puebla Group will likely seek to continue its campaign to prevent the exclusion of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua from the summit since those countries share strong economic and political ties with the countries that integrate Caricom. The Puebla group will also likely continue to promote its leftist political agenda to influence other countries in the region to implement policies more in line with the Puebla Group's postulates, such as policies aimed at achieving greater social inclusion. Given the importance of social inclusion by members of The Puebla Group, it is unlikely that decisions concerning economic development will be enforced throughout the region without Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua being included in the conversation.
If the upcoming Summit of the Americas does not include all Latin American countries then it will very likely be ineffective in achieving its purpose to promote region-wide cooperation. Instead, this will likely strengthen the legitimacy of the government in both Venezuela and Cuba in Latin America, likely hindering any future region-wide cooperation if the US continues to exclude these countries from discussions. This will almost certainly hinder US political relations with Latin America and the Summit of Americas ability to promote economic growth and prosperity throughout the Americas, likely paving the way for other regional international players, such as China to gain additional influence in Latin America.
________________________________________________________________________ The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)
 Al menos 6 muertos y 180 vehículos atacados deja "paro armado" en Colombia, Swiss Info, May 2022, https://www.swissinfo.ch/spa/colombia-violencia_al-menos-6-muertos-y-180-veh%C3%ADculos-atacados-deja--paro-armado--en-colombia/47577342 (translated by Daniel Ruiz)
 Puebla Group supports Caricom-sponsored boycott to Summit of the Americas, MercoPress, May 2022, https://en.mercopress.com/2022/05/09/puebla-group-supports-caricom-sponsored-boycott-to-summit-of-the-americas