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February 1-7, 2024 | Issue 5 - NORTHCOM and SOUTHCOM

Giorgia Cito, Hae Lim Park, Kiara Alexander

Christina Valdez, Editor; Alya Fathia Fitri, Senior Editor


Date: February 1, 2024

Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Parties involved: Argentine government; Argentina police forces; Argentinian corporations; Argentina protesters; Argentina journalists; Left and Workers' Front (FIT) advisor, Alejandro Vilca; the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) South America Regional Office

The event: Clashes between police forces and protesters occurred outside of the Argentine Congress.[2] The protesters were demonstrating against the Omnibus Law, a comprehensive measure aimed at radical reform of the state and economy, including delegating legislative powers to the executive, reforming the state, and privatizing public companies.[3] The police intervened to comply with the anti-poaching protocol prohibiting road traffic disruption.[4] The situation escalated with police using rubber bullets and tear gas, resulting in several injuries, including Vilca and more than 20 journalists.[5] 

Analysis & Implications: 

  • The enforcement of the Omnibus Law is likely exacerbating socio-political tensions within Argentina. The government's push for rapid and comprehensive reforms will likely alienate significant portions of the population, as there is a roughly even chance that the law will disproportionately benefit large corporations and the wealthy, likely negatively impact the working class and the vulnerable. This alienation will likely lead to prolonged unrest and protests, challenging governance and likely leading to a cycle of political retaliation and further polarization.

  • The contentious nature of the Omnibus Law and the subsequent law enforcement response to protests will likely impact civil society and public discourse in Argentina. The polarization will likely hinder constructive dialogue between the government, opposition, and civil society, likely challenging consensus on future reforms. The situation will very likely affect the credibility of the media, law enforcement, and the legislative body, almost certainly further complicating efforts to address the country's pressing economic and social issues.

  • Members of the international community, such as the OHCHR South America Regional Office, will likely monitor law enforcement response to protests to ensure the upholding of human rights and democratic principles, including the right to gather peacefully and freedom of expression. These bodies will likely criticize or condemn the law enforcement's use of force on protesters, likely pressuring the government to implement effective measures to address the issue. There is a roughly even chance that the international community will be hesitant to establish diplomatic relations or engage in trade if Argentina doesn't uphold human rights standards, likely impacting Argentina's global reputation and foreign relations.

Date: February 3, 2024

Location: Near Guanajuato, Mexico

Parties involved: Mexico; Mexican government; Mexican Army; Mexican National Guard; Mexican cartels; Sinaloa Cártel; Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG); Brazil; Brazilian cartel; Italy; Italian cartels; Ecuador; Colombia; US; Europe; Asia

The event: The National Guard and the Mexican Army intercepted a drug shipment of nopales hidden in a truck passing through Guanajuato, seizing 664 packages suspected of containing illicit drugs for further investigation. The packages contained narcotics with characteristics similar to cocaine and methamphetamines. The operation highlights the various techniques Mexican cartels use to hide and transport drugs to the US, Europe, and Asia. Ecuador’s banana industry is widely known for its international smuggling of illicit drugs through banana cargo coming from Ecuador through the Panama Canal.[6] In 2023, the banana industry exported 7.2 million metric tons, accounting for 30% of the international market, mainly via the port of Guayaquil and the Panama Canal, making it an attractive target for the Mexican, Brazilian, and Italian cartels.[7] 

Analysis & Implications:

  • The inventive smuggling methods used by cartels will likely prompt a review of inspection protocols and procedures regarding agricultural shipments in Mexico. Authorities will likely enhance their scrutiny of similar cargo to prevent future smuggling attempts, likely conducting more thorough inspections and imposing more stringent penalties on those caught attempting to smuggle illegal substances. There is a roughly even chance the cartels will adopt new approaches and strategies to bypass regulations, likely taking advantage of Ecuador’s internal crisis to transport narcotics worldwide. The crisis in Ecuador will likely facilitate Mexican cartels, mainly the Sinaloa Cártel and CJNG, in increasing their presence and activities within the country, very likely favoring them to take over the drug trade and smuggling from Ecuador to the US, Europe, and Asia.

  • There is a roughly even chance that the Mexican government will enhance international cooperation and judicial assistance agreements with Colombia and Ecuador to overcome legal and bureaucratic barriers that undermine effective action against drug smuggling. This improved cooperation will likely facilitate agencies in their efforts to anticipate and intercept drug shipments before they cross national borders. Colombia and Ecuador will likely bolster border control collaboration, likely targeting key entry points notorious for drug smuggling through coordinated patrolling of border areas.


[2] Argentina: scontri polizia-manifestanti, intervento deputati, Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata, February 2024, (translated by Giorgia Cito)

[3] Decisa pausa nel dibattito sulla legge Omnibus in Argentina, Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata, February 2024, (translated by Giorgia Cito)

[4] Argentina: scontri polizia-manifestanti, intervento deputati, Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata, February 2024, (translated by Giorgia Cito)

[5] Insultaron y agredieron a varios legisladores a la salida de la Cámara de Diputados, Infobae, February 2024, (translated by Google)

[6] Guardia Nacional descubre cargamento de droga escondido en camión que transportaba nopales por Guanajuato, Infobae, February 2024, (translated by Google)

[7] Así es la industria de Ecuador que se disputan cárteles mexicanos, italianos y brasileños, Infobae, January 2024, (translated by Google)



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