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Security Brief: SOUTHCOM Week of April 3, 2022

Updated: Apr 11

April 3 - 6, 2022 | Issue 2

Jhamil Moya, Daniel Ruiz, Stacey Casas, SOUTHCOM Team

Hannah Norton, Editor; Demetrios Giannakaris Senior Editor


Venezuelan and Colombian border[1]


Date: April 5, 2022

Location: Apure, Venezuela

Parties involved: Venezuelan government; Venezuelan authorities; Venezuelan refugees; National Bolivarian Armed Forces of Venezuela (FANB); The Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) dissidents; National Liberation Army (ELN); Colombian government; International Rescue Committee (IRC)

The event: On Monday, April 4,[m][n][o] 2022, Venezuelan authorities deactivated explosive devices in the western state of Apure, allegedly placed by Colombian terrorist groups.[p][q] Officials also reported that sacks of “shrapnel gunpowder” were located on the main road of the Paez municipality. On April 1, authorities deactivated a dozen explosive devices in Apure attributed to the same irregular groups.[2] Clashes between FANB [r][s]and Colombian rebel groups such as FARC dissidents and ELN rebels have been ongoing since March 2021.[3]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The use of explosives on the Colombian-Venezuelan border by alleged Colombian narco-terrorists will almost certainly distance the security forces of both countries from areas of operation and cocaine transport. Venezuelan security forces will not likely enter those areas without technology and personnel trained to disarm these explosives. This will very likely result in an increase in the production and trafficking of cocaine in the region.

  • Rebel groups operating in the area will likely endanger the lives of citizens fleeing the area, likely through direct attacks or explosive devices hidden along busy roads meant to target FANB. It is unlikely that assistance from humanitarian organizations such as the IRC will be able to keep up with the rising number of Venezuelan refugees in Colombia. Humanitarian support for Venezuelan refugees will likely increase resentment and xenophobia among the Colombian population, who likely view refugees as competition in the job market. Available resources will likely become strained by the increase in refugees, likely fueling resentment from Colombians.

  • The lack of diplomatic relations and cooperation between Venezuela and Colombia likely hinders counterterrorism efforts and very likely facilitates narco-terrorist border operations. These groups will likely continue to increase their illegal operations in the region if diplomatic relations and military cooperation between the two countries are not reestablished. The rise of illegal operations in the region is likely to financially strengthen these groups while weakening the State's presence and diminishing border security.

Date: April 5, 2022

Location: Lima, Peru

Parties involved: Peruvian President Pedro Castillo; Peruvian Congress; Peruvian Government; Peruvian citizens; Protesters in Lima;

The event: On Tuesday, April 5, 2022, the Peruvian government decided to lift the curfew imposed on Tuesday morning due to protests in Lima.[4] The curfew was declared to contain the protests generated by rising fuel and fertilizer costs, leaving four people dead.[5]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Protests will likely continue despite lifting the curfew as demonstrators are likely to seek the resignation of President Castillo. If the protests continue, casualties will likely increase in the coming days. An increase in protests and casualties will very likely cause further deterioration of stability throughout the country as the security conditions and citizens' confidence in the government will likely worsen.

  • A rise in inflation will almost certainly reduce the Peruvian population’s access to goods and services. This reduced access will almost certainly lead to higher poverty levels, likely causing further violence, protests, and strikes, likely causing businesses to suspend operations. A decline in economic activity will likely cause further discontent with the Peruvian government. If Castillo’s popularity continues to decline due to economic mismanagement, civil unrest will likely increase with citizens calling for political and economic reforms.


 

The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)


[1] "File:Mapa de la frontera Colombia-Venezuela.svg" by Shadowxfox is marked with CC BY-SA 3.0.

[2] Autoridades venezolanas desactivan explosivos en frontera con Colombia, SWI, April 2022, https://www.swissinfo.ch/spa/venezuela-explosivos_autoridades-venezolanas-desactivan-explosivos-en-frontera-con-colombia/47491770 (translated by Stacey Casas)

[3] FAQ on Recent Borderland Violence in Apure11 min read, Venezuelan Politics and Human Rights, June 2021, https://www.venezuelablog.org/faq-on-recent-borderland-violence-in-apure/

[4] Peru's Castillo lifts Lima curfew after widespread defiance, anger, Reuters, April 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/peru-pm-says-lockdown-could-spread-beyond-capital-curb-fuel-protests-2022-04-05/

[5] Peru suspends Lima curfew, DW, April 2022, https://www.dw.com/en/peru-suspends-lima-curfew/a-61360898

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