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Security Brief: SOUTHCOM Week of February 21, 2022

Week of Monday, February 21, 2022 | Issue 60

Jhamil Moya, Stacey Casas, SOUTHCOM Team

ELN Guerrilla Member[1]

Date: February 23, 2022

Location: Colombia

Parties involved: The National Liberation Army (ELN); Colombian Army; Colombian Government; Colombian Police; Colombian society

The event: On Sunday, February 20, 2022, the National Liberation Army (ELN), announced an armed strike throughout Colombia that would begin at 0600 local time on Wednesday February 23, 2022, until 0600 local time on Saturday, February 26, 2022. The Colombian Minister of Defense, Diego Molano, stated that the security forces would prevent the rebel group from controlling the country, but several attacks have been perpetrated despite the authorities' efforts.[2] Legislative elections will be held in Colombia on March 13, 2022, with 49 municipalities at extreme risk of suffering additional violent acts by other armed groups after ELN attacks.[3]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The Colombian population will likely stage protests if the government is unable to stop ELN attacks and protect its citizens. The ELN will likely use violence against those protesting as a way to increase social instability and gain more influence in the country. If ELN influence increases, it is very likely that other rebel groups will become increasingly violent to counter ELN’s control in the region.

  • The ELN rebels are very likely to keep using violence like this armed attack until the March 13, 2022 Parliamentary elections for House Representatives. These terrorist attacks will likely reduce the credibility of the government among Colombian citizens and affect the results of the upcoming elections in Colombia, such as decrease voter turnout in regions affected by the attacks.

  • The Colombian government will almost certainly use this scale of violence by the ELN for political purposes to try to divert attention towards their political rivals, likely blaming the political divide in government as cause for the increase in violence. If so, democracy and political credibility will likely be seriously affected in the country.

  • It is very likely the cost of products will increase due to the risk of transporting merchandise from agricultural areas to cities. If this occurs, the Colombian economy will very likely be negatively affected by an increase in prices of basic products that come from the areas hit by the ELN.

Date: February 22, 2022

Location: Paraguay

Parties involved: Paraguayan Interior Minister Arnaldo Giuzzio; Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benítez; Marcus Espíndola Marqués, drug trafficker detained in Brazil; US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA); EU Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol)

The event: The President of Paraguay, Mario Abdo Benítez, dismissed the Paraguayan Interior Minister, Arnaldo Giuzzio, on February 22, 2022 after allegations were made about his contacts with Marcus Espíndola Marqués, an alleged drug trafficker detained in Brazil. The investigation was supported by the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and the EU Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol).[4] In February 2022, the members of the Paraguayan Parliament initiated a political trial against Arnaldo Giuzzio for incompetence.[5]

Analysis & Implications:

  • It is very likely that the firing of Giuzzio and possible political implications for the credibility of the current Paraguayan administration will receive international attention from the US DEA and Europol as his dismissal is related to an investigation conducted by these agencies. After Giuzzio’s interrogation is conducted, there will very likely be additional arrests of members of the Paraguayan government likely involved in this drug trafficking network. This will likely attract the attention of the US DEA as Giuzzio will likely give up those involved for a lighter sentence.

  • It is very likely that the link between Giuzzio and drug traffickers in Brazil will generate more social discontent among the Paraguayan population, very likely affecting the government's credibility, and likely raising political tension for the President and his cabinet. The corruption of Giuzzio, a member of the Paraguayan government, will very likely strengthen the left-wing opposition, as opposition members will likely utilize this scandal as a means for gaining more votes in the next election.

  • The economic and financial investments made by Giuzzio when he took office are likely to be audited for improper handling of State funds and corruption. Since he was responsible for the State Security and the Ministry budget, it is very likely several projects involving Giuzzio will end, likely resulting in economic damage to the Paraguayan State. ​​Additional programs receiving funding by Guizzo’s office will likely be frozen or reduced while investigations are being conducted. If this occurs, societal programs supporting human rights issues and citizen security will likely be directly affected, likely negatively impacting Paraguayan citizens the most.


[2] ELN rebels blow up bridge, injure eight in attacks across Colombia -government, Reuters, February 2022,

[3] En Colombia hay 49 municipios en riesgo extremo de que se presenten actos de violencia durante las próximas elecciones, aseguró la directora de la MOE, Infobae, February 2022, (translated by Jhamil Moya)

[4] Paraguayan interior minister fired for links to drug trafficking, UltimasNoticias, February 2022,

[5] Horas cruciales para definir sobre el pedido de juicio político del ministro Arnaldo Giuzzio, La Nación, February 2022, (translated by Jhamil Moya)



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