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Security Brief: SOUTHCOM, Week of March 14, 2022

Week of Monday, March 14, 2022 | Issue 63

Daniel Ruiz, Stacey Casas, Jhamil Moya, SOUTHCOM Team

Justin Maurina, Editor; Jennifer Loy, Chief of Staff




"Resistance is not terrorism" The Mapuche fight in Chile[1]



Date: March 15, 2022

Location: La Araucania, Chile

Parties involved: Committee of the Minister of the Interior and Public Security; Chilean Minister of the Interior- Izkia Siches; Mapuche Community; Chilean President Gabriel Boric

The event: The Committee of the Minister of the Interior and Public Security of Chile was attacked in the Araucania Region by gunshots in the air, barricades, and warning messages when Izkia Siches visited the Temucuicui Mapuche community for the first time.[2] In February, the Chilean Parliament approved a 15-day extension on the militarization of an area involving a territorial conflict between the State and Mapuche communities. The “Mapuche conflict”, which pits the indigenous group against the State, is based on Mapuche’s claims that their inhabited lands are being taken over by large agricultural and forestry companies.[3] During Chilean President Gabriel Boric’s presidential campaign, he visited the Mapuche’s ancestral lands and stated that there must be talks to restore the Mapuche Nation’s territory.[4]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Violent members among Mapuche groups in the conflict zone are likely taking the Minister of the Interior and Security visit as a direct governmental provocation. The Mapuche community’s dispute with Chilean authorities very likely relates to the government and private consortiums that seek to occupy Mapuche territories. If the Chilean government continues sending public officials to Mapuche areas, violence will likely escalate after this first warning message. Increasing violence will very likely mean that future attacks will be more direct and lethal as the Mapuche communities will almost certainly continue fighting for rights to their land.

  • A younger and more educated generation of Mapuches will likely protest for equality and social justice for indigenous populations. As more Chileans begin speaking out for the political rights of indigenous people, citizens will very likely begin turning on the current administration. Until President Boric takes action to address Mapuche’s claims to their lands, social unrest will very likely escalate and cause increased tension between the government and the citizens.


Date: March 16, 2022

Location: Bogota, Colombia

Parties involved: Colombia; Ireland; Colombian President, Iván Duque; Colombian Minister of Defense Diego Molano; Director of the Colombian Police General Jorge Luis Vargas; Irish Deputy Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar

The event: On March 16, 2022, the governments of Colombia and Ireland signed an agreement between their police authorities to strengthen security and defense ties, as well as other matters including education, cooperation, and tourism.[5] These agreements are in addition to the investments, trades, and overall support for the Colombian peace process treaties that both countries signed last year.[6]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The agreements between the Irish and Colombian governments will very likely strengthen both police forces via increased training, police courses, technology transfers, and intelligence sharing. Better capabilities of the Colombian and Irish Police Forces will likely improve security conditions in their respective countries, likely leading neighboring countries to make police cooperation agreements to improve security conditions.

  • Reduced crime resulting from the two countries’ agreements will likely improve the feelings of safety for Colombian and Irish citizens. Increased security will likely also increase public confidence in the police, which will likely translate into greater cooperation between citizens and police officers. As public confidence increases in local authorities, citizens will likely be more cooperative with investigations regarding crimes in their neighborhoods.

  • If joint efforts by Colombia and Ireland successfully reduce organized crime and drug trafficking, both countries will likely see economic improvements in increased business investments and tourism. If criminal activity declines, financial risk in Colombia and Ireland will very likely decline. Reduced financial risk in both countries will likely lead to more entrepreneurs investing in Colombia and Ireland, causing an increase in foreign investment.


Date: March 16, 2022

Location: Lago Agrio, Sucumbios, Ecuador

Parties involved: Ecuadorian Army Colonel, Milton Rodriguez; Juan Hernando Hurtado, alias El Paisa; Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) dissidents; Ecuadorian Armed Forces; Colombian Armed Forces

The event: The joint work of Ecuadorian and Colombian intelligence teams led to the capture of Colombian criminal Juan Hernando Hurtado, alias El Paisa. Hurtado is considered the fourth leader of the Carlos Patiño FARC dissidents. Hurtado’s arrest took place in the Lago Agrio Area of the Sucumbios Province.[7]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The capture of Juan Hernando Hurtado will likely only temporarily hinder FARC’s illegal activities in the country. The Colombian government's actions to combat drug trafficking will likely disrupt FARC operations along the Colombian-Ecuadorian border. Hurtado’s arrest will likely cause specific individuals to seek control of the armed group via violent internal disputes, which will likely spill over to public areas where these members frequent. These confrontations will very likely injure civilians caught in the path of this violence.

  • Hurtado’s capture will likely cause more joint Colombian and Ecuadorian intelligence operations. More joint operations will likely improve security conditions at the border and enable greater territorial control for both countries. Joint military operations will likely increase FARC casualties and border arrests, leading to other FARC groups relocating to other regions of Ecuador and Colombia to avoid detection. FARC operations moving to other areas will very likely increase violence and citizen unrest in these areas.

  • The improvement of the security conditions at the Colombian-Ecuadorian border will likely decrease internal displacement in the area. Reduced border violence will likely contribute to an improvement in the socio-economic conditions of citizens. If Colombian and Ecuadorian forces gain control of the territory by reducing violence, both governments will likely continue working together by implementing joint infrastructure and development projects along the border.


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[1]54 Tagen Hungerstreik” by Edgardo Gómez licensed under Attribution 2.0-NonCommercial Generic (CC BY 2.0)

[2] Recibida con disparos al aire la nueva ministra de Interior chilena en la zona roja del conflicto mapuche, El País, March 2022, https://elpais.com/internacional/2022-03-15/recibida-con-disparos-al-aire-la-nueva-minista-de-interior-chilena-en-la-zona-roja-del-conflicto-mapuche.html (translated by Jhamil Moya)

[3] Chile extiende nuevamente la militarización de la zona del conflicto mapuche, SWI, February 2022, https://www.swissinfo.ch/spa/chile-violencia_chile-extiende-nuevamente-la-militarizaci%C3%B3n-de-la-zona-del-conflicto-mapuche/47374000 (translated by Jhamil Moya)

[4] Can Boric’s government end Chile’s Mapuche conflict?, red pepper, February 2022, https://www.redpepper.org.uk/can-borics-government-end-chiles-mapuche-conflict/

[5] Colombia e Irlanda firman entendimientos en cooperación policial y seguridad, Infobae, March 2022, https://www.infobae.com/america/agencias/2022/03/16/colombia-e-irlanda-firman-entendimientos-en-cooperacion-policial-y-seguridad/ (translated by Daniel Ruiz)

[6] I“Hay que diversificar los productos que se envían desde Colombia a Irlanda”, La República, March 2021, https://www.larepublica.co/globoeconomia/hay-que-diversificar-los-productos-que-se-envian-desde-colombia-a-irlanda-3141480 (translated by Daniel Ruiz)

[7] Ecuador y Colombia capturan a cabecilla disidente de las FARC, Diálogo Revista Militar Digital, March 2022, https://dialogo-americas.com/es/articles/ecuador-y-colombia-capturan-a-cabecilla-disidente-de-las-farc/ (translated by Daniel Ruiz)

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