ACLED Regional Presentation – Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean (June 11 – 17, 2022) – Mexico


Last week in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, gang warfare escalated in Mexico, Haiti and Jamaica, while violence against civilians increased in Puerto Rico. In Mexico, conflicts between criminal groups led to the murder of six chicken farm workers in the state of Guerrero and led to an increase in attacks on civilians in the states of Chihuahua and San Luis Potosí. In Haiti, members of the Base 5 Seconds gang destroyed investigative files and other court documents during a takeover of a courthouse in Port-au-Prince. In Jamaica, gang violence in St. Catherine’s Parish has increased amid internal conflict between members of the One Order gang. In Honduras, unidentified suspects shot and killed a representative of the LGBT+ community.

In Mexico, violence increased in the state of Guerrero last week compared to the previous week amid gang attacks on civilians and clashes between the People’s Union vigilante group and organizations of Guerrero (UPOEG) and criminal groups. In the municipality of Chilpancingo, members of the Los Ardillos gang attacked a chicken farm in Petaquillas, killing six and injuring two. Following this attack, food distributors closed their businesses for three days for fear of further attacks by criminal groups (Milenio, June 18, 2022). The attack comes after a truce between the Los Ardillos and Los Tlacos gangs broke down in late May. These gangs are vying for control of extortions from local food producers and drug trafficking routes that connect to the port of Acapulco (Infobae, June 20, 2022). Meanwhile, in the municipality of Tecoanapa, violence also increased when UPOEG clashed with criminal groups before attacking a police station. UPOEG, one of several self-defense groups fighting against criminal groups in Guerrero, was accused of being involved in drug trafficking (El País, October 23, 2021).

In the state of Chihuahua, dozens of civilians have been killed in separate attacks by gang members, including an attack in the municipality of Cuauhtémoc on June 12 that left five dead and three injured. Gang members also killed four people in an attack on a restaurant in Ciudad Juárez. These trends contribute to the 125% increase in violence in Chihuahua in the past week compared to last month, as reported ACLED Subnational Surge Tracker. According to the authorities, the increase in violence is linked to disputes between rival criminal groups that control extortion and drug trafficking routes along the border with the United States (El Heraldo de Juárez, June 13, 2022). Experts have identified about 12 criminal groups that operate in Chihuahua, most of them allied with the Sinaloa cartel (La Silla Rota, May 20, 2022).

Additionally, gang attacks targeting civilians have led to an increase in violence in the state of San Luis Potosí over the past week. This violence has contributed to the 148% increase in violence in San Luis Potosí in the past month compared to last year, reported by ACLED Subnational Threat Tracker, which warned for the first time of an upsurge in violence to come in that state over the past month. Although several criminal groups operate in San Luis Potosí, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and the Gulf Cartel have recently intensified their fight for control of drug trafficking routes in the state (La Opinión, April 18, 2022).

In Haiti, gangs continued to attack government officials and government buildings in Port-au-Prince last week. Members of the Base 5 Seconds gang have consolidated their control over the trial courthouse building, after beginning a siege of the building on June 10. On June 14, the gang set fire to investigation files, other court documents and vehicles inside the court. Some court officials and lawyers claimed that police on the gang side might be involved in the attack, seeking to destroy sensitive documents on cases of police corruption and killings of political figures (AP, June 17, 2022; Miami Herald , June 16, 2022 ). Haiti’s chief prosecutor, Jaques Lafontant, has announced police investigations into the June 10 attack as local experts worry about the government’s lack of action on previous attacks on state institutions. State (Haitian Times, June 14, 2022; FJKL, June 14, 2022). Meanwhile, gang members abducted a National Telecommunications Council official and raided the National Ports Authority building, killing a guard. ACLED Conflict Change Map first warned of an upsurge in violence to come in Haiti over the past month.

In Jamaicainfighting within the One Order gang led to a 500% increase in violence in St. Catherine Parish last week compared to last month, reported by ACLED Subnational Surge Tracker. The tool first warned of an increase in violence coming to this parish over the past month. In Spanish Town, two members of the One Order gang were killed and three others injured in separate clashes, while civilians were targeted in retaliatory attacks, which included the killing of a gang member’s mother. . ACLED Emerging Stakeholder Tracking flagged the One Order Gang as an emerging player over the past month and the emergence of three new players this month in Jamaica; the presence of emerging actors indicates a change in the conflict environment, with civilians often bearing the burden of these new activities.

The increase in violence has also sparked protests by residents of Spanish Town, who barricaded roads on June 15, dismissing the presence of gangs in different communities. Prime Minister Andrew Holness on June 17 declared a state of emergency in the parish for 14 days, expanding the power of state forces to carry out arrests and security operations (CNW, June 14, 2022) .

In Honduras, armed suspects killed a member of the LGBT+ community in a June 13 drive-by shooting in San Pedro Sula, Cortés department. Representatives of the LGBT+ community claimed that it could be considered a hate crime and demanded that the authorities investigate the case (Tiempo, June 13, 2022). This is the second week in a row that ACLED has recorded attacks against members of this community in the department of Córtes, during LGBT+ Pride Month. Social organizations in Honduras demand legislative reforms that recognize discriminatory attacks and hate crimes in the penal code, claiming that the vast majority of attacks against the LGBT+ community go unpunished (EFE, May 18, 2022). ACLED Conflict Change Map first warned of an upsurge in violence to come in Honduras over the past month.

In Porto Rico, violence against civilians increased last week compared to the previous week, with attacks by gunmen resulting in the deaths of five people. Amid the violence, gunmen opened fire on a residential area where the mayor of Cantaño, Julio Alicea Vasallo, was attending a municipal activity accompanied by city hall employees. After the shooting, gunmen in another vehicle drove past the area showing a threatening message. Authorities have not confirmed whether the threats were directed at the mayor; the mayor took office in December 2021 with a promise to fight corruption after the previous mayor was involved in a corruption scheme (EFE, June 11, 2022). ACLED Conflict Change Map first warned of an upsurge in violence to come in Puerto Rico over the past month.

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