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Contributor PerspectivesOct 23, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
A passerby picks up a copy of Nicaragua's La Prensa in Managua on March 25, 2019. The newspaper printed its cover in cyan, instead of black, with the headline, 'We are running out of ink, but not of news. The Civic Alliance will not negotiate an amnesty.'
What Happens When You Kill the Messenger in Nicaragua
For many Nicaraguans, the maxim that today's oppressed becomes tomorrow's oppressor is ringing all too true. In December 2018, the United Nations' human rights chief, former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, denounced the Nicaraguan government of Daniel Ortega, urging Ortega to "immediately halt the persecution of human rights defenders, civil society organizations [and] journalists and news organizations that are critical of the government." Since Ortega returned to office in 2007, he and his allies have grown increasingly authoritarian, especially in the last couple of years. During this time, his administration has come to rely more on the security forces to suppress dissent, leading to hundreds of deaths in 2018. Directly in Ortega's sights has been the media, particularly print journalists who frequently criticize the administration. Ortega has labeled them enemies and accused them of publishing "fake news," while his family has also bought television stations and other media outlets to try
AssessmentsSep 9, 2019 | 15:54 GMT
Police officers patrol Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, during April 2018.
In Mexico, Violence Flares Up Again in the Border City of Nuevo Laredo
Violence between the Cartel del Noreste (CDN) and state police has been surging in the Mexican border city of Nuevo Laredo in Tamaulipas state over the past two weeks. The incidents began Aug. 22, when officers with the Center for Analysis, Information and Studies of Tamaulipas (CAIET) erected a pop-up checkpoint just outside Nuevo Laredo on Federal Highway 2, which leads to Piedras Negras up the Rio Grande in Coahuila state. A convoy of heavily armed CDN gunmen with the cartel's "Tropa del Infierno" (Spanish for "Soldiers of Hell") enforcer unit attacked the checkpoint and wounded two police officers. They attacked the officers again as they took their wounded to the hospital, injuring a third officer. The fighting means those with interests in the city should be even more wary than usual.
On SecurityJul 23, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
Mexican drug trafficker Joaquin Guzman Loera, aka "el Chapo Guzman" (C), is presented to the press on Feb. 22, 2014 in Mexico City.
'El Chapo' Is Done, But Mexico's Cartel Wars Certainly Aren’t
And so the curtain falls on the career of a criminal mastermind. On July 17, Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera was sentenced to serve life plus 30 years in prison following a February conviction on 10 counts, including engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, drug trafficking and firearms charges. Shortly after the sentencing hearing, Guzman was sent to the U.S. administrative maximum (ADX) penitentiary in Florence, Colorado. Guzman has a long history of shenanigans in -- and escapes from -- Mexican penitentiaries, but the book is now officially closed on him. Guzman has never been incarcerated in a facility like the ADX in Florence, which is home to some of the most dangerous criminals and terrorists in the world, meaning he has zero chance of either continuing to run his criminal enterprise from the prison or escaping from it. The end to Guzman's illicit activities, however, does
AssessmentsJul 11, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
Mexican police take position outside a house during a search in Tlajomulco de Zuniga, Jalisco State, Mexico, on June 21, 2019.
Murder in Mexico in 2019: A Midyear Checkup
Mexican news outlet Milenio on July 1 published its unofficial count of murders in Mexico for the first half of 2019. Milenio counted 2,249 murders in June alone, the highest monthly number the news outlet has recorded since it began keeping its own tally in 2007. In fact, this is the first time that Milenio's numbers have ever surpassed 2,000 for any given month. According to Milenio, the four states with the highest murder counts in June were Jalisco with 206, Mexico with 202, Baja California with 181 and Guanajuato with 176. While these numbers are not official, they still serve as a good barometer by which to measure the state of the country's violence. As expected, Mexico appears well on its way to another record-setting year for murders. Based on the trends we outlined in our 2019 annual cartel forecast, the high levels of violence in Jalisco, Mexico State, Baja
Regions & CountriesApril 20, 2019 | 13:16 GMT
Covering an area that spans the entire width of the continent beginning at the Sahara Desert and ending at the southernmost tip of South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa is home to countless cultures, languages, religions, plants, animals and natural resources.
Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa is a study in diversity. Covering an area that spans the entire width of the continent beginning at the Sahara Desert and ending at the southernmost tip of South Africa, the region is home to countless cultures, languages, religions, plants, animals and natural resources. It’s no surprise that it captured the imagination of Europe’s earliest explorers — and that it continues to capture the imagination of current world powers eager to exploit it. And yet despite the region’s diversity, Sub-Saharan African countries have common challenges — transnational terrorism, rapid population growth, endemic poverty and corruption — that prevent them from capitalizing on their economic potential. The coming years will be critical for the region, especially as its political institutions mature in a rapidly globalizing world.

On SecurityApr 16, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
Authorities work at the scene where four racketeering suspects where shot down by security forces during a shoot-out along a highway in Acapulco in Guerrero on March 30, 2019.
Using Security to Enable, Rather Than Block, Business
Risk avoidance is a fine operational principle to guide travel advisories, but it's simply untenable for many businesses and nongovernmental organizations, whose business models and missions compel them to operate in areas where they will encounter at least some risk. For these entities, it's critical that they understand and anticipate risks, monitor threats and take steps to mitigate the impact they have on business operations.
AssessmentsMar 22, 2019 | 20:28 GMT
Soldiers in February 2012 in Monterrey, Mexico, at the scene of drug violence.
Mexican Cartel Poised to Launch an Offensive for Control of Monterrey
The Cartel del Noreste, the remnant of the Los Zetas cartel that controls the lucrative Nuevo Laredo smuggling plaza, has taken actions over the past week suggesting it is preparing a push to seize control of Monterrey, Mexico's third-largest metropolitan area and a major regional business hub. Such an offensive would likely meet resistance from the groups currently in the area and so would involve significant violence -- something businesses with interests in the area should prepare for.
On SecurityJan 29, 2019 | 09:30 GMT
Officials display rifle ammunition seized from the Los Zetas drug cartel in June 2011.
Tracking Mexico's Cartels in 2019
Since 2006, Stratfor has produced an annual cartel report chronicling the dynamics of the organizations that make up the complex mosaic of organized crime in Mexico. When we began, the landscape was much simpler, with only a handful of major cartel groups. But as we noted in 2013, the long process of balkanization -- or splintering -- of the groups has made it difficult to analyze them the way we used to. Indeed, many of the organizations we had been tracking, such as the Gulf cartel, imploded and fragmented into several smaller, often competing factions. Because of this fracturing, we changed our analysis in 2013 to focus on the clusters of smaller groups that emanate from three main geographic areas: Sinaloa state, Tamaulipas state and the Tierra Caliente region.
On SecuritySep 25, 2018 | 08:30 GMT
Mexican soldiers escort Oscar Pozos Jimenez (L) and Jose Serna Padilla, an alleged member of the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion, in Guadalajara on March 18, 2012.
What Happens When a Major Mexican Cartel Leader Falls?
The attack was almost cinematic: Just over a week ago, gunmen dressed as mariachi musicians shot dead five people at a restaurant in Mexico City's Plaza Garibaldi, a place of attraction for locals and tourists alike. The latest violence to grab the headlines illustrates how cartel figures are now dragging violence with them into the tourist areas and upscale neighborhoods they frequent and inhabit. At the same time, it shows how the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG) has expanded its presence throughout the length and breadth of Mexico. As a result of the group's atrocities, CJNG leader Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes (El Mencho) has become public enemy number one. But amid the violence, the bigger question for Mexican authorities is not how to capture or kill Oseguera Cervantes, but a far more distressing one: What happens the day after?
AssessmentsJul 16, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
Paramilitaries surround the San Sebastian Basilica in Diriamba, Nicaragua, on July 9, 2018.
Nicaragua's Wave of Protests Is Ending -- For Now
Three months after unrest began convulsing the country, Nicaragua’s government is slowly re-establishing control over the Central American nation. Though the government’s offensives will likely impose a relative calm, the prospect of renewed demonstrations will never be far away. President Daniel Ortega will be well aware that any serious unrest would do further damage to the economy -- thereby exposing rifts within the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front that could ultimately spell an end to his rule.
On SecurityJun 26, 2018 | 10:00 GMT
Anti-government demonstrators carry homemade mortars, as they stand near a barricade in Masaya, Nicaragua, on June 5.
Nicaragua's Hard Road Ahead
Negotiations have broken down, and the violence shows no signs of abating. Church-brokered peace talks between the Nicaraguan government and the demonstrators broke down on June 18 amid Managua's continued use of force against the protest movement. After taking to the streets in April in response to proposed social security reforms, protesters have now upgraded their demands for the departure of President Daniel Ortega and his wife (and vice president), Rosario Murillo. Whether the protesters ramp up the pressure on Ortega or vice versa, security in Nicaragua is only likely to worsen -- something that should give companies operating in the country pause for thought.
AssessmentsJun 25, 2018 | 15:54 GMT
A protester with the April 19th movement in Masaya, Nicaragua, fires a homemade mortar into the air on June 18, 2018.
The Protests in Nicaragua Are Bad for the President, Worse for Business
In Nicaragua, there's probably no going back to the way things were. A two-month uprising has severely damaged President Daniel Ortega's standing with the private sector and with the country's voters. Almost 200 people have died since protests first broke out across the country in mid-April in response to a social security tax hike designed to prop up Nicaragua's public finances. Now Ortega is struggling against daily violent demonstrations and a fragmenting political base to preserve his presidency. He may yet subdue the current wave of protests, but the consequences will probably come back to haunt him before the 2021 presidential election.
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