security assistance

Weekly InSight: The Trump Card, How US Policy Shifts Could Impact LatAm Security

In our May 11 Facebook Live discussion, Senior Investigator Héctor Silva Ávalos and Senior Editor Mike LaSusa spoke about InSight Crime’s coverage of shifting US policies toward Latin America, and how these changes could impact organized crime and security in the region…

Read this piece in its entirety at InSight Crime. You can watch the full live stream below:

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Are US Anti-Crime Programs in Central America Working?

Over the past several years, the United States has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on crime and violence prevention programs in Central America, with few evaluations of the impact of this investment. But one hotly debated study highlights the challenges of measuring security assistance outcomes, as well as the need for a greater body of analysis about the efficacy of such initiatives…

Read this piece in its entirety at InSight Crime.

Two Candidates, Six Issues, and a Region Ignored

Aside from near constant talk of building “a wall” along the Mexican border and sporadic mention of Mexico‘s heroin distribution networks, candidates for the US presidency have paid little attention to how they would deal with organized crime and security issues in Latin America and the Caribbean, so InSight Crime scanned their records and their statements to try to get a better idea…

Read this piece in its entirety at InSight Crime.

Doubts Surround International Support for Colombia Peace Deal

A number of doubts are swirling around the amount of international assistance Colombia can expect to receive to support a historic peace agreement with the country’s main rebel group, raising questions about how funding issues could impact the implementation of the deal…

Read this piece in its entirety at InSight Crime.

Honduras Security Agreement with Israel Raises Human Rights Concerns

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández announced that he is requesting congressional approval for a new military cooperation agreement with Israel, raising human rights concerns given past experiences of Latin American countries receiving security assistance from the Mediterranean nation…

Read this piece in its entirety at InSight Crime.

Here’s where SOUTHCOM gets their news

While doing some online research, I recently stumbled across the “extranet” of the U.S. Southern Command, or SOUTHCOM,  the arm of the Defense Department responsible for U.S. military  activities in Latin America and the Caribbean. (An extranet is the part of an organization’s internal computer network accessible to outside users.)

The site says it is produced by SOUTHCOM’s Public Affairs Office and that “[a]ll content is provided for information purposes and does not constitute an endorsement (implied or otherwise) of any information provided in this website by the leadership and staff of U.S. Southern Command.”

The site’s “In the News” section includes a link to “SOUTHCOM News,” which contains articles written by the public affairs department like this one on the recent South American Defense Conference in Asunción, Paraguay. The “In the News” menu also includes a link to “3 Things You Should Know,” which appears to be a regularly-updated internal briefing on the three most important issues or events of the day.

The link for “TV/Radio Clips” appears to redirect to SOUTHCOM’s “intranet,” which is off-limits to the general public. But the site does include a link to “AOR Headlines.” The acronym AOR refers to the “area of responsibility” of a military unit. In SOUTHCOM’s case, that means Latin America and the Caribbean.

According to the website, the “AOR Headlines” section is an “internal management tool intended to serve the informational needs of senior SOUTHCOM officials in maintaining situational awareness of public and media discussion of those issues and topics” that relate to the unit’s work. A disclaimer notes that “The inclusion of these articles does not reflect official endorsement or verification of any opinions, ideas or alleged facts contained therein.”

The information on the site is relatively benign. Much of it consists of articles from mainstream U.S. media outlets like the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Miami Herald. Still, I found it interesting.

Here, read it for yourself.

General John Kelly Goes to Honduras a Lot

Below is a timeline of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Commander General John Kelly’s trips to Honduras since he began serving in his current position.

November 19, 2012: Marine Corps Gen. John F. Kelly assumes command of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), relieving Air Force Gen. Douglas M. Fraser, who had been in the post since June 2009.

January 8-9, 2013: Kelly makes his first visit to Honduras, accompanied by “other SOUTHCOM leaders“. He meets with President of Honduras Porfirio Lobo Sosa, Foreign Minister Arturo Corrales, Defense Minister Marlon Pascua, and the Chief of Joint Staff Gen. Rene Osorio. Kelly also met with U.S. Ambassador to Honduras Lisa Kubiske and the embassy staff.

June 20, 2013: Kelly officiates the changing of the guard at Joint Task Force-Bravo (JTF-Bravo), a U.S. military unit operating at Soto Cano Air Force Base in Honduras.

January 27, 2014: Juan Orlando Hernandez takes office as President of Honduras.

February 11, 2014: Kelly and Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, William R. Brownfield, arrive in Honduras to meet with President Hernandez and other senior Honduran officials.

June 2, 2014: Kelly visits Honduras to meet with President Hernandez and top national security officials.

June 23, 2014: Kelly officiates a changing of the guard at JTF-Bravo.

August 6, 2014: President Hernandez visits SOUTHCOM headquarters in Florida and meets with General Kelly.

November 20, 2014: Kelly visits Honduras as part of a tour of the “Northern Triangle” countries, which include Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

December 18, 2014: Kelly meets with President Hernandez in Honduras.

March 25, 2015: Kelly attends the Central American Regional Security Conference (CENTSEC), held in Tegucigalpa, Honduras and co-hosted by the Honduran armed forces and SOUTHCOM.

June 30, 2015: Kelly officiates a changing of the guard ceremony at JTF-Bravo.