Latin America Security By The Numbers Update

Latin America and the Caribbean

This post was compiled by WOLA intern Elizabeth Lincoln. 

  • The latest Comparative Atlas of Defense and Security in Latin America, by the Network of Security and Defense in Latin America (RESDAL), found that approximately 106,415 women serve as soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen in the region, making up about 10.06 percent of all armed forces. While some countries do not have reports on their female populations or the breakdown between military branches, based on available information it is estimated that there are 36,041 women enlisted in state armies in the continent, about 23,915 in navies, and about 14,932 in air forces. The presence of female soldiers in Venezuela, at 16 percent of those enlisted, has been dubbed the “female revolution.”
  • Colombian Congressman Alirio Uribe, who formerly headed a human rights group that litigated human rights cases against members of the country’s armed forces, sought to hold a legislative hearing about eight generals’ presumed responsibility for extrajudicial executions. Prosecutors in Colombia are investigating or trying 3,420 cases of such executions, many of them so-called “false positives” or attempts to present murdered civilians as combat kills. Rep. Uribe asserted that 98 percent of the military has not been involved in such abuse, but that the 2 percent that are must be brought to justice.
  • Activists have denounced the Honduran government for noncompliance with sentences issued by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. On nine occasions in the past 30 years the government of Honduras has been brought before the CIDH; in eight of those cases, it was declared responsible for violations of human rights, said former Human Rights Ombudsman Leo Valladares, who heads the Association for Participative Citizenship, a Honduran NGO. In Honduras, of violent crimes denounced by the Public Ministry, 80 percent are not investigated, and less than 5 percent see due process.
  • Germany has committed to providing a credit line of 75 million euros per year until 2016 to finance post-conflict needs in Colombia. President Santos also met with the President of Spain, Mariano Rajoy, who secured the intention of contributing USD $45 million from Europe over a decade.
  • Tens of thousands of protestors took to the streets in Mexico City to demand that the government find the 43 young people who disappeared in Iguala, Guerrero on September 26, and to bring those responsible to justice. The Mexican government estimates that 22,322 people have disappeared since 2006.
  • In Venezuela, President Nicolás Maduro is increasing the minimum wage by 15 percent in order to defend workers’ earnings from inflation, which he attributes to international enemies purposefully harming the Venezuelan economy. The minimum wage increased 30 percent in April, and 10 percent in January, and military wages increased by 45 percent last week.
  • The United States Coast Guard rescued three dozen Cuban migrants from a sinking rowboat off the shore of Boca Raton, Florida. Customs and Border Protection reports that 278 migrants coming from Cuba were spotted at sea in October alone, and 814 made it to shore last year, a 90 percent increase from the year before.