Top stories this week are likely to include: a political fracture among the Mexican Left; one month before the Venezuelan election; impact of U.S. suspension of intelligence sharing with Honduras; and the tenuous El Salvador gang truce.
A Split among Mexico’s Progressives: Presidential runner-up Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) departure from the Partido de la Revolución Democrática (Party of the Democratic Revolution—PRD) that he led since 1996 sent shockwaves around the Mexican political establishment. AMLO, who made the announcement yesterday at a rally in Mexico City’s zócalo, ran for president under the PRD label in 2006 and 2012, and placed second both times. He announced that he would focus his efforts through the Movimiento Regeneración Nacional (National Regeneration Movement—MORENA) movement, which has not been formally registered as a party according to BBC. How will the formation of MORENA affect the PRD, and will it mean a great split among the electorate of the Mexican Left?
Venezuela Election Countdown: The presidential contest in Venezuela between incumbent Hugo Chávez and challenger Henrique Capriles Radonski occurs in less than one month, on October 7. While Chávez claims that his victory is “written in stone,” Univisión reports that he is been falling in the polls, resulting in attacks on Capriles Radonski. Before the weekend, Capriles Radonski challenged Chávez to a debate anywhere in the country.
Related: Americas Society and Council of the Americas will host a discussion on September 18 entitled “The Road to Venezuela’s Elections: A Look at the Media, Public Opinion, and the Economy.”
Fallout of U.S.-Honduras Intelligence Cooperation Suspension: After two separate incidents in which Honduran forces shot down a suspected drug plane in July, it was likely that counternarcotics cooperation with the United States would be affected in some way. Over the weekend, the U.S. State Department announced that it was suspending intelligence sharing efforts with Honduras. This comes after a steady build-up in cooperation between the two countries. What will be the effect in overall security cooperation and on efforts such as the Central America Regional Security Initiative?
A Break in the El Salvador Gang Truce: Break in the El Salvador Gang Truce: After negotiation of a truce earlier this year between the Mara Salvatrucha and Calle 18 gangs, El Salvador has observed a dramatic drop in its murder rate. But is this delicate truce beginning to unravel? A new report from Fox News Latino seems to suggest that recent killings may point to a new reality in which gangs operate. “The truce was never intended to be the answer to El Salvador’s crime problems, but what it has done is placed increased urgency on finding solutions to prevent crime in the first place. This fragile peace is an opportunity for the country that cannot be missed,” notes AQ Senior Editor Jason Marczak.