Imagine convicts and prisoners having access to and using assault weapons to commit murder, mayhem and injury while locked up. Consider that if those incarcerated have an availability to such weapons, then there must be considerable ease of access and prevalence of weapons in the general population.
The aforesaid confronts Central America in 2020 as part of a widening list of concerns that could envelope the region in the new decade.
Thirteen inmates were killed in a prison riot east of Panama City, Panama, this December. Authorities have blamed gang violence for the assault within La Joyita jail as they also confirmed that at least three AK-47 assault rifles were used by convicts in the melee.
Last Wednesday, according to the BBC-News, Honduras declared a state in its prison system following the killing of five-MS-13 gang members while in detention. The move by Honduras transferred control of its prison system to the security forces. A few days after the declaration of the state of emergency, bullets and sharp weapons were used in a riot by gang members at a prison in the northern city of Tela. Eighteen inmates were killed and 16 injured in the melee within the prison. And two days later another prison riot at a prison east of the capital, Tegucigalpa, saw 16 inmates killed by guns, knives and machetes.
Honduras has a prison capacity of 8,000, yet over 20,000 inmates are overcrowding the jail system in the Central American country. This criminal justice problem in 2020, will also be indicative of the systems in Belize, El Salvador and Guatemala. Adding immigration, economic and political events to the already pressured criminal justice systems in Central America will spell greater instability in the region in 2020. Costa Rica stands to fair best of the Central American nations in 2020. Its tourism and especially, its eco-tourism remains highly popular with world travelers, thus according Costa Rica much needed revenue and a path to greater stability. Nicaragua and its long standing political considerations of leftist and western factions will continue in 2020.
Climate Change events will be bothersome to both Central and South America in 2020. From earthquakes in both regions to forest fires in the Amazon around Brazil, Bolivia, Suriname and Peru, to environmental contamination in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, South America will be tested in 2020.
But the regions greatest threat outside of Climate Change in 2020 will come from a likely re-emergence of military rule in Chile, Bolivia, Argentina and Peru and attempts at greater dictatorships in Venezuela and in Brazil. The unraveling of a government and FARC rebel peace deal in Colombia will be of serious concern in 2020 and unless a greater measure of trust is fostered between the parties, Colombia could regress into the political violence of yore. Economic woes will haunt a large swath of South America in 2020 and the year could be the last for Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela.
Political in fighting in Guyana could postpone the country's cash realization from a vast offshore oil find. As French Guiana and Suriname attempt to stay under the radar in 2020, Paraguay and Uruguay could emerge as the most stable nations in South America in 2020.