Wars in the Backyard

The National Security Archive has just declassified eleven documents on the extra judicial arrests conducted 25 years ago by the government of Guatemala. It appears that the US embassy clearly knew that the security forces were involved in the kidnappings. In a Department of State secret report, dated March 1986, we can read:

While criminal activity accounts for a small percentage of the cases, and from time to time individuals “disappear” to go elsewhere, the security forces and rightist paramilitary groups are responsible for most kidnapping. Insurgent groups do not normally use kidnapping as a political tactic, although they did resort to kidnapping for ransom in their formative years.
First used systematically by security forces against Communist Party and members of the moderate left beginning in 1966, the practice of kidnapping became institutionalized over time. Some 6500 persons have been kidnapping or disappeared since 1977, far short of the 38,000 claimed by critics of the previous Guatemalan governments. The average number of monthly kidnapping peaked in 1984 under regime of General Mejia. At first security forces utilized kidnappings to intimidate the left and convince potential guerrilla supporters to remain neutral. Kidnapping of rural social workers, medical personnel, and campesinos became common between 1979-83. Often innocent victims were accused of being insurgents by military commissioners, other village leaders or an individual’s personal enemies or business competitors. (…) In the cities, out of frustration from the judiciary’s unwillingness to convict and sentence insurgents, and convinced that kidnapping of suspected insurgents and their relatives would lead to a quick destruction of the guerrilla urban networks, the security forces began to systematically kidnap anyone suspected of insurgent connections. This tactic was successful. Most of the insurgent infrastructure in Guatemala City was eliminated by 1984.

The Guatemalan Civil War ended formally in 1996. But violence did not. According to national newspaper Siglo XXI, in the last fourteen months, an average of 17.6 persons have been killed every day. How many during the 36 years of civil war? 15.2.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Detained and Dismissed

Human Rights Watch has just published a detailed report on Women’s Struggles to Obtain Health Care in United States Immigration Detention. Immigration detention facilities are black holes all around the world. For one thing it is difficult to understand or explain why a state should imprison somebody who has committed no crime at all. At least for those who tend to consider existing as a right and not as a crime. HRW writes that in the United States

the number of individuals held in administrative detention while their immigration cases are determined has skyrocketed in recent years. The detained population on any given day is now over 29,000 nationwide, up almost 50 percent from 2005.

And according to the report the overshadowing sanitary problems for women in this condition are

delays and denials of testing and treatment, obstacles to obtaining medical care, distortions in the doctor-patient relationship, detrimental and unnecessary use of restraints and strip searches, discontinuity of care, lack of effective remedies.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

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RSS r-bloggers.com

  • Mapping Covid-19 cases: a Shiny app
    R lets you create charts and graphs in image form. But the Shiny package lets you create those same charts and graphs in interactive format. I created my first Shiny chart: a world map of confirmed Covid-19 cases. Check it out here. Unfortunately I cannot embed the app into this website right now, so the […]
  • SR2 Chapter 3 Medium
    SR2 Chapter 3 Medium Posted on 5 April, 2020 by Brian Tags: statistical rethinking, solutions, grid approximation, posterior probability, posterior predictive probability, hpdi, binomial Category: statistical-rethinking-2 Here’s my solution to the medium exercises in chapter 3 of McElreath’s Statistical Rethinking, 2nd edition. \(\DeclareMathOperator{\dbinomial}{Binomial} \DeclareMathOperator{\dbernoulli}{Bernoulli} \DeclareMathOperator{\dpoisson}{Poisson} \DeclareMathOperator{\dnormal}{Normal} \DeclareMathOperator{\dt}{t} \DeclareMathOperator{\dcauchy}{Cauchy} \DeclareMathOperator{\dexponential}{Exp} \DeclareMathOperator{\duniform}{Uniform} \DeclareMathOperator{\dgamma}{Gamma} \DeclareMathOperator{\dinvpamma}{Invpamma} \DeclareMathOperator{\invlogit}{InvLogit} \DeclareMathOperator{\logit}{Logit} \DeclareMathOperator{\ddirichlet}{Dirichlet} […]
  • On the “correlation” between a continuous and a categorical variable
    Let us get back on the Titanic dataset, loc_fichier = "http://freakonometrics.free.fr/titanic.RData" download.file(loc_fichier, "titanic.RData") load("titanic.RData") base = base[!is.na(base$Age),] On consider two variables, the age (the continuous one) and the survivor indicator (the qualitative one) X = base$Age Y = base$Survived It looks like the age might be a valid explanatory variable in the logistic regression, summary(glm(Survived~Age,data=base,family=binomial)) […]
  • D is for dummy_cols
    For the letter D, I'm going to talk about the dummy_cols functions, which isn't actually part of the tidyverse, but hey: my posts, my rules. This function is incredibly useful for creating dummy variables, which are used in a variety of ways, including...
  • Caching in R
    Introduction Caching intermediate objects in R can be an efficient way to avoid re-evaluating long-running computations. The general process is always the same: run the chunk of code once, store the output to disk, and load it up the next time the same chunk is run. There are, of course, multiple packages in R to […]

RSS Simply Statistics

  • Is Artificial Intelligence Revolutionizing Environmental Health?
    NOTE: This post was written by Kevin Elliott, Michigan State University; Nicole Kleinstreuer, National Institutes of Health; Patrick McMullen, ScitoVation; Gary Miller, Columbia University; Bhramar Mukherjee, University of Michigan; Roger D. Peng, Johns Hopkins University; Melissa Perry, The George Washington University; Reza Rasoulpour, Corteva Agriscience, and Elizabeth Boyle, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. […]
  • You can replicate almost any plot with R
    Although R is great for quickly turning data into plots, it is not widely used for making publication ready figures. But, with enough tinkering you can make almost any plot in R. For examples check out the flowingdata blog or the Fundamentals of Data Visualization book. Here I show five charts from the lay press […]
  • So You Want to Start a Podcast
    Podcasting has gotten quite a bit easier over the past 10 years, due in part to improvements to hardware and software. I wrote about both how I edit and record both of my podcasts about 2 years ago and, while not much has changed since then, I thought it might be helpful if I organized […]

RSS Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science

  • Career advice for a future statistician
    Gary Ruiz writes: I am a first-year math major at the Los Angeles City College in California, and my long-term educational plans involve acquiring at least one graduate degree in applied math or statistics. I’m writing to ask whether you would offer any career advice to someone interested in future professional work in statistics. I […]
  • Interesting y-axis
    Merlin sent along this one: P.S. To be fair, when it comes to innumeracy, whoever designed the above graph has nothing on these people. As Clarissa Jan-Lim put it: Math is hard and everyone needs to relax! (Also, Mr. Bloomberg, sir, I think we will all still take $1.53 if you’re offering).
  • Model building is Lego, not Playmobil. (toward understanding statistical workflow)
    John Seabrook writes: Socrates . . . called writing “visible speech” . . . A more contemporary definition, developed by the linguist Linda Flower and the psychologist John Hayes, is “cognitive rhetoric”—thinking in words. In 1981, Flower and Hayes devised a theoretical model for the brain as it is engaged in writing, which they called […]