Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Fujimoristas angle to oust Peru's head prosecutor (Nov. 22, 2017)

An attempt by right-wing Fuerza Popular party in Peru to oust the country's head prosecutor has been strongly criticized by other parties and protested by the judicial sector, reports La República.

On Monday the Congressional Permanent Commission voted to investigate head prosecutor Pablo Sánchez for alleged mismanagement in relation to details of political corruption stemming from Brazilian testimony in the Lava Jato case. But the move, pushed only by the Fujimorista Fuerza Popular party has been criticized as politicized and unfounded, reports La Mula.

Gustavo Gorriti calls the accusation a "monument to hypocrisy, lying, and political duplicity," in IDL Reporteros. Instead, he points to allegations that Fuerza Popular leader Keiko Fujimori received illicit campaign contributions in her 2011 presidential run, as well as investigations into an important Fuerza Popular advisor, as a possible motives for the sudden opposition to Sánchez. 

La República reports that Fujimori herself ordered the accusations against Sánchez in retaliation for investigations against her and associates.

And Allan Wagner of Transparencia, in an interview with El Comercio, warned that the move against Sánchez could in fact hinder the Lava Jato investigation.

Gorriti, and others, point to the similarities between Fuerza Popular's current attempt against Sánchez and the coup by party leader President Alberto Fujimori in 1992. However, actually ousting Sánchez will require a two-thirds vote by the entire Congress. Fuerza Popular would have to attract some other party, which currently seems unlikely, according to La Mula.

The move is part of a broader push against the Executive branch and independent agencies like the Public Ministry, argues a lawmaker from Pablo Pedro Kuczynski's party, in La Mula.

News Briefs
  • Last weekend's elections have thrown Chilean politics for a loop. Candidates must now simultaneously try to pick up votes from candidates further towards the extremes of the political spectrum, while also attracting voters from the center, writes Juan Aedo Guzmán in La Mula. (See Monday's post and yesterday's briefs.)
  • While most of the focus has been on the presidential race, parliament has changed significantly, writes Javier Sajuria in the Washington Post's Monkey Cage. The new insurgent left coalition founded just this year, Frente Amplio, obtained a Senate seat and 20 seats in the lower chamber of Congress. It's part of a shift away from the dominance of traditional parties, he writes. Sajuria also notes the improved gender balance thanks to a new quota electoral system, and a younger, more diverse crowd of lawmakers. "Whoever gets elected president in December, the challenge will be to operate in a Congress that is less experienced, more socially diverse, and much more complex in political terms than previously. Chile will prove a significant test case for proponents of deep electoral reform around the world."
  • Cuban President Raúl Castro is supposed to step down next February, the first time in more than 40 years that the island would not be led by one of the Castro brothers. But three months away from the supposed transition, the question is whether negative conditions spanning from renewed U.S. hostility under President Donald Trump and economic troubles due in part to dwindling Venezuelan oil will delay Castro's retirement, reports the Miami Herald.
  • The chief U.S. NAFTA negotiator decried stalled talks and said Canada and Mexico are refusing to  “seriously engage” on controversial U.S. proposals, reports the Wall Street Journal.
  • An anti-hatred law passed last month by Venezuela's questioned National Assembly continues a media war waged over the past 18 years of Chavismo, argues Marianela Balbi in a New York Times op-ed. Its purported goals are to promote peace, tolerance, and diversity. But, "establishing a normative about hate leaves it clear that the government's objective is to silence through fear those who wish to exercise their right to free expression of their opinions and thoughts," she writes.
  • Illegal logging practices continue in Peru, despite regulations and mechanisms aimed at ensuring the traceability of timber, reports La Mula. A report from the new Center for International Environmental Law reveals how exporters send products of dubious legal origin to markets that don't prohibit illegal wood, thus indicating they might be aware of its questionable provenance. (A recent Global Witness report also focused on illegal logging in Peru, revealing evidence that major Peruvian timber exporters are aware they are dealing illegal products and shield themselves with falsified documents used to launder illicit timber. See Friday Nov. 10's briefs.)
  • A person of color is killed in Brazil every 13 minutes, reports Aos Fato using new Igarapé Institute data. In 2000, the homicides rate of persons of color was 12.53 percent more than that of whites. In 2015 that difference reached nearly 47 percent.
  • Hundreds of Florida hospitality workers protested outside of U.S. President Donald Trump's private beach club in Florida, Mar-a-Lago, as South Florida community leaders denounced the administration's decision to end immigration protection for 59,000 Haitians, reports the Miami Herald. (See yesterday's post.)
  • Improved building codes are increasingly drawing attention as a potential tool to improve Caribbean island's hurricane preparedness. While they are "indeed are a key driver of resilience, their impact should not be overestimated," writes Michael Donovan in Americas Quarterly. In order to be effective, regulations must be regularly revised; climate-smart coastal development must be implemented; and existing buildings must be climate proofed.

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