Updates to Hondura's presidential election vote count have lessened the lead of opposition challenger Salvador Nasralla over incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernández. Data published this morning by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) left Nasralla with just under a 1 percent lead, with about 75 percent of the votes counted. This reverts a nearly five point lead that Nasralla had been holding since the Sunday election, reports La Prensa.
El Heraldo has the evolution of the vote tallies over the past couple of days, showing how the close difference between the two candidates shrunk drastically since yesterday evening.
Protesters took to the streets in Tegucigalpa yesterday, and civil society organizations accused TSE of dragging its feet to obscure an opposition win, reports the Los Angeles Times. Nasralla has accused the TSE of prioritizing ballots from areas where Hernández has one, skewing the electoral trend, reports Reuters.
He has also accused the TSE of manipulating the vote by adding false tallies to the total. He has called for demonstrations by his supporters today in Tegucigalpa, reports La Prensa.
Indeed, the long delay in a final result has many observers concerned about potential manipulation of the vote. And the tensions -- amid criticisms regarding the legality of Hernández's reelection bid -- are setting the stage for a political crisis, argues Juan Carlos Hidalgo at the Cato Institute blog.
Yesterday European Union electoral observers decried the slow pace of the count, and the lack of a definitive winner, reports La Prensa. They noted the TSE had made more frequent updates and advanced more quickly in previous elections, reports the Associated Press.
- A Salvadoran court found former President Mauricio Funes and his son guilty of illicit enrichment, and ordered them to pay back $420,000 to the state. The civil judgement does not involve jail-time, but bars them from holding public office for 10 years, reports the Associated Press. Both are in Nicaragua, where they were granted asylum.
- Speaking of polemic reelection plans: Bolivia's constitutional court struck down limits on reelection, paving the way for President Evo Morales to run for a fourth consecutive term in 2019, reports Reuters. The ruling appealed to a clause of the American Convention on Human Rights granting citizens the right to participate in government, reports Telam. However OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro noted that the clause "does not mean the right to perpetual power." Bolivian voters narrowly rejected a referendum in 2016 that would have permitted further reelections for Morales.
- Colombia's lower house of Congress approved a bill creating a transitional justice system for human rights violations committed during the country's armed conflict with the FARC. However, lawmakers modified the bill passed earlier this month by the Senate, so the text must now go to conciliation between the two chambers, reports Reuters.
- Some Venezuelan investors are becoming convinced that President Nicolás Maduro will manage to stay in power, despite an ongoing crisis and bets of a default in the near future, reports Bloomberg.
- The Guardian continues its coverage of São Paulo, including: a profile of mayor João Doria, who has frequently been compared to a Brazilian Donald Trump, though he might also angle for a centrist vote in the upcoming national elections. Another piece focuses on the city's vast sprawl and high costs of living, meaning daily commutes of three, four or five hours in terrible public transportation conditions. And ongoing Amazon deforestation threatens the city with devastating water shortages, reports another piece in the series.
- Another 2018 presidential contender, Brazilian right-wing politician Jair Bolsonaro, argued that gun ownership should be subsidized and police should face fewer investigations, reports Bloomberg.
- Mosquitos and the dengue virus they spread seem to have been an unintended consequence of development in Brazil's Acre state, where cases of the disease have ballooned since 2000, reports NPR.
- A conservative Guatemalan lawmaker has introduced a bill that would give blanket amnesty to military members accused of committing war crimes during Guatemala’s 36-year-long internal armed conflict, reports NACLA.
- Former Lima mayor Susana Villaran is the latest Peruvian politician to be implicated in the Operation Car Wash investigation, reports Bloomberg. She was barred from leaving the country for eight months after prosecutors alleged she received $4 million in campaign donations from Odebrecht SA and OAS SA in 2013. Her administration later signed contracts with both companies later that year. Villaran denies wrongdoing.
- U.S. President Donald Trump has quietly backed away from his promise to make Mexico pay for a polemic border wall. But he continues to threaten to block remittances from Mexicans living in the U.S. The proposal "would cause hardship for millions; most remittances are spent on basic necessities such as food. But by undermining the free flow of capital, a core feature of our modern globalized world, Trump is also attacking a central component of neoliberal capitalism," writes Ezra Rosser at the Aula Blog.
- A small Cuban design brand, Clandestina, has just become the country's first to launch an e-shop with global shipping -- no small feat, reports the Guardian.