Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Haiti protests slow cholera treatment for Matthew victims (Oct. 19, 2016)

News Briefs
  • Protests over slow aid in Haiti are complicating cholera treatment in remote areas cut off by Hurricane Matthew destruction, said a U.N. official. Many roads in the country's most affected southwest area remain impassable, while others are barricaded by affected communities desperate for aid. Humanitarian convoys have also been looted. A teenager was shot in the chest yesterday by police defending a truck in Les Cayes -- spurring anger at use of live ammunition by security forces, reports Reuters.
  • Venezuelan authorities delayed elections for state governors, expected for this December, until midway through next year, reports Reuters. The opposition says the change is unconstitutional, reports the BBC. Critics say its a move intended to buy the government time for an oil price recovery to help boost popularity. President Nicolás Maduro also warned that many opposition parties need to renew their status with the electoral board to participate next year.
  • Doctors in Venezuela say acute medicine shortages are threatening to reverse decades of health gains, reports the Guardian.
  • Representatives of Colombia's right-wing opposition could meet with FARC leaders to discuss modifications to the peace deal between the guerrillas and the government which voters narrowly rejected earlier this month, reports Reuters. "We think that at this time, in the interest of a national deal, spokespeople from "No" could at some point speak with the FARC," said former President Álvaro Uribe, who has led the campaign against the pact, to the press yesterday.
  • Foreign Affairs piece by Shannon O'Neill of the Council on Foreign Relations looks at how populism has played out in Latin America, from a very critical standpoint. "Latin America’s struggles with populism, although far from over, offer some hints about where the current upsurge in populist rhetoric in the United States and Europe might lead. History shows that populism polarizes societies, weakens economies, and undermines representative democracy. But Latin America’s experience also demonstrates that democratic decline is not inevitable, that citizens’ movements can reform institutions and defend them against would-be populists, and that the disenfranchised will not tolerate empty promises forever."
  • Mexican officials are reportedly looking for former Veracruz governor Javier Duarte, who stepped down last week. He is suspected of corruption, reports the Associated Press. A day after a judge issued an arrest warrant for his apprehension, he is also accused of connections with criminal organizations, he apparently escaped the area in a helicopter, reports Animal Político.
  • A Mexican federal judge was killed by an unknown assassin in broad daylight while on his morning jog, a case that demonstrates the rampant violence and problem of impunity in the country, reports the Los Angeles Times.
  • Black Wednesday: Hundreds of thousands of women are expected to join a national "women's strike" today in Argentina, in demand for better protections against gender violence and femicide. The protest, which will last an hour this afternoon and will be followed by marches, was spurred by the rape and torture of a 16-year-old in Mar del Plata, who died of cardiac arrest as a result of the attacks, reports the Guardian. Statistics show that a woman is killed every thirty hours in Argentina in gender related crime. (See yesterday's briefs.)
  • Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski is cracking down on corruption, including a measure that would bar employees convicted of graft from ever returning to a state job, reports the BBC. He announced the drive after a leaked tape appears to implicate an advisor in a corruption scheme, a scandal which has hit the president's approval ratings.
  • The Cuban government led a series of protests against U.S. policy towards the island, just as U.S. President Obama seeks to make the rapprochement "irreversible." Cuban officials demand an end to the embargo, reports the Miami Herald.
  • Families of children afflicted with Zika related disabilities in Brazil say the government support they receive is insufficient, considering the magnitude of health problems the babies face, reports the Associated Press.
  • Mexico has entered the marriage wars debate with vengeance, after President Enrique Peña Nieto suggested a constitutional reform to legalize gay marriage earlier this year, up to a million people marched agains the initiative last month. In the Conversation, Adán Echeverría-García analyzes the struggle in a country where most people identify strongly as Roman Catholic, but where attitudes towards issues such as gay adoption are evolving.

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