Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Internal displacement in Honduras and El Salvador - LAWG (Nov. 1, 2017)

News Briefs
  • LAWG has published the second part of a series examining the intersection of human rights, migration, corruption, and public security in Honduras and El Salvador. The latest installment looks at internal displacement in the two countries. "Internal displacement is often the precursor to international migration and means a life in hiding with fear and trauma and without protections," writes Daniella Burgi-Palomino.
  • Vast oil reserves discovered in recent years could make impoverished Guyana one of the region's richest countries -- if it can take advantage of the upcoming bonanza, argues Anthony T. Bryan in the Conversation. "Since full monetization of Guyana’s oil and gas resources will occur in five to 15 years, the country has less than a decade to deal with numerous energy-related hurdles, including unresolved territorial issues with Venezuela, environmental protection, wealth management and social concerns." In addition to environmental and infrastructure concerns, Bryan points to revenue management as a central concern, and says Guyana must move quickly to avoid the "resource curse" effect, when social conflict and economic instability result from unequal distribution of income from natural resources. "One way or another, oil riches will transform Guyana. With sound economic policy and thoughtful leadership, it can be for the better."
  • Ecuador's ruling party, Alianza País, ousted President Lenín Morales from the movement's leadership, reports EFE. Former Foreign Relations Minister Ricardo Patiño takes his place, and said the move responds to the president's lack of political coherence. The Alianza País leadership has opted for former President Rafael Correa in the midst of bitter schism between the two former allies. National Assembly President José Serrano, also of the AP, said he backs Moreno, and rejected the party director's decision, reports El Universal. Technically the ousting was justified through Moreno's absence from several party meetings, reports El Comercio.
  • On Monday Moreno criticized his predecessor's media policies, lauding the role of freedom of speech and the media in democracy. "One must not confuse the public with the governmental," he said. "The media cannot be converted into propaganda tools for the government nor, much less still, a party or political movement." He also promised to push forward with a plebiscite that could overturn some of Correa's polemic reforms, reports El Universal.
  • Former Chilean President Sebastian Piñera seems headed for victory in the country's upcoming presidential elections. The political swing this would indicate could be an opportunity for the country's right to inaugurate a new political cycle with broad appeal towards the center, argues Patricio Fernández in a New York Times Español op-ed. He also points to a left-wing identity crisis, that echoes similar instances around the region.
  • Theories that Pablo Neruda was killed by agents of Chile's military dictatorship in 1973 were revived by recent forensic findings that cast doubt on the official death certificate that pinned his passing on cancer. Regardless of the true causes, Ariel Dorfman remembers how the funereal, just weeks after the violent overthrow of Salvador Allende, "became the first act of public defiance against Chile’s new rulers." The "funeral was also a blueprint for how the resistance would eventually defeat Pinochet in the arduous years to come: by taking over every tiny and large space available, by pushing back the limits of what was permissible, by stating, in the face of bayonets and bullets, that silence would not prevail," he writes in a New York Times op-ed.
  • Argentina's government is proposing to slash corporate income taxes to 25 percent from 35 percent, part of a broad overhaul aimed at boosting economic growth and lowering inequality, according to officials. The Wall Street Journal reports on the announcement.
  • Mexican lawmakers voted to take a holiday, de facto ratifying the ousting of an anti-corruption prosecutor ousted last week by the attorney general's office, reports El País. Santiago Nieto was investigating alleged Odebrecht contributions to the ruling PRI party's 2012 electoral campaign, and was ousted after reporting pressures from a high-up party official in the media. (See Oct. 23's post.)
  • Researchers Guillermo Trejo and Sandra Ley tie Mexico's cartel wars and ongoing security crisis to the end of PRI's single-party rule, beginning at a state level in 1989. "Whereas criminal groups used to be able to count on a small cohort of political partners -- and their vast police forces -- for protection in perpetuity, the statehouse turnover and expectations of future uncertainty left them adrift. Kingpins responded by building private militias, essentially as a hedge against changing political winds," summarizes InSight Crime. "The existence of militarized wings in criminal groups across the country, combined with a steady flow of arms and the weakening of political authorities capable of decisively adjudicating underworld conflicts, fostered sustained bloodshed." The paper's findings are yet another argument against the much criticized "kingpin" strategy that targets cartel leaders, and favors policies aiming against criminal organizations' armed factions, according to InSight. (Earlier this week, an NYT Interpreter piece analyzed the links between Mexico's security crisis and the PRI's loss of the presidency, see Monday's briefs.)
  • Jokey proposals in Managua's mayoral race -- including filling Nicaragua's capital with 400 elephants -- show the decline of politics under President Daniel Ortega's questioned government, according to El País. Few in the country trust in the electoral institutions, and last year's presidential elections were questioned internationally.
  • Mexico's recent earthquakes particularly affected the capital's most chic neighborhoods, which are now facing a potential exodus of residents seeing more stability, reports the Los Angeles Times.
  • Hurricane Maria's devastation of Puerto Rico is having long term effects on employment -- and many of the jobs that have left will not be coming back, reports the Miami Herald.
  • Participants in Peru's Miss Universe Pageant broke with tradition and recited statistics detailing violence against women rather than give their body measurements, reports the BBC.
  • The dead vote frequently in some electoral districts. This week 15 Guatemalan legislators -- including Congressional President Oscar Chinchilla -- voted for a dead man to assume as an appeals court judge, notes Soy 502.
  • Nobody is safe from identity theft: two drug dealers in Argentina used President Mauricio Macri's national identity number to sell narcotics online, reports El País.

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