Friday, December 8, 2017

Honduran electoral commission conducting partial recount (Dec. 8, 2017)

News Briefs
  • The way of of Honduras' political crisis will be through the negotiating table, and there is speculation the two candidates disputing the election are cooking up a private deal, reports the Economist. "Mr Hernández would remain president; the Alliance would refuse to recognise his government but would not call its supporters onto the streets. In exchange, Mr Hernández would offer concessions including, perhaps, fresh elections next year or a promise to leave office after his second term."
  • The roots of the current political crisis lie in the 2009 coup against then president Manuel Zelaya, a situation the U.S. is partially responsible for fomenting, according to the Guardian. "As one of the US’s closest allies in Central America, Honduras will probably serve as a litmus test for how the US will treat other allies with similar stained reputations." The piece cites Woodrow Wilson Center's Eric Olsen who calls the country an example of "the kinds of crisis and violence that can emerge when transparency is undermined to guarantee political favour." In the same piece, WOLA's Adam Isacson points out that an unstable Honduras will foment gangs and drug trafficking, pushing more migrants towards the U.S.
  • Yesterday Honduras' Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) initiated the recount of a portion of the votes in the disputed presidential election, but not the totality requested by the opposition, reports La Prensa. The TSE will focus on the 4,753 ballot boxes whose returns came in after election night, a demand of the OAS electoral mission, reports Reuters.
  • The global homicide rate rose last year for the first time in more than a decade, with marked increases in Venezuela and Jamaica, according to the annual Small Arms Survey published yesterday. The report estimated that 385,000 people were killed in homicides across the world in 2016, an increase of 8,000 on the previous year. Of the five countries with the highest violent death rates in 2016 – Syria, El Salvador, Venezuela, Honduras, and Afghanistan – only two had armed conflicts last year, reports the Guardian.
  • The Venezuelan government's sketchy plan to launch a cryptocurrency is seen by Washington as a sign of increasing desperation reports the Miami Herald. The country's  inflation rate could surpass 2,000 percent by year’s end — worse than war-ravaged economies like South Sudan and Libya, notes the Miami Herald in a separate piece. Figures released by the opposition-led Congress, show consumer prices rising by 1,369 percent between January and November, reports Reuters. (See Wednesday's briefs.)
  • Venezuela's opposition can't seem to decide whether to participate in elections, reports the Guardian. Currently many have called for a boycott of Sunday's mayoral elections, citing unfair conditions. Several leaders said the elections are rigged and the government has unfairly limited candidate eligibility. But sitting out elections can backfire according to many analysts. 
  • A Brazilian clown turned politicians said he will not run for reelection because he is ashamed of fellow lawmakers, reports the Associated Press.
  • An Argentine federal judge asked the Senate to strip former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of parliamentary immunity, in order to permit her arrest in a treason criminal case. Fernández is currently a Senator, and has parliamentary immunity from detention, though not prosecution. Judge Claudio Bonadio detained several of her former government officials, including chief-of-staff Carlos Zannini and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, in a case accusing them of colluding with the Iranian government to cover up a 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish center, reports the New York Times. El Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS) criticized a new trend in pre-trial detention for former government functionaries. Judges have argued that the former members of government could hinder investigations because of their connections. But this kind of argument, deployed generically as it has been, violates due process, according to CELS. "If the objective parameters of procedural risk are not met, preventive prison is a disproportionate and illegal measure that violates the principals of due process and implies a violation of constitutional guarantees. If there is no due process, it is an instrumentalization of the penal process to persecute political opponents." Critics suggest that Bonadio's accusations may serve as an insurance policy for the magistrate who is under investigation over allegations of money laundering and illicit enrichment, notes the Washington Post.
  • The loss of an Argentine submarine with a 44-person crew last month highlights the sorry state of the country's armed forces, which suffered an irremediable loss of prestige after widespread human rights violations during the last dictatorship in 1976-1983. Yet, the Economist argues that Argentina cannot afford to jettison its armed forces. "Most defence experts agree that Argentina, the world’s eighth-largest country by area, needs fighter jets, ships and submarines to deter potential enemies." Rather the magazine argues for an integral reform, though it admits the costs might be more than the government can afford.
  • A far lovelier -- Costa Rica-style -- suggestion from a New York Times Español op-ed by Martín Caparrós, in which he argues that there is little reason for the military to continue existing at all -- given its lack of funding and armament, it would hardly be up to facing credible threats anyway. Rather than to join a very expensive arms race, he argues Argentines should "make virtue of necessity and declare that we don't want or need an army, transform Argentina into an unarmed -- or relatively unarmed -- country and say we are more good and reasonable and wonderful. And, perhaps, somebody may believe us. Ourselves, for example." He warns of continuing repression of indigenous protesters in Argentina's south, leading to the death of a 22-year old Mapuche two weeks ago. And links the government's blind support of security forces to old thinking that permitted the disappearance of tens of thousands of opponents of the last dictatorship. "Two tragedies cross each other: the death of a young Argentine, the death of 44 argentine sailors. There are those who want to use them to recover the place and prestige of armed forces that don't seem useful. Hopefully some will see it as an opportunity to discuss the contrary option: leaving behind armed forces without visible function, that bungle the little the do because they don't have the means nor the ends to do it. It would be -- at last -- an authentic change, a new road: an example."

No comments:

Post a Comment