Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Political violence mars Mexico's campaign (May 15, 2018)

Political violence is stalking Mexico -- 94 people have been killed during the current election campaign, reports EFE. And consultancy Etellekt documented 305 cases of aggression against Mexican politicians and their families since the election season began last year. The homicides include 36 candidates and 44 relatives of people active in politics. The report notes that most of the attacks since the campaigns formally began in March have been directed against opposition politicians and candidates, reports Vanguardia.

Jose Remedios Aguirre, a mayoral hopeful for the leftist Morena party in Guanajuato state was killed on Friday. A member of a
farmworkers union and an expert in criminology, he was shot while campaigning, reports Animal Político.

Former community police force leader Nestora Salgado said she will return to her native Guerrero to run for Senate for the Morena party, and asked authorities for proper protections from death threats she has received, reports Animal Político separately.
News Briefs

Other Mexico news
  • Journalist Juan Carlos Huerta was killed leaving his house this morning, reports Animal Político. The killing occurred on the one year anniversary of the assassination of journalist Javier Valdez.
  • AMLO has made the Peña Nieto education reform a punching bag (see yesterday's briefs). Five years after its implementation the signature policy doesn't appear to have changed much, and is criticized for spending more on PR than on teacher training, reports the Guardian.
  • Mothers of Mexico's tens of thousands of disappeared have created a new mother's day tradition: participating in "dignity marches" commemorating their vanished loved ones, reports the Los Angeles Times.
  • While the U.S. takes a hardline stance in NAFTA renegotiations, partners Mexico and Canada have sought to hedge their by diversifying trade agreements with other countries, warns Atlantic Council director Jason Marczak in USA Today.
LatAm Economy
  • The Inter-American Development Bank predicts economic growth for the region, but the rate will likely be too slow to satisfy Latin America's middle class, reports the Miami Herald.
  • A national dialogue aimed at ending a crisis that has killed over 50 people over the past month, mediated by the Nicaraguan Episcopal Conference, is set to start tomorrow, reports EFE. (See yesterday's post.)
  • An estimated 5,000 people are fleeing Venezuela daily, many along a 215 km route through the Amazon known as the "Hunger Highway," reports the Guardian.
  • Venezuela's cryptocurrency, the Petro, is supported by a little known Russian bank, reports the Associated Press.
  • ConocoPhillips' decision to seize Pdvsa's Caribbean assets could set a dangerous precedent that could hurt the Venezuelan state oil company's ability to operate, reports the Miami Herald. Houston based Conoco is seeking to recover $2 billion in a decade-old dispute over the expropriation of its Venezuelan oil projects. This week a Curaçao court authorized the company to seize $636 million worth of assets held on the Dutch island, reports the Associated Press.
  • Among the many shortages Caracas residents now deal with is water, reports the Economist.
  • "Rather than fear a coup, the international community should encourage all Venezuelans — including soldiers — to restore democracy," argued former U.S. assistant secretary of state for western affairs, Roger Noriega, argued in a New York Times op-ed last week.
  • Lima Group leaders, gathered in Mexico City, called on Venezuela's government to cancel next Sunday's elections, reports Reuters(See yesterday's briefs.)
  • Three Guatemalan indigenous leaders have been killed in separate incidents over the past week. All were members of groups that fought for land rights and against mining and hydroelectric projects that threatened their communities, reports the Associated Press.
  • A group of Honduran human rights defenders, including Radio Progreso's Padre Melo, are touring the U.S. in order to raise awareness of how the U.S. is complicit in creating circumstances that push thousands of migrants to flee poverty and violence, according to the National Catholic Reporter.
  • Leaving aside voter favorite, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, right-wing candidate Jair Bolsonaro is leading in opinion polls ahead of October's presidential election in Brazil. Lula will likely be barred from running due to a corruption conviction. Bolsonaro has 18.3, followed by environmentalist Marina Silva with 11 percent. Lula easily led the pack when his name was included in the running, with 32.4, reports Reuters.
Argentine déjà vu
  • Argentina's labor leaders are calling for a strike against austerity measures, expected to become tougher as the government negotiates credit with the IMF, reports EFE.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump called his Argentine counterpart, Mauricio Macri, to support his economic reform agenda, reports Reuters.
  • The BBC interviews El Faro director José Luis Sanz. The digital paper is turning 20-years-old and Sanz looks at how the region has evolved. Over the past two decades, "I think we have a less hopeful region, that has a certain sense of exhaustion with the tools for which it fought for decades: I am speaking of democratic tools, of contexts of freedom of press, spaces of pluralism, that were supposed to be a port of arrival or a framework of a solution." The piece notes El Faro's impressive list of awards.
Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take?  Let me know ... Latin America Daily Briefing

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