Friday, October 5, 2018

Respite for Haitian, Nicaraguan, Salvadoran and Sudanese TPS holders (Oct. 5, 2018)

A U.S. judge temporarily blocked the Trump administration's plans to end a visa program that shielded about 30,000 immigrants from Haiti, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Sudan. The Temporary Protected Status allows thousands of immigrants to live and work legally in the U.S. after war or major natural disasters in their own countries. The judge granted the injunction as part of a California lawsuit filed by lawyers -- including the ACLU -- on behalf of TPS recipients from the four countries who have U.S.-born children. (Miami Herald)

The Trump administration decided to terminate TPS for nationals from the four countries, among others, affecting 263,000 Salvadoran beneficiaries, 58,000 from Haiti, 5,000 from Nicaragua and 1,000 from Sudan. (El País) Immigration advocates have countered the government's argument that the disasters in those countries that justified TPS have since resolved. In the cases of Central American and Haiti, advocates say termination of the program will overwhelm possibilities in the immigrants home countries, and cut off a source of valuable remittances. (See for example posts for Jan. 9 and Nov. 17, 2017.)

Yesterday, U.S. District judge Edward Chen, from the Northern District of California, said the administration's decisions to end protection for those nationals appears to motivated by racism. He cited a list of presidential statements that suggest Trump "harbors an animus against non-white, non European aliens." (Quartz and Center for Public Integrity)

News Briefs

  • Brazilians head to the polls Sunday in a closely contested election. No candidate is expected to win outright, but far-right wing candidate Jair Bolsonaro and Workers' Party candidate Fernando Haddad are expected to pass to a second-round. The Intercept notes the backdrop of ongoing economic downturn, high level corruption scandals, unemployment and rising violence -- making for one of the craziest election seasons ever. The Guardian says some are calling it the most critical election in the country's history.
  • The Washington Post compares Bolsonaro -- known for incendiary remarks against women and minorities, and advocacy of heavy handed repression of suspected criminals -- to Donald Trump.
  • As noted in yesterday's briefs, many voters are not happy with the candidates, and are merely seeking the least bad option. With that logic, political conservatives, evangelicals and farmers are flocking to Bolsonaro, reports the Wall Street Journal.
  • Brian Winter at Americas Quarterly laments the front-runners anti-democratic rhetoric, which he says might be here to stay even if Bolsonaro doesn't win. "If he wins, there are signs that what’s coming could be a vindictive, bloody regime."
  • The Guardian interviews citizens across the country about who they're picking and why.
  • Brazil’s Superior Electoral Court (TSE) confirmedthat former President Dilma Rousseff has the right to compete for a Senate seat on Sunday. Challengers said she should be barred from running for office because she was impeached by Congress in 2016 for budget irregularities when she was president. (EFE)
  • Uruguay’s largest labor federation, the PIT-CNT, has joined with other social and political organizations to launch a committee to support democracy in Brazil and the release of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. (EFE)

Backyard diplomacy

  • U.S. Vice President Mike Pence accused China of "meddling in America's democracy." In a speech yesterday he charged China with interfering with American allies and enemies -- holding up Venezuela as a key example, saying Beijing has given a “lifeline” to the leaders there through $5 billion in questionable loans. He also blamed the Chinese Communist Party for convincing El Salvador, the Dominican Republic and Panama to sever ties with Taiwan in an effort to get closer with China, a U.S. trade adversary. (McClatchy and Voice of America

  • Peruvian lawmakers ousted a Supreme Court justice accused of participating in organized crime and influence peddling. The vote to strip  César Hinostroza Pariachi of his post was unanimous.  (La República and El Comercio)
  • Fujimori, who is 80-years-old and sentenced to 25 years in jail for human rights violations, said his heart will fail if he returns to prison. (La República)
  • Daniel Urresti, a front-runner for Lima's mayoral race, was absolved from charges of murdering a journalist three decades ago, report La República and the Guardian. (See Wednesday's briefs.)
  • Nicaraguan authorities tortured activists into making false confessions, recorded and distributed as propaganda. (Daily Beast)
  • Venezuelan authorities said Michelle Bachelet, the new U.N. human rights high commissioner, is welcome to visit the country. The invitation, coming after the United Nations Human Rights Council published a declaration that expresses concern for the "grave violations of human rights" is a "a significant window of opportunity," writes David Smilde in his Venezuelan Weekly
  • Though international pressure continues to increase against Venezuela's government, regional leaders are increasingly voicing frustration with the paralysis of Venezuela’s democratic opposition, writes Andres Oppenheimer in his Miami Herald column.
  • The DEA's top-ranking official in South America is under investigation. The agency received a complaint that Richard Dobrich directed Colombian drivers working for the U.S. Embassy in Bogota "to procure sex workers," reports the Associated Press. Dobrich, who was brought in three years ago in the wake of a separate scandal involving DEA agents and prostitutes, denies the allegations.
  • Colombian journalist Claudia Julieta Duque and her daughter, María Alejandra Gómez presented their case against Colombia before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) this week. They have been victims of abduction, threats, psychological torture, persecution and exile for years. (Knight Center)
  • Armed attacks on multinational companies operating in Colombia could indicate a new phase for the country's organized crime. (InSight Crime)
  • Argentina’s highest criminal court acquitted former President Carlos Menem of smuggling arms shipments to Ecuador and Croatia in the 1990s when both countries were involved in armed conflicts. The decision overturns a 2013 conviction because the principal of a "reasonable time frame" for sentencing was not met. The crimes took place between 1991 and 1995, and the case was started in 1995. (Associated Press)
  • Mexico's president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador came under attack for the lavish wedding of a top aide. (Guardian)
  • A former PRI presidential candidate said he had information that the 2006 presidential elections were rigged against AMLO, who lost to Felipe Calderón. (Al Jazeera)
  • A group of Paraguayan farmers said they might return to marijuana cultivation, after the government failed to follow through on crop substitution promises. (InSight Crime)
  • Around 30,000 people marched in Santiago yesterday on the second day of a nationwide teachers’ strike. (EFE)
  • Chile's embattled Catholic Church was slammed this week for issuing guidelines that included suggestions that priests not touch children's genitals. (Washington Post)
  • How to Read Donald Duck, the Chilean anti-imperialist classic is out in English and relevant again, writes author Ariel Dorfman in the Guardian.

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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