Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Trump threatens new migrant caravan, Central American gov'ts (Oct. 16, 2018)

U.S. President Donald Trump has again fixated on a caravan of Central American migrants attempting to reach the U.S. On Twitter Trump threatened to cut aid to Honduras if the group of approximately 1,600 migrants was not deterred from crossing into Guatemala. Nonetheless migrants crossed into Guatemala yesterday, twice convincing police to allow them to pass, reports the Associated PressEl Periódico reports that the migrants sang the Honduran national anthem while walking at a deployment of Guatemalan police blocking the road ahead -- the officers parted to let them pass and escorted them along the walk. (See also Nómada.)

“The United States has strongly informed the President of Honduras that if the large Caravan of people heading to the U.S. is not stopped and brought back to Honduras, no more money or aid will be given to Honduras, effective immediately!” Trump said on Twitter.

The group started out from San Pedro Sula, one of the world’s most dangerous cities, on Friday, but grew in size since then, as migrants seek safety in numbers for the dangerous trek, reports the Washington Post. Some reports, including Reuters, have put the group's current number at 3,000.

Yesterday Mexico's immigration authority warned that migrants would have to individually meet legal requirements to enter the country.

Guatemala said in a statement on Sunday that it did not promote or endorse “irregular migration.” The Guatemalan government promised to comply with U.S. demands to halt the mass migration attempt. The Guardian notes that Guatemala's government is seeking U.S. support in its attempts to shut down the CICIG. (See below.)

News Briefs

  • Guatemalan Public Ministry head Consuelo Porras has remained publicly ambivalent regarding President Jimmy Morales' attempts to disarm the U.N. backed independent anti-corruption commission (CICIG). But in private she is opposed to their work continuing, and has taken steps to hinder the phased approach to taking down corruption networks, according to Nómada.
  • Yesterday Porras announced an investigation into the administration of her predecessor in the post, Thelma Aldana -- alleging improprieties in naming regional prosecutors, reports Nómada. In a press conference yesterday, Porras said eight promotions to regional prosecutor posts made Aldana were plagued with irregularities. Officials said they were pressured to resign from their posts, reports El Periódico. (See yesterday's briefs.) Porras said the investigation into Aldana would also include other alleged improprieties, reports República.
  • She also requested funds to pay for old contracts considered irregular by two of her predecessors. (Nómada)
  • There is talk of implementing a Fiscalía Transnacional in lieu of the current area of the public ministry that works with the CICIG, a way of undercutting corruption investigations, reports Nómada.
  • More CICIG officials were denied visas to work in Guatemala, reports CNN Español.
More on Migration
  • Would-be asylum seekers trying to cross from Mexico to the U.S. are stuck in physical limbo between the two countries -- thanks to a change in how the U.S. processes applicants, reports the Guardian.
  • Another part of the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" regime towards migrants warps the intent of a visa aimed at helping undocumented immigrants who have been victims of violence and who cooperate with the investigation or prosecution of crimes. Now victims who are denied the visa are automatically deported, intolerably raising the stakes for those who seek justice, reports the Guardian.
  • A U.S. federal judge ordered the immediate reunification of an asylum seeking father who has been separated by immigration authorities from his two-year-old son for six months. (Guardian)
  • An increase in Chinese migration to the Caribbean -- where many immigrants open-family run business -- is reshaping the economies and societies, reports Ozy.
  • Nicaragua's government freed 30 protesters who were detained Sunday while trying to participate in a protest march, reports AFP. (See yesterday's post.)
  • Two top aides to Peruvian opposition leader Keiko Fujimori were arrested while participating in a political demonstration yesterday. The detention deepens a political crisis, after the Popular Force leader was arrested on charges of corruption last week. The advisors were accused of participating in a criminal network led by Fujimori. (Reuters and La República)
  • Far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro is maintaining his lead ahead of Oct. 28's run-off election. An Ibope poll released yesterday puts Bolsonaro at 59 percent of the vote, and his rival, Workers' Party candidate Fernando Haddad at 41. Haddad also has a higher rejection rate than the front-runner: 47 percent to Bolsonaro's 35. (Reuters)
  • PT expectations of a broad democratic front against Bolsonaro -- known for anti-democratic, mysogynist, and racist incendiary comments -- have not come to pass. Instead most major parties have opted for neutrality in the upcoming vote, reports Bloomberg.
  • Haddad must overcome voter anger at PT corruption and "persuade voters that he represents the hope of salvaging Brazilian democracy," writes Bryan McCann at Dissent.
  • Arnaldo Antunes published a broadly shared spoken manifesto against political violence.
  • Landless movement leader Aluisio Sampaio, known as Alenquer, was murdered in Brazil's Mato Grosso state last week. (Mongabay)
  • State-owned Venezuelan oil company PDVSA will pay holders of its 2020 bond some $950 million this month, after failing to make interest payments on most other bonds this year, reports Reuters.
  • The EU is not contemplating further sanctions against Venezuela at this moment, according to EFE.
  • Mexican authorities detained a man accused of participating in the killing of activist Miriam Rodriguez on Mothers Day last year. (Associated Press)
  • More than 700 residents of the Chilean coastal towns of Quintero and Puchuncavi have been hospitalized due to pollution in the past month and a half. (EFE)
  • Chile’s environmental court ordered Canada’s Barrick Gold Corp to definitively close the Chilean side of its stalled Pascua-Lama project, reports Reuters.
  • Hundreds of government workers in Barbados will be laid off over the coming weeks as part of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) economic recovery and transformation plan. (Caribbean 360)
  • The International Monetary Fund said it will reopen an office in Argentina, six years after leaving. (AFP)
  • Ecuador is setting stricter rules for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. (Guardian)
  • NACLA has the English version of a piece in which Pablo Stefanoni argues that the region's left must devise new alternatives in the face of a rising right-wing fueled by the Pink Tides' successes and failures. 
Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take? Let me know ...



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