Monday, November 12, 2018

Ongoing persecution in Nicaragua (Nov. 12, 2018)

Nicaragua's government and opposition forces are at an impasse after months of violence against anti-government protests, though official repression continues. Peaceful resolution will require overcoming mutual distrust and guarantees from the international community argues Richard Feinberg in a Brookings Institution report. "The way forward can combine reforms of the electoral institutions and the Supreme Court, as well as credible terms for election monitoring, with guarantees for Ortega and his family that secure their eventual departure."

After the violence this year, resolution would also require a cleansing of the national police -- which participated in heavy handed repression -- and disbanding of paramilitary groups that target anti-government protesters, he writes -- emphasizing the economic consequences of the current crisis.

In the wake of brutal violence, street protests have largely died down. But critics are being persecuted with Nicaragua's anti-terrorism law, passed earlier this year, which could land them in jail for up to 20 years. At least 18 people have so far been found guilty, and over 200 have been charged, write Sarah Kinosian and Carlos Pérez Osorio in The Intercept.

The Catholic Church played a key role in supporting protesters and providing sanctuary at times. Now Silvio José Báez, auxiliary archbishop of Managua, has become the target of a smear campaign accusing him of orchestrating a coup. It has resulted in a barrage of death threats. (Guardian and Confidencial)

About 150 Nicaraguan leaders living abroad gathered in Washington DC this weekend to promote international solidarity with victims of the repression and political persecution in Nicaragua. (Confidencial and Nicaragua Freedom Coalition)

News Briefs

  • Mexico is taking conflicting stances towards migrants -- on the one hand locals and municipal officials have warmly embraced the main caravan of Hondurans walking across the country, but federal authorities are cracking down on smaller groups outside of the media focus. (New York Times)
  • Locals in many of the country's poorest regions have poured out to offer whatever assistance they can to the migrants -- some motivated by thoughts of their own relatives living illegally in the U.S. But more affluent Mexicans are complaining on social media, exposing a xenophobic views similar to those espoused by the right in the U.S. (Guardian and Washington Post)
  • Incoming Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador has promised an about face in migration policy, and will establish a program that "is not subordinated to the U.S.," said his pick for the national institute of migration. (Animal Político)
  • The main caravan left Mexico City Friday, and the group started heading to Tijuana, a route that state human rights commissions will seek to protect them along. (New York Times) (Animal Político has more on the various caravans' progress through the country.)
  • Once they traverse the 1,700 miles to Tijuana, they will face the U.S. Trump administration's newly restricted asylum options and long waits at legal ports of entry. (Washington Post, see Friday's post.)
  • Trump's much debated border wall proposal will likely fail to advance in the newly elected Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, argues Andrés Oppenheimer in the Miami Herald.
  • Two separate U.S. Coast Guard operations repatriated 36 Cubans and 86 Haitians intercepted in boats. (Miami Herald and Miami Herald)
  • The migrant caravans that set out from Honduras in October, "helped to further highlight the failures of the JOH regime and how it comes back to haunt his US allies who back(ed) him," writes Daniel Langmeier in the Honduras Forum Switzerland monthly report.
El Salvador
  • A 20-year-old woman is facing a 20 years in jail for attempted murder, after giving birth in a latrine. Imelda Cortez has been in custody for over a year, after giving birth to a baby girl fathered by her abusive elderly stepfather. The baby survived the birth, and the mother said she had no idea she was pregnant. She'd been abused by her stepfather since the age of 12. (Guardian)
  • Chile's former army chief was convicted for complicity in the deaths of 15 people during the early days of Augusto Pinochet’s military regime. (Reuters)
  • Ten people were killed and 11 injured in a mudslide in Niterói, near Rio de Janeiro. (Associated Press)
  • With Brazilian indigenous reserves increasingly under threat, the New York Times profiles one tribe's efforts to oust illegal mining operations.
  • Highways in Brazil are deadly for wildlife -- a newly published study looks at roadkill. (New York Times)

Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take? Let me know ...

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