Tuesday, November 27, 2018

San Ysidro tensions grow (Nov. 27, 2018)

Clashes at the San Ysidro border crossing between Mexico and the U.S. stem, in part, from confusion regarding what rights migrants have while they wait to begin applying for asylum in the U.S., reports the New York Times. The number of migrants in Tijuana, already beyond capacity, is set to double once all the caravans arrive. (See yesterday's post.)

The case is creating a humanitarian emergency along the border, and presents incoming Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador with a political crisis even before he assumes office this weekend. He will be forced to choose between promises of humanitarian migration policies and the need for good relations with the U.S., according to the New York Times.
The New York Times has the story behind a Reuters photo that has provoked outrage among migrant advocates: a woman with two young children in diapers fleeing tear gas thrown by U.S. authorities. "I thought my kids were going to die with me because of the gas we inhaled," said María Meza about the picture. (See yesterday's post.) U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan defended the use of tear gas. (Los Angeles Times)

News Briefs

  • Mexican prosecutors requested a 50 year jail sentence for the alleged killer of journalist Javier Valdéz last year. (El País)
  • The day after Valdéz was killed, his colleagues received text messages infected with Pegasus spying software. It's the latest revelation in a series of illegal uses of surveillance technology purchased by the Mexican government, reports the New York Times. The Citizen Lab has confirmed nearly two dozen targets that include some of Mexico’s most prominent journalists, human rights lawyers and anticorruption activists. (See post for July 11, 2017, for example.)
  • The latest witness in El Chapo's trial portrays Sinaloa Cartel kingpin Joaquín Guzmán in the early days of his drug smuggling operation, when it resembled a scrappy startup, according to the New York Times.
  • An investigation by Proceso found that one of El Chapo's sons, Alfredo Guzmán Salazar, lived in Medellín for several months in 2016, under the protection of one of the city's most powerful gangs. (InSight Crime)
  • Human Rights Watch urged Argentine prosecutors to charge Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman with war crimes and torture if he attends this week's G-20 summit in Buenos Aires. HRW argued that Argentine courts should invoke a universal jurisdiction statute in Argentinian law, to seek prosecution of the Crown Prince for mass civilian casualties caused by the Saudi-led coalition’s campaign in Yemen, and for the torture of Saudi citizens, reports the Guardian. It will be the most significant challenge faced by Prince Mohammed since the killing of the Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi earlier this year, according to the New York Times
Fake news
  • Nine countries are participating in an "international grand committee session on fake news" in the U.K. Lawmakers will grill Richard Allan, Facebook’s vice-president of policy solutions today at the House of Commons. Representatives from Argentina and Brazil will participate. The Guardian reports that Argentine electoral authorities are seeking to reduce the impact of fake news on next year's presidential election.
  • Allegations against Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández's brother show the extensive influence of drug traffickers over the Honduran state and could tarnish JOH's reputation, according to the New York Times. Or a demonstration of Honduran elites' active role in the drug trade, for InSight Crime. (See yesterday's briefs.)
  • A year after questioned presidential elections in Honduras last year ratified Hernández, the country remains in a political crisis that has contributed to the mass exodus of migrants, reports Al Jazeera.
  • U.S. support for JOH is no different than the country's historic support for Central American dictators, writes Dana Frank in a new book: The Long Honduran Night: Resistance, Terror, and the Aftermath of the Coup. In Jacobin she explains why she's taken to calling the Honduran president an axe murderer, though the term doesn't "capture the systemic way in which raw violence is countenanced, encouraged, and committed by the post-coup Honduran government as an institution, and directed especially at social justice activists, land rights defenders, the opposition, and journalists."
  • North Korea’s ceremonial leader Kim Yong Nam was expected to meet with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in Caracas this week, reports Reuters.
  • Bitcoin was touted as a potential work around to Venezuela's failing currency, but it turns out that the cryptocurrency only moderately outperformed the bolivar this year. (Washington Post Wonkblog)
  • Crop substitution has been tough on coca farmers switching to legal products, reports NPR.
  • Peruvian prosecutors are close to reaching a final deal with Odebrecht regarding bribes paid by the Brazilian construction giant for Peruvian public works contracts. (Reuters)
  • Brazilian president-elect Jair Bolsonaro added a fifth military man to his cabinet, retired General Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz who will serve as minister in charge of political relations with Congress. (Reuters)
  • Bolsonaro's ascent "reflects Brazil’s long, enduring, and foundational antiblackness" write Jaime A. Alves and Joao Costa Vargas in NACLA.
  • Rio de Janeiro's elevator attendants are part of a dying breed. (New York Times)
Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take? Let me know ...

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