Thursday, December 20, 2018

Nicaragua expels human rights experts (Dec. 20, 2018)

Nicaragua's government expelled two groups of international experts investigating allegations of human rights abuses by security forces during anti-government protests this year. The two groups affected are the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights' Special Monitoring Mechanism for Nicaragua (Meseni) and the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts, or GIEI. Both are under the aegis of the OAS, and the Ortega administration said the move was in response to antagonistic statements by OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro. Technically they were suspended "until conditions of respect for sovereignty and internal affairs are re-established." However the experts were kicked out just a day before the GIEI was set to present a report on its findings. (Associated PressAFP and El País)

The experts were asked to leave the country immediately, and were accused of spreading false information by the foreign ministry. They “faced a government that blocked and boycotted their work, by closing down all spaces for dialogue and monitoring and by denying them access to essential information in fulfilling their mandates,” said CEJIL. (Confidencial)

Nonetheless, the IACHR promised to continue its work investigating rights violations in Nicaragua. It denounced the beginning of a new phase in Nicaragua's repression, aimed at silencing, intimidating, and criminalizing government critics.

More from Nicaragua
  • Journalists from Confidencial and Esta Semana, whose offices were raided and occupied by police last week, denounced the national police on charges that include organized crime, reports el Confidencial. (See Monday's post.)
  • The Washington Post editorial board criticized the ongoing crackdown which has intensified and focused on independent voices in Nicaragua.
  • The repression has hit Nicaragua's universities particularly hard, and university's are virtually held hostage, reports Science.
  • Argentina recalled its ambassador to Nicaragua, citing raids to organizations of civil society last week, reports Ámbito. (See last Friday's post.)
  • Two campesino leaders were condemned of terrorism and killing police officers in a proceeding plagued with irregularities, reports Confidencial.
News Briefs

  • Eleven investigators with the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala were given 72 hours to leave the country, after their diplomatic status was not renewed and their visas expired. The move affects some of the professionals working on the commission's high-profile cases, including the investigation of corruption allegations against President Jimmy Morales' relatives, among others. (Concriterio and InSight Crime)
El Salvador
  • Backlash against Salvadoran attorney general Douglas Meléndez, who has targeted high profile cases of political corruption in his three-year tenure, could cost him a second term, reports Reuters. Lawmakers must vote before Jan. 5 on whether to renew his mandate, but he has earned powerful enemies in response to his work, another example of the hurdles the region's anti-corruption efforts must overcome.
  • Theater is therapy for the member's of El Salvador's El Cachada troupe, where real street vendors bare their darkest secrets on stage. (Wall Street Journal)
Militarization in Lat Am
  • Decades after Latin America embraced democracy, internal security is increasingly militarized in response to public safety crises. The latest issue of Nueva Sociedad focuses on the potential impact of military policing on democracy.
  • An Honduran migrant recently deported from the U.S. was shot and killed near his home in Tegucigalpa, reports Reuters.
  • Whatever the reality behind the mysterious symptoms suffered by U.S. and Canadian diplomats posted in Cuba -- the so-called Havana Syndrome -- it has had very real effects on diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba, which has hurt ordinary Cubans economically, reports the Guardian.
  • Earlier this year Bolivia lost its latest bid to obtain sovereign access to Pacific ports, with a negative ruling from the International Court of Justice. (See Oct. 1's briefs.) Its landlocked condition does indeed come at a high economic cost, but instead of persisting in its quest to force Chile to negotiate, the Bolivia would be better served by constructing alliances with South American trade blocs, argue Belén Olmos Giupponi and Homagni Choudhury in the Conversation.
  • Brazil's chief justice put off till April a decision on whether to free former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva from jail, reports Reuters.
  • A third of the medical positions opened in Brazil by the sudden termination of a Cuban program -- about 2,400 -- have not been filled, reports Reuters. (See Nov. 15's post.)
  • Brazilian took rare action against a group of illegal loggers and ranchers in a remote area of the Amazon where the Kawahiva tribe lives. (Reuters)
  • Jair Bolsonaro's rise in Brazil represents the disembarkment of the "alt-right" in Latin America, in juxtaposition to the republican conservative response to leftist populists exemplified by Argentina's Mauricio Macri. The danger is the "Bolsonarization" of political discourse, argues Pablo Stefanoni in Nueva Sociedad.
  • The Trump administration is considering an international challenge to Peru’s deforestation of the Amazon. The unusual defense of the environment is an overture to Democrats concerned about the new free trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, reports the New York Times.
  • Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador backtracked on steep cut to higher education in next year's budget. (Reuters)
  • AMLO said the government does not engage in wiretapping, and urged citizens to use their phones freely. (EFE)
  • The online platform Foto Féminas brings together a virtual community of experienced and emerging female photographers, reports the New York Times.
Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take? Let me know ...

No comments:

Post a Comment