Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Flash-mob protests in Nicaragua (April 16, 2019)

News Briefs

  • It's been nearly a year since popular protests against Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega began to clash with security forces and paramilitary groups. So far negotiations remain stalled, and protests have been met with repression. The opposition Blue and White National Unity coalition is now focusing on "flash-mob" style protests,  where protesters dispersed around the city block traffic, demonstrate and then disappear before police arrive, reports the Guardian.
Regional Relations
  • Canada has been pressuring Nicaragua's Sandinista government, in response to human rights abuses. But unlike its diplomacy with Venezuela, the country has chosen to keep its actions quiet in this case, reports CBA.

  • The U.S. Pentagon is developing military options aimed at deterring Russian, Cuban and Chinese influence in Venezuela -- but without actual use of military force, reports CNN.
  • China vehemently rejected U.S. accusations that the country is "spreading chaos" in Latin America by bankrolling Venezuela's government. (Guardian and Associated Press)
  • The U.S .must stop trying to bring about regime change in Venezuela, at risk of creating another "Syria," argues Michael Lüders in International Politics and Society.
  • The U.S. move to cut off aid to Central America's Northern Triangle is a ruinous policy, for all the countries involved, argues the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Mark Schneider in the Washington Times.
  • Most migrants in Mexico hoping to get to the U.S. are Central American -- but the country is also a transit point for migrants from African countries, reports the Washington Post.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump's latest migration proposal could involve sending asylum applicants to U.S. sanctuary cities. (NYU IR Insider)
  • Last week Colombian lawmakers resounding rejected President Iván Duque's proposals to modify the transitional justice system established by the 2016 FARC peace accord. (See last Tuesday's briefs.) Most of the international community voiced concern over the attempt, which experts say would undermine the peace process. But U.S. ambassador Kevin Whitaker was a notable exception. El Espectador reports that he lobbied Colombian lawmakers and said U.S. aid was in play. (Adam Isacson has analysis and translation.)
  • Colombia is again debating whether to use glyphosate in combatting illicit coca cultivation. There is considerable political and international pressure -- from the U.S. -- to resume aerial use of the cancer-linked herbicide, but it would nonetheless be a mistake, argues Jorge Eduardo Espinosa in a New York Times Español op-ed.
  • A dispute between Haiti and a U.S. energy company is causing blackout and fuel shortages, increasing anger at President Jovel Moïse's government, reports Reuters.
  • The Real News Network takes a closer look at the Port-au-Prince La Saline massacre last year that killed at least 77 people.
  • Police will escort paramedics in Mexico's Guanajuato state, after an episode this weekend in which armed men threatened Red Cross volunteers and pulled a wounded person from an ambulance. The region has become one of the country's most violent, due to conflict between criminal groups, reports the Guardian.
  • Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is betting on austerity rather than fiscal reform -- a paradoxical stance given his campaign promises to overturn neoliberal economic policies, writes Juan Carlos Moreno-Brid at the Aula Blog. "... What Mexico really needs is a profound fiscal reform – strengthening public revenues, modernizing public investment strategies, and strengthening its development banks – to foster growth and equality with long-term debt sustainability and greater countercyclical capacity."
  • AMLO proposed a "Robin Hood" institute to return confiscated goods to the public, reports Reuters.
  • Investigators found the remains of at least 39 people in 20 clandestine graves in two Mexican states over the weekend, reports EFE.
  • Two British foreign secretaries gave Ecuadorean President Lenín Moreno written assurance that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange cannot be extradited if he could potentially face the death penalty in the requesting country, reports the Guardian. (See yesterday's briefs.)
  • Brazilian men have a more positive take on feminism than women, according to a new Datafolha poll.
  • New York's Museum of Natural History scrapped a privately organized black-tie gala honoring Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro after a public outcry, reports the Guardian. (See yesterday's briefs.)
  • Bolsonaro hasn't yet outlined a full public security policy, but what he's discussed so far is likely to increase rather than reduce violence, said researcher Yanilda Maria González in an interview with UOL.
  • A new project aims to take neonatal jaundice treatment to rural Peru. (Guardian)
  • Newly declassified U.S. intelligence documents show that European governments sought advice from the Southern Cone's bloody military dictatorships' Plan Condor in the 1970s, over how to combat leftwing "subversions," reports the Guardian
Literature and History
  • The Guardian does a deep-dive into Guyana's Scottish history, and how it's been hidden.
  • Eighty year's after General Francisco Franco's dictatorship started in Spain, his literary legacy of censorship remains -- many texts in Spanish are still missing parts, an undiscussed effect that impacts readers throughout the Spanish-speaking world, writes Jordi Cornellà-Detrell in the Conversation.

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

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