A group of Latin American conservative government appealed to sovereignty in a private letter that asked the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to respect local realities when it comes to enforcing the region's human rights protection system. Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Paraguay asked both the IACHR and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to grant a greater margin of independence for each country to resolve on its own the best ways to guarantee citizen rights and processes.
Such a course of action would gravely compromise the international organs' work, said Human Rights Watch in a critical response. Americas Director José Miguel Vivanco said the sovereignty argument contains language and rhetoric that seems adapted from Hugo Chávez and Rafael Correa's play-books, and that the push would greatly weaken the IACHR and the Inter-American court's ability to protect human rights.
- Reforma editor Juan Pardenas was the target of death threats, harassment and doxxing attempts, said Article 19. An online campaign against the newspaper and Pardenas -- accusing them of collusion with drug cartels -- started after President Andrés Manuel López Obrador criticized the paper in a morning press conference, reports Animal Político. (In a recent NYT op-ed, Jorge Ramos expressed concern about AMLO's consistent criticism of journalists in a country that is one of the world's deadliest for reports. See April 18's briefs.)
- Mexico's Chamber of Deputies passed a bill that would eliminate teacher evaluations and return some power to unions, overturning key aspects of a 2013 education reform bill. (Associated Press)
- AMLO said the government will backtrack a contract to buy books from a close friend of his, in order to avoid perceptions of wrongdoing. (Animal Político)
- About 1,300 migrants broke out of a Mexican detention center yesterday. It's a sign of how the immigration surge is over-stretching the country's resources, in the midst of a U.S. pressured crack-down, reports Reuters. Over half of the migrants returned to the Siglo XXI facility in Chiapas, but 600 remained unaccounted for. Most of the center's migrants hail from Cuba, but also Haiti and Central America, said authorities. (See Wednesday's briefs and yesterday's.)
- The number of Central American women fleeing domestic and gang violence is rising. Many face additional trauma, abuse and violence before they cross the U.S. border seeking asylum, and then again in detention by U.S. immigration authorities. (Conversation)
Central America and Climate Change
- Central America's "Dry Corridor" -- which runs from Panama to Guatemala -- is extremely vulnerable to climate change and is undergoing a largely overlooked food crisis, reports EFE. (See April 8's post.)
- PRI reports on how climate change is affecting El Salvador's coffee industry, yet another factor pushing migration.
- Salvadoran prosecutors seized 61 properties linked to a massive corruption case against former president Mauricio Funes. He is accused of embezzling $351 million from state coffers, but was granted asylum in Nicaragua. (AFP)
- Former Salvadoran officials on trial in relation to a gang truce in 2012 were just following orders from Funes according to a defense lawyer. (Associated Press)
- U.S. sanctions against Venezuela have disproportionately harmed the poorest and most vulnerable Venezuelans, according to a new CEPR report. "The sanctions reduced the public’s caloric intake, increased disease and mortality (for both adults and infants), and displaced millions of Venezuelans who fled the country as a result of the worsening economic depression and hyperinflation."
- More than 30 Venezuelans are missing, feared drowned, after their boat sank attempting to reach Trinidad, reports the Guardian. At least nine others from the sunken boat had been pulled alive from the water, reports the Associated Press.
- Venezuela's largest landfill, La Bonanza, "is now the scene of a range of criminal activities, including extortion, vehicle theft, homicide, drug trafficking and kidnapping," reports InSight Crime.
- Four years after the start of a wave of anti-corruption protests that forced then-Guatemalan president Otto Perez Molina to resign, activist Álvaro Montenegro recaps the evolution of the movement since 2015 in El Faro. He notes that the initial outpouring had no counter-vision. Since then, opposition to anti-corruption reforms has been fierce and powerful. The backlash against the CICIG and efforts to dismantle powerful mafias within the state has been potent, and is currently focused on unraveling advances.
- The U.S. arrest of Guatemalan presidential candidate Mario Estrada (see yesterday's briefs) has put a spotlight on Estrada's connection to President Jimmy Morales. But it's not clear whether the link will cause the U.S. to reconsider its support of Morales and his attack on the International Commission against Corruption in Guatemala, reports InSight Crime.
- Thousands of Colombians protested against education budget cuts and the government's pension reform plan. (Al Jazeera)
- A week of market panic has positioned Argentina the world’s second-riskiest borrower Venezuela, reports the Wall Street Journal.
- Over 150 indigenous leaders met with lawmakers to discuss land rights and the role of their communities in the protection of the environment yesterday, reports the Associated Press. The meeting came on the second day of the Free Land Encampment, an annual three-day protest by indigenous groups held in Brasilia. (See yesterday's post.)
- Activists accused Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's of inciting LGBT hatred after his declaration that "we can’t let this place become known as a gay tourism paradise. Brazil can’t be a country of the gay world, of gay tourism." (Guardian)