Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Venezuela takes away Guaidó's immunity (April 3, 2019)

Venezuela's constituent assembly stripped National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó of parliamentary immunity yesterday. It's seen as a first step for President Nicolás Maduro's government to potentially arrest Guaidó, who is recognized as the country's legitimate leader by over fifty countries, reports the Guardian. Guaidó called on the international community to defend him in case of detention, reports Efecto Cocuyo.

It's the latest in a series of actions the Maduro administration has taken against Guaidó in recent weeks. The government has banned him from traveling, frozen his bank accounts, accused him of terrorism, and prohibited him from holding public office. His chief of staff has been arrested. Nonetheless, the government has refrained from detaining Guaidó, perhaps out of fear of international retaliation, reports the New York Times.

There are signs that Venezuela's slums, once strongholds of Chavista fervor, are turning against the Maduro government. But that hasn't translated into support for challenger Guaidó yet -- another necessary pillar if his claim to leadership is to succeed, reports the Guardian.

More from Venezuela
  • The Maduro government is essentially a crime syndicate. In order to defeat it, the international community must move beyond diplomacy and sanctions, instead employing tactics used by police against criminal organizations writes Raúl Gallegos in Americas Quarterly.
  • OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro called on Guaidó to provide solutions for about 1,000 security force members who defected from Maduro's government by crossing into Colombia. (Efecto Cocuyo)
  • Even in the midst of the political stalemate, lawyers, academics and government officials are focusing on options to restructure the country's more than $175 billion in foreign debt, reports the Wall Street Journal.
  • Water shortages -- linked to Venezuela's ongoing power crisis and a drought -- have been acute for weeks in Caracas, reports Bloomberg.
  • China denied presence of troops in Venezuela, reports EFE.
  • Female inmates in Venezuelan prisons have started taking on criminal leadership roles in order to survive, reports InSight Crime.
News Briefs

  • Nicaragua's ongoing political conflict is intimately linked to Venezuela, though the latter's crisis has largely eclipsed the former's in international coverage, writes Aryeh Neier in Project Syndicate. "If the Maduro government falls, international attention will likely shift to Nicaragua, and the pressure on Ortega and Murillo to step down will probably intensify. Just as the previous strength of Venezuela’s chávistas buttressed Ortega’s position, their current weakness may well be his undoing."
  • Dialogue between Ortega's government and the Alianza Cívica will not advance without more pressure from the international community, writes Carlos Chamorro in Confidencial. Early elections are the only chance for an orderly exit to the crisis he argues, but the negotiations must also set the basis for a stable future government, he warns.
Regional Relations
  • Though Canada is seen by many as a soothing advocate of multilateralism, it "has in fact emerged as a chief protagonist for regime change in Venezuela, a position that follows a longer standing pattern of Ottawa’s interventions in the Americas," argues Donald Kingsbury in Nacla.
  • The U.S. announced significant cuts in its foreign aid to Central America last week -- a slew of programs focusing on security, governance and development, the very factors pushing migration from the Northern Triangle countries. A New York Times report looks at specific programs in each country. (See Monday's post and Tuesday's.)
  • The U.S. border crisis isn't due to uncontrolled migration, but rather changes in how the U.S. processes undocumented migrants, reports the New York Times.
  • Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is known for being outspoken, but has remained quiet in the face of U.S. President Donald Trump's lashing out at Mexico over migration -- part of a broader trend of caution when dealing with his temperamental northern counterpart, reports the Los Angeles Times. (See Monday's post and Tuesday's.)
  • Mexico's government cut projected spending for 2019 in response to lower oil production and economic growth -- investors welcomed the move as a sign of commitment to sound finances, reports the Wall Street Journal.
  • The United Nation's is set to finally end its peacekeeping mission in Haiti -- the question is whether the 15,051 strong national force is ready to take control of the country's security, reports the Miami Herald.
  • Former Brazilian president Michel Temer was indicted yesterday on charges of corruption. Prosecutors said he took part in a bribery scheme related to the Angra 3 nuclear power plant complex, reports Reuters.
  • The Brazilian military's kidnapping of at least 19 children during the country's last dictatorship is now coming to light. (EFE)
  • An English environmental activist was found dead in Peru, where he has lived and worked for two decades. Local media reported Paul McAuley's body was burned, and found in a hostel he founded for indigenous students in the Amazon city of Iquitos. (BBCGuardian)
  • A Peruvian indigenous group refuses to negotiate freeing the road to Las Bambas copper mine until the group's lawyers are released from jail, reports Reuters.
  • Ecuadorean President Lenín Moreno accused WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of repeatedly violating the terms of his asylum in the country's London embassy. (Guardian)
  • Argentine President Mauricio Macri reiterated the country's claim to the British controlled Falklands Islands, known as the Malvinas in Argentina. (AFP)

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

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