Thursday, May 30, 2019

Nicaragua's government continues dialogue unilaterally (May 30, 2019)

Nicaraguan lawmakers loyal to President Daniel Ortega passed a reparations plan for victims of violence that occurred during anti-government protests over the past year. The law is also an amnesty for police and paramilitaries who committed human rights crimes against civilians, reports Confidencial

The law makes no mention of seeking justice or investigating those responsible for what the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has said were at least 325 killings in 2018, notes the Associated Press.

Though the government is touting the move as a bid at reconciliation, it was passed urgently and without discussion or input from civil society -- part of a unilateral agenda since opposition groups withdrew from negotiations with the government.

Ortega's unilateral actions suggest the government is seeking to circumvent the opposition altogether, writes Fulton Armstrong at the AULA blog. (See yesterday's briefs.)

More from Nicaragua
  • A Mother's Day mass will be celebrated today in Managua, commemorating the 18 people who died in a massive anti-government protest last year honoring the mothers of state-violence victims (Madres de Abril). (Confidencial, see post for May 31, 2018)
  • In an interview with Esta Noche, Claudia Paz y Paz, a member of the IACHR's Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI), said last year's attack on Mothers Day was not an "isolated" or "sporadic" episode, but rather "a coordinated action" between police and paramilitaries, with "intent to kill." (Confidencial)
News Briefs

  • Colombia's Constitutional Court overruled President Iván Duque's objections to the 2016 peace accord with the FARC guerrillas. The magistrates upheld lawmakers' rejections of modifications Duque wanted to make to a law codifying a transitional peace system, a critical part of the peace agreement. (ReutersCNN)
  • In another judicial blow to Duque, the Supreme Court ordered the "immediate release" of former FARC guerrilla leader Jesus Santrich. Santrich, whose real name is Seuxis Paucias Hernández Solarte, has been at the center of a legal tug-o-war: the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) rejected an extradition request to the U.S. and his release from detention, but he was immediately rearrested on new evidence that he committed crimes after the 2016 peace deal. (AFPEl País, see May 16's post and May 20's briefs.)
  • Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra called on lawmakers to pass five anti-corruption reforms, and threatened to use a constitutional provision that allows him to dissolve the congress if they do not. (Associated Press)
  • Peru's government promised to spend $140 million to protect 38 nature preserves in the Amazon covering a total of about 17 million hectares, reports EFE.
  • Talks in Norway between Venezuela's government and opposition factions ended without agreement yesterday, reports Reuters.
  • Venezuelan officials looking to turn on the Maduro administration will have to take bold tangible action if they hope to get off the U.S. sanctions list, reports Reuters.
  • Venezuelan military deserters who fled to Colombia hoping to take up arms against President Nicolás Maduro are frustrated that armed incursions don't seem to be on the menu, reports the Wall Street Journal.
  • At least six children have died in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention this year -- mortality is likely to keep climbing, "both due to draconian immigration policy and because so many are coming, whereas in the past a larger share of migrants were single men rather than children or families," writes Molly Molloy in a NACLA dispatch from the border purgatory.
  • Guatemalan authorities said they broke up a human trafficking network that allegedly moved 800 migrants per year through the country, netting about $10 million in the process. (Associated Press)
  • Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's major anti-corruption drive threatens to involve top officials in the last government, including former president Enrique Peña Nieto. A judge issued an arrest warrant this week for former Pemex head Emilio Lozoya, a close ally of Peña Nieto, in relation to alleged corruption. (See yesterday's post.) But Lozoya's lawyer warned yesterday that the government had to sign off on whatever Pemex did. (Reuters)
  • At least 21 people were killed and 30 injured in Mexico's Veracruz state in traffic accident involving a bus carrying Catholic pilgrims and a tractor-trailer. (New York TimesAssociated Press)
El Salvador
  • A Salvadoran prosecutor won a landmark conviction of seven gang members who forced women to marry and kill their husbands for life insurance. (Reuters)
  • Argentina was paralyzed yesterday by a national strike called by unions angered by incessant inflation and President Mauricio Macri's economic policies. Government officials said the move was politically motivated ahead of October's presidential elections. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Amazon basin countries - including Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia - have vowed to band together (political differences amongst their respective governments notwithstanding) against a decision to grant global retailer Amazon Inc the rights to the .amazon domain. (Reuters)
Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take? Let me know ...

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