Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Barbados talks could resume soon (Aug. 28, 2019)

News Briefs

  • Barbados discussions between Venezuela's government and opposition could resume as early as this weekend, according to some sources. (Venezuela WeeklyGuiadó confirmed that there had been discussion with Norwegian diplomats to start up another round, reports Efecto Cocuyo.
  • Migration out of Venezuela has spiked in the wake of new U.S. sanctions earlier this month, and ahead of Ecuador's requirement of a visa for entry. Forty regional human rights groups, members of the “Working Group on Venezuelan Human Mobility,” criticized the measure -- which requires Venezuelans to produce difficult to obtain official documents -- and suggest it is part of a regional trend that will make migration more difficult, reports the Venezuela Weekly.
  • Venezuelan migrants will be provided with a regional vaccination card beginning in October, part of a pact between ten countries in the region, reports Reuters.
  • Former Chávez supporters in Venezuela must grapple with a legacy that is very different from what they originally believed in, writes Nicmer Evans in a New York Times Español op-ed. "Today, with Venezuela in ruins, I admit it was a mistake thinking that a democratic left had arrived with Chávez ... It didn't. Instead, the foundations for an authoritarian regime were installed ..." He calls on former Chavistas to support reform of Venezuela's democratic institutions, and says the only hope for the movement's survival is to admit missteps and redefine its political project.
  • Venezuela's Maduro-loyal Supreme Court ordered new elections in the country's autonomous universities, long considered an anti-government bastion, reports El País.
  • Haiti's national police director's mandate ended this week, just a month after arresting one of Haiti’s most wanted gang leaders and exposing a troubling connection between gang leaders and a member of the nation’s parliament, reports the Miami Herald. The changeover in the police leadership occurs at a troubling time for the country -- President Jovenel Moïse is under considerable pressure from protesters, there is no functioning government, and the U.N. is preparing to permanently end its peacekeeping operation in October after 15 years.
  • A U.S. lawsuit against Carnival Corporation seeks to punish the cruise operator for using assets that were expropriated by the Fidel Castro government in Cuba. The suit is being carried out under a newly activated provision of the U.S. Helms-Burton act, and could be the start of lawsuits against dozens of U.S. companies operating in Cuba, reports the Miami Herald. (See April 18's post.)
  • Deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon has hit the highest August level since the current monitoring system began in 2015, reports the Guardian.
  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro promised a "zero-tolerance" approach to environmental crimes in the wake of international outcry about fires in the Amazon rainforest. But the discourse is at odds with his track record since assuming office in January. "He has worked relentlessly and unapologetically to roll back enforcement of Brazil’s once-strict environmental protections," reports the New York Times.
  • Bolsonaro's demand for an apology from French President Emmanuel Macron before accepting an aid package from the G-7 bodes ill on the whole environmental thing. (Wall Street JournalGuardian, see yesterday's post)
  • A new São Paulo publication, Samba Zine, features only L.G.B.T.Q. Brazilian individuals, communities and causes -- and is also produced by L.G.B.T.Q. Brazilian photographers, stylists, makeup artists, etc. In a country rattled by increasingly acrimonious political divisions and negative rhetoric about minorities, the magazine offers an optimistic vision, reports the New York Times.
  • Forest fires raging in Bolivia could impact President Evo Morales' chances at reelection in October -- and the government has gone into crisis mode to ensure it doesn't, reports El País. (See yesterday's briefs.)
  • Paraguayan police raids demonstrate how Paraguayan corruption has allowed smuggling to to flourish along the country's border with Brazil, reports InSight Crime.
  • The case of a baby who died of sudden death syndrome babysat by a twelve-year-old sister while their mother carried out sex work has caused controversy in Uruguay. The woman was condemned by a judge -- and exposed and excoriated by press and social media -- even though forensics determined the infant would have died regardless. (El País)

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

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