Tuesday, October 15, 2019

14 Mexican police killed in ambush (Oct. 15, 2019)

Fourteen police officers were killed and three wounded in an ambush in Mexico's Michoacán state, which has been afflicted with a spike in violence reminiscent of the bloodiest parts of Mexico's war on drugs. The attack by suspected drug cartel members was the biggest attack on security forces in recent years, and cast doubt on President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's policies on the issue. 

There were 2,966 homicides in Mexico in August, the most ever recorded for that month. AMLO campaigned on a promise to demilitarize internal security. He then changed tack and created a new militarized security force, the National Guard. But the 70,000 strong force has been mostly deployed to deter migration, as part of cooperation agreements with the U.S.

(Washington PostAnimal PolíticoGuardianWall Street Journal)

News Briefs

  • A veneer of normality returned to Ecuador yesterday, in the wake of President Lenín Moreno's deal with indigenous protesters and rollback of fuel subsidy cuts. But both sides return to the negotiating table today, and must agree on an economic package that narrows the budget gap in order to meet IMF financing commitments, reports the Wall Street Journal. (See yesterday's post.)
  • Leftist parties' headquarters in Bogotá were attacked, two weeks ahead of Colombia's regional elections. The targeted parties were the FARC, and the Colombian Communist Party which shares an office with Unión Patriótica, reports El Espectador.
  • The United Nations Human Rights Council has been putting pressure on Venezuela over its abuses," writes Kenneth Roth in Foreign Policy. "Now, to subvert that effort, Venezuela is trying to get elected to the council." Costa Rica will contest the seat, but faces an uphill battle for votes.
  • Venezuela will owe $913 million on a Pdvsa bond payment at the end of the month. Bondholders are expected to go for Citgo if the country fails to pay. That would be bad news for the opposition—and the United States, argues Francisco Monaldi in Foreign Policy.
  • Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro ordered a 275 percent increase in the monthly minimum wage, yesterday. (Bloomberg) It's the third increase so far this year, though 2019 is the year with the least wage increases of the Maduro administration, reports Efecto Cocuyo.
  • The U.S. is an uncomfortable ally for Venezuela's opposition, and either clumsily or deliberately undercut the Barbados negotiations, reports the Globe Post.
  • The fiscal impact of Venezuelan migration to Peru has been positive, according to a new BBVA study that emphasized their tax contribution potential. (Efecto Cocuyo)
  • U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres selected Helen Meagher La Lime to head the U.N. Integrated Office in Haiti. The appointment of the current U.N. special representative in Haiti to the post comes just as the U.N.'s peacekeeping presence comes to an end today, reports the Miami Herald.
  • Brazil's Bolsonaro administration has dismissed mounting evidence that federal agents systematically tortured prisoners in the country's Para state, reports InSight Crime.
Climate change
  • Young women are at the forefront of environmental activism in Latin America, reports EFE.
  • Argentine feminist activists held the 34th Encuentro Nacional de Mujeres in La Plata this weekend, and gathered an estimated 200,000 participants. (Página 12Nodal)
  • Argentine presidential front-runner Alberto Fernández is running on a platform of unity -- and conflict-weary Argentines appear to support a shift toward moderation, I argue in a New York Times op-ed. Fernández’s strategy seems almost laughably optimistic: to convince diverse sectors with opposed interests that their only hope is to cede a bit to all pull in the same direction. Yet there are indications that key players are willing to play along, at least initially. “Creer o morir” — believe or die — as we say here.

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

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