Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Dilan Cruz died, galvanized Colombian protesters (Nov. 26, 2019)

News Briefs

  • Colombians maintained ongoing street protests for the fifth straight day, yesterday. President Iván Duque met yesterday with business representatives, as well as the unions that organized the original march, reports Reuters. More meetings are planned for Tuesday, as is an announcement by unions and student groups about whether they will continue to back marches. Yesterday the National Strike Committee said conditions had not yet been met to call off protests and reiterated requests for a meeting with Duque, reports Semana.
  • A teen injured by police on Saturday -- who had become a symbol of the protests -- died yesterday, which is likely to fuel criticism of security forces' response to demonstrations, and increase tensions. It will also likely make an agreement today more difficult, as protest organizers called for new demonstrations today. Mourners gathered outside the Bogotá hospital where 18-year-old Dilan Cruz had been treated, and protesters held cacerolazos in his honor around the country. (La Silla VacíaReuters, Semana)
  • The outright killing of indigenous protesters in Bolivia is a sign of the return of a historic practice: "the collective punishment of the nation’s Indigenous majority for daring to defy a centuries-old racial order of apartheid and oppression," writes Nick Estes in a Guardian opinion piece. 
  • Indeed, many considered Morales' advances to be irreversible, but a resprouting of racism and intolerance in Bolivia and the rise of a new ultra-right opposition with fundamentalist religious narratives shows that it is not the case, writes Lorenza Fontana in the Conversation.
  • But admittedly poor outcomes -- like racist repression -- shouldn't eclipse the "righteous motives" that pushed Bolivians to oust Morales in the first place, writes Yascha Mounk in the Atlantic, doubling down on his earlier praise for the coup.
  • Don't be fooled by the "good coup" arguments, Latin America ignores the tragic lessons of its praetorian past at its own peril, warn Stephen Levitsky and María Victoria Murillo in a New York Times op-ed. "Military coups rarely lead to democratic transitions ... Coups against elected governments — even populist ones with authoritarian tendencies — almost always push countries in a less democratic direction." With coup-justification back on Latin America's radar, they revisit Alfred Stepan's scholarship, which in the 1980's said that the key to preserving the region's democracies was to ensure that no civilian group turns to the military for political solutions.
  • Even as Bolivia inches towards new elections, investigations into former Morales supporters threatens to derail the fragile truce, reports Reuters. For example, the combative interior minister, Arturo Murillo, yesterday ordered the detention of another former Morales cabinet member. (La Razón)
  • There is no chance of organizing new elections by January 22, when current electoral mandates for the executive and legislative branches end -- the target is 120 days, according to a newly appointed electoral tribunal authority. (La Razón, see yesterday's briefs.)
  • Chile's Piñera administration still hasn't managed to restore public order after 40 days -- despite a host of social measures and a broad political agreement to draft a new constitution. A Cadem poll found that 67 percent of the country agrees that protests should continue -- an 11 point increase over last week, reports El País.
  • A member of Kouraj, a Haitian LGBTQ advocacy group, was found dead, yesterday. (Associated Press)
  • The protest phenomenon is marked, but it's not yet understood why people have exploded in anger now when the social and economic conditions underlying their demands have been present for some time, Moisés Naím told El Tiempo.
  • Will Brazil be the next country to catch the protest bug? Unlikely, argues Brian Winter in Americas Quarterly.
  • Nonetheless, the possibility of massive protests has spooked investors and will likely slow the Brazilian government's economic reform agenda, writes Oliver Stuenkel, also in Americas Quarterly.
  • Two members of the indigenous Forest Guardians were killed in Brazil's eastern Amazonian state of Maranhão earlier this month. The volunteer force, composed of members of the Guajajara tribe, has clashed with illegal loggers previously, this is the first time they were attacked within their protected reserve, reports National Geographic.
  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s assault on the Amazon is an acceleration of patterns that have been in place for decades, reports The Intercept, which delves DEEP into how the administration is unravelling models of environmental and indigenous protection.
  • The Brazilian Bolsonaro administration's determination to open the Amazon to logging is endangering ancient artifacts along with trees and indigenous communities, reports the Guardian.
  • Rabbi Henry Sobel, a human rights leader in Brazil, died at the age of 75. (New York Times)
  • The Venezuelan NGO Alimenta Solidaridad assisted more than 12,800 children over the past year, through 187 soup kitchens in 15 Venezuelan states. (El Pitazo)
  • Venezuela is effectively governed by an "inverted rule of law" system, in which state organized crime actors use the law to repress opponents, but weaken it to guarantee themselves impunity. The Due Process of Law Foundation looks at international challenges that have arisen while seeking accountability abroad, and recommends that Spanish authorities ensure the country does not become a safe haven for former public officials seeking to evade criminal proceedings.
  • Peru's Constitutional Tribunal freed opposition leader Keiko Fujimori from preliminary detention while she is investigated for alleged corruption. The decision yesterday does not constitute a judgement on whether Fujimori received illicit campaign funds from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht. Fujimori was detained over a year ago. (Associated Press
  • Guatemalan judge Erika Lorena Aifán is a prominent face in the country's struggle against corruption -- a position that has garnered powerful enemies and credible threats to her life, reports the Associated Press.
  • Yesterday was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women -- protests around the region rejected gender-based violence. In Mexico City, demonstrators smashed windows, spray-painted monuments and clashed with riot police to protest Mexican authorities' failure to stop a spiral of violence against women, reports AFP.
  • And in Chile, the Las Tesis collective catchily emphasized that the blame does not lie in where women found themselves or what they wore when they were assaulted. (La Razón)
  • The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) reported yesterday that in 2018 at least 3,529 women were victims of femicide in 25 countries in Latin America. El Salvador, Honduras and Bolivia were the three nations with the highest proportion of homicides due to gender, with rates of 6.8, 5.1 and 2.3 women killed per 100,000, respectively. Guatemala, with a rate of two femicides per 100,000 women, and the Dominican Republic, with 1.9, completed the five countries with the highest percentage of deaths. (EFE)
Regional Relations
  • Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been loathe to embrace a strong foreign policy stance, nonetheless, Mexico has taken a leadership role in the region this year, writes Genaro Lozano in Americas Quarterly.
  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommended detained migrants get influenza vaccinations last winter -- but newly released evidence shows that, in the midst of a flu outbreak in detention centers -- the Customs and Border Protection rejected the recommendation. (Washington Post)
  • The U.S. needs the "Dreamers" that President Donald Trump seeks to expel, writes former Mexican ambassador to the U.S. Arturo Sarukhán in the Post Opinión.
Climate Change
  • After Hurricane Maria devastated Dominica two years ago, the island has sought to become the world’s first climate-resilient nation, reports National Geographic.
  • The concentration of climate-heating greenhouse gases has hit a record high, according to a report from the UN’s World Meteorological Organization. (Guardian)
  • An Argentine court convicted two Catholic priests of sexually abusing deaf children in a Church-run school in Mendoza province. A man who worked at the institution as a gardener was also convicted of abuse, which occurred between 2005-2016. The case has raised questions over how Pope Francis responded to the crime. (New York Times, Associated Press, Wall Street Journal)
  • Remember Elián González? That was twenty years ago ... (Washington Post)

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

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