Friday, November 1, 2019

Haitian police fire on protesters (Nov. 1, 2019)

News Briefs

  • Haitian National Police fired on protesters who attempted to keep them from removing a makeshift roadblock made of large tree branches and metal fences blocking two entrances leading into the National Palace, yesterday. (Voice of America)
  • Amnesty International verified multiple instances of Haitian police using excessive force during six weeks of anti-government protests in which at least 35 people were killed, with national police implicated in many of the deaths. Authorities in Haiti must end the unlawful use of force against protesters and guarantee their right to life, said the group yesterday.
Dominican Republic
  • Dozens of soldiers arrived to reinforce the Dominican-Haitian border, this week, in response to ongoing protests in Haiti against President Jovenel Moïse. (Dominican Today)
  • U.S. Trump administration officials are pushing for financial sanctions against Spain for what they say is its financial support of Nicolas Maduro’s regime in Venezuela, reports Bloomberg. The U.S. Treasury Department is considering sanctions against Spain’s central bank and measures against other entities where Venezuelan money is parked, but no move is expected before Spain's Nov. 10 election.
  • Members of the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR) are preparing lists of associates of the government of Nicolás Maduro who may be subject to sanctions, according to AFP.
  • The U.S. State Department said it had seen indications of Russian “influence” on unrest in Chile, yesterday. A senior State Department official said there were “clear indications” people were taking advantage of the unrest in Chile - prompted by inequality and rising living costs - and “skewing it through the use and abuse of social media, trolling,” reports Reuters.
  • Chilean opposition politicians met with government officials, but said that dialogue is pointless unless it is aimed at a new constitution. (Cooperativa)
  • Thousands of young Chileans marched in Santiago yesterday to demand improved social services. The March of Masks -- many came in costume, a nod to Halloween -- was mostly peaceful. (CNN) The Associated Press said there are signs of protester fatigue after two weeks of intense activity.
  • 10,000 people protested in Concepción, and a group is walking 98 km to Santiago to read a declaration in front of La Moneda. (Telesur)
  • The National Institute for Human Rights called for an international audit of the weapons used by security forces against protesters. (El Mostrador) Institute leadership met with an investigative team sent by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, yesterday. (La Tercera)
  • A sizable segment of Bolivia's armed forces warned that they would not crack down on demonstrators on behalf of President Evo Morales, reports the New York Times. An OAS team began an audit of election records yesterday, but it's not clear that will calm tensions in the midst of ongoing protests against results that granted Morales a fourth term in an outright win.
  • Bolivia's protests are magnifying racist attitudes in the country, reports El País.
  • Governments besieged by protests increasingly allege Venezuelan influence. But, asks the Washington Post, "is Maduro really a Joker-like figure orchestrating increasingly violent protests from his lair in Caracas? Or is he just the perfect scapegoat to explain away the genuine anger now raging in multiple South American nations? The answer, according to more than a dozen interviews with officials, politicians, analysts and protesters in multiple nations, might be a little of both."
  • Protests across the region have more to do with economic malaise than foreign meddling (much to the disappointment of affected governments). The context is difficult for politicians: who are being pushed to solve intractable problems, but also face poor economic conditions and lack of popularity. Moisés Naím and Brian Winter suggest they on tacking a few broad priorities, and generate broad coalitions that include businesses and civil society to address them. (Foreign Affairs)
  • Militaries are increasingly visible in Latin America, particularly as a crutch for presidents seeking to bolster their legitimacy in a context of weak civilian institutions, according to the New York Times Interpreter column. (See last Friday's briefs on how Lat Am governments increasingly rely on the military to repress demonstrations.)
  • Peru's government announced plans for an ambitious reform package including better health care and a higher minimum wage -- a move that comes in the context of regional dissatisfaction with inequality and social programs, reports Reuters.
  • Peruvian authorities green lighted the Tía María copper mine, but the government cautioned it would not move ahead with the project without the right social and environmental conditions being met, reports Reuters.
  • Peruvian prosecutors have charged five men in the timber industry with the 2014 murders of four indigenous activists who had battled illegal logging in the Amazon jungle, reports the Associated Press. Two timber executives and three loggers have been charged with the shooting deaths of the activists. Environmentalists say the case is unprecedented in Peru.
  • A community-run wildlife tour in Guyana shows how tourism can help preserve a remote rainforest and introduces visitors to a stunning array of fauna and jungle vistas, reports the Guardian.
  • The mysterious oil spills affecting Brazil's northern coastline have some wondering if the country's oil industry is growing faster than the government's ability to police it, according to Al Jazeera.
  • A 50 km-long wildfire is raging across Brazil's tropical Pantanal wetlands. The fires in the southern Mato Grosso do Sul state affect one of the most biodiverse areas in the world and a major tourist destination. (Al JazeeraBBC)
  • International agribusiness giant Monsanto won a legal round in a battle against Brazilian farmers, but the fight over who owns genetically modified soybeans is far from over, writes Karine Eliane Peschard in the Conversation.
Regional Relations
  • Argentina's government sought to quietly respond to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's heated rhetoric regarding Argentina's president-elect Alberto Fernández. In a letter to Brazil's ambassador in Buenos Aires, Argentine foreign minister Jorge Faurie called for prudence and also objected to social media messages by Bolsonaro's son attacking Fernández's son. (Infobae, Cronista, see Wednesday's briefs)
El Salvador
  • Homicides have unquestionably decreased in El Salvador -- but the reasons behind the trend are not entirely clear yet, writes Roberto Valencia in Post Opinión. The government argues that it's due to a new security strategy. Critics hypothesize a secret agreement between gangs and the government. Rather than an outright negotiation, Valencia's sources point to a decision by street gangs to keep the situation calm for the time being.
  • The brazen murder of jailed Honduran drug-trafficker Nery López only increases questions regarding President Juan Orlando Hernández's ties to criminal organizations. Evidence seized from López was key in convicting Hernández's brother in New York in October, and JOH was named prominently in the drug trafficking trial. López's lawyer said the government was involved in the assassination. But the U.S. "continues to ignore the haze of allegations around the Honduran government while pushing the country to cooperate in Donald Trump’s regional crackdown on migration," reports the Guardian.
  • Mexico’s lower house overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment bill that allows prosecution of presidents for crimes such as corruption, earlier this week. (EFE)
  • The Guardian focuses on the difficulties Venezuelan migrants in the small Colombian city of Maicao face -- public infrastructure is overwhelmed and resources are vastly insufficient.
  • The U.S. crackdown on migration is showing a growing trend: deep involvement of U.S. citizens in human smuggling, reports the Washington Post.

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

1 comment:

  1. Surprised it took the CIA so long to establish the link between the " spontaneous " riots and Putin/ Castro and Maduro interference ! They should establish better relations with Chilean intelligence services .