Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Piñera proposes constitution rewrite (Nov. 12, 2019)

News Briefs

  • Chilean President Sebastián Piñera said he would initiate a process for a new constitution, on Sunday. The announcement came after three weeks of unrest, in which a new constitution has become a recurring demand. But the proposal was rejected by opposition leaders -- and some from Piñera's own ranks -- who said the new constitution should be drafted by citizens (constitutional assembly) rather than current lawmakers (constituent congress). Under Piñera's plan, citizens would weigh in with a referendum on the finished constitution. Critics say they want to be included in the drafting process. Protesters are also calling for Piñera's resignation. (New York Times, Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, Al Jazeera)
More Bolivia (see post from earlier today)
  • The debate over whether Bolivia suffered a coup or not might be beside the point. The line between a coup and an uprising is blurry, possibly non-existent, the difference is that the former is condemned and the latter is cheered, according to the New York Times Interpreter column.
  • An extremely noxious trend that seems to be increasing in Bolivia's crisis is a division between indigenous supporters of Morales and "white" opponents of the ousted leader. (El País)
  • Turnout was low in anti-government marches in Port-au-Prince on Sunday, a potential sign that Haiti's protesters are losing momentum, reports Voice of America.
  • Mexican Security Secretary Alfonzo Durazo said arrests have been made in last week’s killings of nine U.S. citizen women and children by suspected cartel gunmen in northern Mexico. (Associated Press)
  • Mexican forensic scientists recovered 10 more bodies from mass graves near a Sonora state beach town, raising the total number of bodies and skeletons found in the area since October to 52. They were tipped off to the desert burial pits by a group of volunteers called Searching Mothers, reports the Associated Press.
  • Venezuela's Maduro-loyal army is what keeps the country from Bolivia-style regime change, reports Reuters.
  • Instead, Venezuela is in danger of becoming the Libya of the Caribbean, argues Moisés Naím in El País.
  • In addition to emigration out of Venezuela, there is a growing internal displacement phenomenon, particularly towards Caracas, writes Ahiana Figueroa in Open Democracy.
  • Venezuela’s foreign ministry temporarily lost access to its account with Twitter this weekend, reports Reuters.
  • HIV is increasingly prevalent in Peru's Amazon basin -- geography complicates attempts to treat and educate indigenous communities most at risk, reports the Guardian.
  • A group of Brazilian indigenous leaders suggested the European Union consider sanctions for companies that source materials from protected Brazilian forest reservations and native lands. (Reuters)
  • BRIC leaders meet in Brazil this week -- Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is hosting, but is more aligned with the U.S. than his Chinese, Russian and Indian counterparts, reports EFE.
  • Nonetheless, careful maneuvering by the Brazilian government's "pragmatists" -- Vice President Hamilton Mourão, Minister of Agriculture Tereza Cristina and Economy Minister Paulo Guedes -- has ensured that the Brazil-China bilateral relationship is as strong as ever, writes Oliver Stuenkel in Americas Quarterly.
  • Bolsonaro launched a program to create jobs largely based on tax reductions for employers, an attempt to target double-digit unemployment, reports Al Jazeera.
  • The loss of habitat is the biggest threat to jaguars in Ecuador, particularly along the coast, where more than 70 percent of the original forest cover has been lost, reports the Guardian.
El Salvador
  • Salvadoran trans community leader Jade Diaz was murdered. (EFE)
  • The U.S. embassy in San Salvador sparked evacuations along El Salvador's Pacific Coast after officials warned that a U.S. military aircraft had spotted a potential tidal wave. However no tsunami has been detected, reported officials from both countries later. (Reuters)

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

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