Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Bolivia's interim gov't honors police (Feb. 18, 2020)

News Briefs

  • Bolivia's May presidential elections were supposed to help the country turn the page after former President Evo Morales was ousted last year in the wake of a controversial reelection bid. But instead "Morales continues to loom large over the race, making it hard for candidates to articulate a unifying vision for the future," writes Brendan O'Boyle for Americas Quarterly. Analysts predict fragmentation in the vote, which bodes ill for big debates about economic and environmental policy.
  • Bolivia’s interim government honored police from the Cochabamba department that went on strike a day before Morales' dramatic ouster last November, reports AFP.
Dominican Republic
  • The Dominican Republic will hold new municipal elections on March 15 with all paper ballots, after canceling elections on Sunday due to technical glitches with electronic voting, reports CNN. (See yesterday's briefs.) New municipal authorities must take office by April 24, and President Danilo Medina called for calm yesterday. (Europa Press)
  • Many of the migrant families separated by U.S. authorities -- those who were not acknowledged officially -- still have not been reunited, reports the Washington Post.
  • A free and fair election is the only way out of Venezuela's protracted political crisis, writes Isadora Zubillaga in a New York Times op-ed. She is the deputy presidential commissioner for foreign affairs for the interim-government named by National Assembly head Juan Guaidó, who is considered the country's legitimate leader by over 60 countries. Guaidó's team seeks to synthesize regional approaches with international efforts and all must focus on holding elections, she writes. 
  • Efecto Cocuyo said the number of militia members who participated in recently ended military exercises in Venezuela is impossible to verify, but that the increases announced by Maduro officials seem too high to be credible. The government announced that 2.3 million militia members participated, and the Maduro administration has sought to raise the ranks to 3 million. (See yesterday's briefs.)
  • Venezuela said on Monday it would suspend TAP Air Portugal flights into and out of the country for 90 days, accusing the carrier of allowing Guaido’s uncle to bring explosives onto a flight to Caracas last week, reports Reuters. (See last Thursday's post.)
El Salvador
  • Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele's brief military takeover of the country's National Assembly ten days ago was a throw back to the Cold War in Latin America, but "it was also tailored for the social media era," writes Michael Ahn Paarlberg in the Washington Post's Monkey Cage. "Flanked by generals in his leather jacket and baseball cap, Bukele projects a “presidente cool” image that may be an updated reflection of South America’s caudillo leaders of old, but it’s an image many will still recognize."
  • Information used to indict high ranking Salvadoran politicians for negotiating with gangs is not new -- InSight Crime argues that a recent spate of prosecutions appears to favor Bukele, raising suspicions that they are politically motivated. (See last Wednesday's briefs.)
  • Brazil's government will hire 1,800 Cuban doctors who remained in the country after a long-running health program was terminated in November, 2018. The doctors will not have to revalidate their degrees, and will be working in some of the country's most vulnerable localities, which have been understaffed since the Mais Médicos program was ended in the midst of grandstanding from then president-elect Jair Bolsonaro. (El País, see post for Nov. 15, 2018)
  • Government data shows that Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's administration is making headway against inequality in its first year, particularly through job creation, writes Viri Ríos in a New York Times Español op-ed.
  • Graphic tabloid coverage of Ingrid Escamilla's femicide last week shows how some journalism has become an extension of gender violence, writes Pablo Piccato in the Post Opinión.
  • Mexico's government is unable or unwilling to act in cases of violence -- often assassination -- of indigenous human rights defenders, reports InSight Crime
  • 46 social leaders and human rights defenders have been killed so far in 2020 in Colombia -- Indepaz.
  • Roberto Gargarella explores the dynamic between democracy and constitutionalism, in relation to Chile's potential rewriting of the Carta Magna -- Nueva Sociedad.
Human Rights
  • Historic Chilean human rights leader José Zalaquett passed away last weekend, at the age of 77. "Pepe" was a prominent human rights defender in Pinochet's Chile, where he founded what was eventually known as the Vicaría de la Solidaridad, an organization that defended hundreds of detainees and helped family members of the disappeared to demand legally the whereabouts of their loved ones. He later participated in Amnesty International and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, as well as Chile's National Commission on Truth and Reconciliation. (Amnesty International, La Tercera)

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


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