Friday, February 7, 2020

Charges against Greenwald dismissed (Feb. 7, 2020)

News Briefs

  • A Brazilian federal judge dismissed  criminal charges against the American journalist Glenn Greenwald, yesterday. The decision spares him, temporarily, from being prosecuted for cybercrimes in relation to his role in the release of hacked cellphone messages that implicated Brazil's judiciary and current government officials, reports the New York Times. (See Jan. 22's post, also Guardian.)
  • Recent evidence shows that inequality in Brazil has started widening again, potentially wiping out much of the progress of the previous three decades, writes Luciano Huck for Project Syndicate.
  • In the midst of the Brazilian government's ever worsening quagmire of environmental policies, a newly formed Amazon Council headed by vice president Hamilton Mourão could be a ray of light, according to Americas Quarterly.
  • Mexico has effectively become the wall that U.S. President Donald Trump wanted to physically keep out migrants, writes Jorge Ramos in a New York Times op-ed. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's decision to stop migrants who come into Mexico at the southern border with Guatemala, and to prevent those seeking to enter the U.S. from leaving, is incorrect, writes Ramos. "He should let migrants continue their journey north."
  • The threat of famine and the battle for dwindling natural resources are increasingly being recognized as major factors in the Guatemalan migration exodus, reports the Guardian.
Regional Relations
  • U.S. oil sanctions against Venezuela have resulted in one clear winner: Russia -- Washington Post.
  • Recent blurring of the church-state divide in Latin America features evangelical Protestantism rather than the Catholic church, notes the Economist.
  • Regional foreign policy is rudderless, the result of ideological divisions and weak heads of state. "Unfortunately, it’s hard to imagine any of the region’s current leaders coming in to fill the void," writes Oliver Stuenkel in Americas Quarterly.
  • Removing the military from Latin America's political equation forces politicians in the region to "invest in democratic solutions, even when faced with profound crises," write María Victoria Murillo and Steven Levitsky in Nueva Sociedad.
  • Brazilian prison gang “First Capital Command” (PCC) is increasingly threatening security in neighboring countries, particularly Paraguay, writes Ludmila Quirós at the Aula Blog. "Its allies function as full franchises of the Brazilian PCC, and the prison escape, indicating that they have bought the cooperation of very senior officials, suggests it is able and willing to assume an even greater role in the country."
  • A massive trial in which former Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa is accused, along with 20 others, of taking and giving bribes, is expected to start Monday. The result of the landmark trial will significantly impact Correa's role in Ecuadorean politics moving forward, particularly in presidential and legislative elections to be held in a year, reports the Economist.
  • Students at Mexico's National Autonomous University (UNAM) are protesting a lack of institutional response to gender violence claims. (Animal Político)
  • The vast majority of marijuana seizures by Argentine security forces last year related to consumption and small-time drug dealing -- the average operation sequestered just eight grams, reports Fernando Soriano in Infobae. Security Minister Sabina Frederic said the data shows the previous administration's raid tactics failed to significantly combat drug trafficking.
  • "A murky investigation into the assassination of a leading prosecutor in Cali puts at risk the country’s ability to protect the lawyers and judges investigating organized crime," reports InSight Crime.
  • Pressure is building for Colombia's government to liberalize importations, according to the Economist.
  • Notorious cartel hitman turned public persona, Jhon Jairo Velásquez alias "Popeye," died yesterday. The man personally responsible for 300 assassinations was felled by cancer rather than murder as he had feared. (Wall Street Journal)

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

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