Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Guaidó calls for mobilizations (Feb. 11, 2020)

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó announced his imminent return to the country after an international tour aimed at drumming up support for his efforts to counter Nicolás Maduro's legitimacy-challenged government. In a video posted on his personal twitter account, Guaidó called on supporters to mobilize and "retake" the streets, reports Efecto Cocuyo.

Though Guaidó defied a travel-ban imposed by the government-loyal Supreme Court to leave the country, officials have indicated he will be allowed to return without facing detention. (El Estimulo)

More Venezuela
  • Oil is at the heart of Russian support for Maduro, though geopolitical strategy also plays a role. Russian smuggled Venezuelan oil flows are vulnerable to U.S. pressure, writes Walter Russell Mead in the Wall Street Journal. U.S. officials believe that "a campaign against Venezuelan oil exports that is as far-reaching as the policies that have largely cut Iran off from world markets will change calculations in both Caracas and Moscow."
  • Maduro said his government would initiate a legal challenge to U.S. sanctions in the U.N. International Court of Justice. (Efecto Cocuyo)
News Briefs

  • Close to 44,000 Venezuelan migrants live in Colombia's Arauca department, where lack of legal registration means most of them depend on Doctors without Borders for medical attention -- Efecto Cocuyo.
  • Asylum seekers in the U.S. face dangerous, even deadly, consequences when their claims are not taken seriously writes Alison Parker, managing director of the U.S. Program at Human Rights Watch, in a Washington Post opinion piece. A recent HRW report identified 138 cases of Salvadorans who had been killed since 2013 after being deported from the United States; more than 70 others were beaten, sexually assaulted, extorted or tortured. (See last Wednesday's briefs.)
  • A group of about 50 people facing imminent deportation from the U.K. to Jamaica won a last-minute reprieve, last night, reports the Guardian. (See yesterday's briefs.)
  • Throughout Latin America, police are adopting digital tools including facial recognition technology. But research has shown how facial recognition systems register error rates of 34.7%  for black women as compared to just 0.8% for white men. This means that "in countries like Brazil, in which 64% of the prison population is black, there are real risks that recognition tools could go spectacularly wrong," warn Robert Muggah and Pedro Augusto Pereira in Americas Quarterly.
  • France is expected to be Brazil's biggest military threat over the next 20 years and could invade the Amazon in 2035, according to a secret report published by Brazilian media. Though the French embassy treated the report as harmlessly ludicrous, it could potentially further complicate relations between the two countries, reports the AFP.
  • Brazil authorized its national public security force to support efforts to fight deforestation in the Amazon amid fears of a spike of destruction this year, reports Reuters.
  • Pesticide smuggling has become one of the world’s most lucrative and least understood criminal enterprises, reports the Washington Post.
  • Haitian President Jovenel Moïse told the Associated Press he is confident that negotiations with a coalition of political opponents will reach a power-sharing deal to end months of a political deadlock in the country. Talks began last week in the mission of the papal envoy to Haiti with political opponents and some civil society groups. 
  • A young artist killed in Ciudad Juárez last month is the latest in the Mexican wave of femicides, and has activists in the city -- known for murders of women decades ago -- up in arms. (Guardian)
  • An IMF team of experts is set to arrive in Argentina tomorrow to renegotiate the country's heavy debt burden. In an indicator of expectations, the team has already extended the stay to a full week, from the originally planned three days, reports the Buenos Aires Times. (See yesterday's briefs.)
  • Colombian authorities plan to eradicate 130,000 hectares of coca plants this year, and could reintroduce aerial spraying of glyphosate, reports Reuters.
  • The world's top lithium miner, Albemarle, filed a proposal for a network to monitor water flows beneath the Atacama desert, an indication of how important it has become for miners to prove their supplies of the so-called “white gold” battery metal are sustainable, according to Reuters.
  • Cuba's famed -- and controversial -- humanitarian medical mission is the object of diplomatic tussling between Washington and Havana, reports the Guardian.
Note: For news on El Salvador see the post from earlier today.


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