Friday, February 21, 2020

Guatemala asks U.S. to extradite Aldana (Feb. 21, 2020)

Guatemalan attorney general Consuelo Porras said she would ask the U.S. to extradite her predecessor, anti-corruption crusader Thelma Aldana. Aldana fled to the country last year, after a judge requested her arrest in the midst of the presidential campaign in which Aldana was leading in the polls.

Aldana said the charges -- related alleged financial wrong-doing during her term as head prosecutor -- were politically motivated in retaliation for her anti-corruption work. She has denied any irregularities. Aldana worked closely with the United Nations-backed anti-impunity commission, the CICIG, which was terminated by Guatemala's president last year.

Aldana questioned Porra's motivation in this case on social media.

Aldana moved to the United States last year after the DEA revealed an assassination plot against her.

(Prensa Libre, NómadaAFP, La República, CNN, see posts for last May 16, and June 14)

News Briefs

  • Bolivia's electoral authorities rejected former President Evo Morales' senate candidacy, because the ousted leader is not residing in the country. Morales was granted refuge by Mexico in November, and is currently in Argentina. Tribunal head Salvador Romero said at a news conference the decision cannot be appealed with the electoral board. (Associated Press)
  • Morales is standing in the way of renewal within his MAS party, according to the Financial Times. Nonetheless, "a younger generation of MAS — which is an amalgam of social and indigenous movements — is gaining clout, backed by grassroots supporters who want a new start."
  • Nicaragua's government and paramilitary groups continue to carry out political kidnappings in order to quell dissent, reports InSight Crime. In one four month period last year, a report from the Political Prisoners Committee found that 10 political kidnappings were taking place every day.
El Salvador
  • Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele drastically miscalculated his hand when he briefly took over the National Assembly chamber earlier in February. But "whatever its outcome, the crisis, calculatingly contrived by the president, marks the radicalization of his project," according to Hilary Goodfriend in Nacla.
  • Colombian public school teachers launched a two day strike yesterday, in protest against killings of social leaders and activists, as well as violence against the profession. More than 7 million students were left without school. The protest precedes a broader strike planned for March 25. (Reuters)
  • Government leaders and landowners in Colombia’s department of Guaviare have teamed up to illegally deforest the Amazon, reports InSight Crime based on Colombian media investigations.
  • The Victims Monitor informed that 896 people were murdered in Caracas from January to December 2019. There is a significant decrease in the number of deaths compared to 2018 by almost 30% (in 2018 took place 1,364 homicide). The Monitor mentions that police and military operations are responsible for at least 38% of the deaths in 2019. (Venezuela Weekly)
  • Guyana prepared to sell its first barrels of oil yesterday -- part of a deal with ExxonMobil Corp and partners including Hess Corp. Energy Department Director Mark Bynoe said he expected Guyana to directly earn $300 million from its share of oil sales this year. (Associated Press, Reuters)
  • There are pending enquiries from over 100 United States-based businesses about setting up operations in Guyana, according to government officials. (Stabroek News)
  • Uruguayan president-elect Luis Lacalle Pou will take office on March 1. His priority will be fighting violent crime, but he will also embark on relaxing immigration rules and cutting public spending, he told the Economist in an interview.
  • The IMF became an unlikely ally of Argentina's Fernández administration, which is in a race against time to renegotiate its sovereign debt, reports the AFP. (See yesterday's briefs.)
  • It's Carnival season again -- and many prominent samba schools will use the festival as a platform to protest against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's divisive rhetoric, reports the Guardian.

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


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