Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Peruvian police teargas people leaving Lima (April 21, 2020)

News Briefs

  • Peruvian riot police blocked a major highway leading out of Lima and fired teargas on hundreds of families attempting to leave the capital on foot in order to return to their rural homes. The country has been under strict lockdown for six weeks, and many poor Peruvians say they face the choice between hunger and homelessness in Lima or Covid-19 exposure in attempting to return home, reports the Guardian.
  • It is an issue that is increasingly salient across Latin America as low-income families face the impossible trade-off between immediate financial needs and health concerns, reports the Guardian separately. Containment measures are fraying in poor neighborhoods from Venezuela to Brazil, and experts say they must be accompanied by economic aid measures. While governments in the region are moving to distribute stipends and food aid, it is not clear it will be enough.
  • Coronavirus has turned into an endless ambiguity, locked in our homes conspiracy theories flourish on our constant diet of news, writes Alberto Barrera Tyszka in a New York Times Español op-ed.
  • Responses to Covid-19 have been adult-centric in many parts of the world. While dog walking has been the subject of much government discourse, there has been little discussion of the impact of prolonged confinement for children or reasonable regulations to ease it for them, writes José Natanson in El Diplo
  • U.S. President Trump promised to temporarily suspend immigration into the country with an executive order aimed at protecting jobs in the midst of the coronavirus. But the order won't substantially change U.S. immigration policy, according to administration officials, as the country already all but ceased nearly every form of immigration, reports the Wall Street Journal.
  • Fifteen migrants in a shelter in Mexico's Nuevo Laredo state tested positive for Covid-19, after catching it from a person deported from Texas, reports Animal Político. Authorities in Mexico are increasingly concerned about Covid-19 spread from deportees, an issue that has become increasingly relevant in Guatemala as well. (See yesterday's briefs.)
  • Where are migrants from and where are they going? Since 2015, mostly from Venezuela and headed to Colombia, according to a new Americas Quarterly map that helps visualize data about movement in the region. (Part of the newly released Migration issue, see yesterday's briefs.)
  • Many of 5 million Venezuelan migrants are working gig economy jobs in Latin American capitals, where it seems like every Rappi courier fits the bill. "At first, these may seem like tragic cases of wasted talent and missed opportunities. But a fuller picture should lead to a more nuanced conclusion," argues Dany Bahar also in Americas Quarterly.
  • As in other countries, the coronavirus demonstrates the collapsed nature of Colombia's overcrowded and revanchist penitentiary system, writes Andrés Páramo Izquierdo in the Post Opinión. Moves to parole 4,000 non-violent offenders have been timidly implemented and are barely a dent in overpopulation estimated at 40,000 inmates he notes. (See las Wednesday's briefs.)
  • Colombia will extend its coronavirus quarantine until May 11, President Iván Duque said yesterday, but will allow construction and manufacturing to reopen. (Reuters)
Central America
  • The heightened risk of food insecurity due to the Covid-19 pandemic has pushed organizations of civil society in Central America to work on food access -- even those that don't usually work on humanitarian responses, reports Devex.
  • In Brazil too, humanitarian groups said they are already scrambling to step up food programs, diverting cash from other areas, reports Reuters. They warned the new coronavirus will cause hunger on a scale not seen in decades.
El Salvador
  • The absolute lockdown decreed by Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele on the municipality of Puerto de la Libertad over the weekend was lifted Sunday evening, without a single Covid-19 test being administered, reports El Faro. (See yesterday's post.)
  • Hygiene supplies are urgently needed for women in prisons and quarantine centres in El Salvador -- an issue that worsens their already high risk of Covid-19 contagion, according to the United Nations Population Fund.
  • In El Salvador, sex workers are among the informal laborers who cannot continue working under the strict quarantine measures implemented in mid-March, reports Roberto Valencia. (RT)
  • Chilean police broke up anti-government protests in one of Santiago´s central squares, yesterday. Officers arrested14 people, citing coronavirus restrictions on congregating, reports Reuters.
  • Chile's government will emit "immunity passports," for people who have recovered from Covid-19 to be able to return to work. Details have been sparse, but officials have promised a mass testing plan, reports the Washington Post.
  • Cuba's active black market rapidly adapted to the coronavirus reality, and has resorted to stolen medical goods to meet demands, reports InSight Crime.
  • Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador called on cartel groups to stop handing out aid in territories they control. (See yesterday's briefs.) He pointed out that stopping violent crime would be a more positive approach to do-gooding, reports Al Jazeera.
  • Torture by security forces is rampant in Mexico -- and largely unpunished, according to data published by Comisión Mexicana para la Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos. While 27,342 investigations into torture were initiated nationwide between 2006 and 2018, judges handed down just 50 convictions. (InSight Crime)
Literary Corner
  • Rubem Fonseca, a Brazilian former police officer who wrote widely acclaimed crime stories, died at age 94. (New York Times
I hope you're all staying safe and sane as possible, given the circumstances ... And in these times of coronavirus, when we're all feeling a little isolated, feel especially free to reach out and share.

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