Friday, April 10, 2020

Venezuela needs a truce (April 10, 2020)

News Briefs

  • In Venezuela, which suffered a pre-coronavirus humanitarian emergency, hundreds of thousands of lives depend on whether the country's leadership can temporarily cooperate in order to combat Covid-19, write Temir Porras, Feliciano Reyna and Verónica Zubillaga. Nicolás Maduro needs the opposition in order to access international funding, and Juan Guaidó needs Maduro in order to implement aid efforts. And the U.S. must assist in reaching a truce, if possible, they argue. (Inter-American Dialogue)
  • Nicaragua's haphazard coronavirus response could be disastrous. "If the government's senior leadership continues to ignore calls for strong mitigation efforts, the fragile public health infrastructure could collapse under the pressure of widespread infection," warn experts in The Lancet. (See yesterday's briefs.)
  • The pandemic has permitted the U.S. Trump administration to effectively set aside asylum laws. Since March 20, when the government essentially prohibited asylum applications at the Mexican border, nearly 10,000 Mexicans and Central Americans have been “expelled” to Mexico, reports the Associated Press.
  • Women are at the vanguard of the Covid-19 battle in Latin America, but in very unequal positions: seven out of 10 social and health sector workers are women, but they earn 28 percent less than their male counterparts, writes  Asa Regnér in the Post Opinión.
  • Economic recovery in Latin America will require post-pandemic measures to bring women into the workplace -- that means "innovative financial mechanisms to facilitate credit for more women, increase opportunities for women to join the labor force by instituting better support systems for family care, and demand that private sector actors commit to equal pay," writes Isabel Saint Malo de Alvarado in Americas Quarterly.
  • Cuba's medical brigade has turned solidarity into a business and diplomatic lobby for the country's government, writes Abraham Jiménez Enoa in the Post Opinión.
  • Transition to distance-learning in Guatemala -- a country where 80 percent of households lack internet access or adequate technology -- puts in stark relief the chronic educational inequalities and lack of wireless infrastructure that the vast majority of the country's schoolchildren face. (Plaza Pública, El Faro translation)
  • Latin America's over-crowded jails make inmates uniquely vulnerable to Covid-19 -- and present a hazard beyond the institutions' walls as well, writes María Luisa Romero in Open Democracy.
  • Haitian activists and officials fear the country's prison network is an epidemiological time bomb, reports AFP.
  • Peruvian prisons will not receive new detainees for the rest of the coronavirus quarantine, reports El País.
  • Judges in Buenos Aires province granted 800 inmates house arrest in a measure aimed at controlling coronavirus in jail. (El País)
  • Remember how Ronaldinho was arrested in Paraguay for using a fake passport? After a month in maximum-security prison he was released this week to house arrest by Paraguayan authorities. He and his brother will carry out the rest of their sentence at the Palmaroga Hotel, a luxury hotel in Asunción. (Guardian)
Organized Crime
  • It's a little soon to predict how, but "the pandemic is likely to lead to a massive restructuring of organized crime, impacting markets for illegal drugs, arms and other goods," write Adriana Erthal Abdenur and Carolina Sampó in Americas Quarterly.
  • Brazil’s Amazonas state said its health system has been overwhelmed by the coronavirus epidemic, with all intensive care beds and ventilators already taken as a result of the outbreak, reports Reuters.
  • Chile has been lauded for broad testing and low mortality thus far in the pandemic, but health workers warn that public hospitals are unprepared for a potential rise in cases when quarantine measures are lifted in certain Santiago neighborhoods next week. (Guardian)
  • Latin America's economies will contract between 1.8 and 5.5 percent this year due to the novel coronavirus, according to the Inter-American Development Bank. (El País)
  • Fourteen million full-time workers lost their jobs in Latin America in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the International Labour Organisation. (Telesur)
  • The Mexico City government is sending out teams to help the home-bound and the homeless during the shutdown, reports the Associated Press.
  • Desperate day-motel residents in Bogota have taken to hanging red flags or cloths out front of their buildings on doors or balconies in an attempt to alert authorities that the people inside urgently require food and other resources, reports the Bogotá Post.
  • The virus reminds humanity of our love-hate relationship with nature, writes artist Paula Barragán in New York Times Español.
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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