Thursday, June 18, 2020

Bouterse lost Suriname election (June 18, 2020)

News Briefs

  • Voters in Suriname ousted President Desi Bouterse in the country's May 25 parliamentary election, according to final results announced this week. Chan Santokhi, a former police commissioner and justice minister of the Progressive Reform Party, won a majority of votes and 20 seats in the 51-seat National Assembly. Santokhi says he will form a government with three other parties. The new National Assembly will be sworn in on June 29 and is expected to elect him as the new president, reports Reuters. Bouterse now faces a prison sentence for a murder conviction, though he is appealing.
  • Suriname's "political landscape has been reset," writes Scott MacDonald at Global Americans. "The post-Bouterse era beckons. But will the strongman leave quietly? Expectations are yes, but until the new government is in office, some doubts will linger." Like neighboring Guyana, Suriname has the issue of what to do with newfound oil wealth, and MacDonald explores how the new government will handle Bouterse's close ties with China, Cuba and Venezuela.
  • Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández was hospitalized with Covid-19 and pneumonia, yesterday, just a day after announcing he had tested positive, reports the Associated Press. (See yesterday's briefs.) Honduras is gradually reopening business after a strict three month lockdown, even as some doctors warn that hospitals are overwhelmed with patients.
  • Peru topped 240,000 total cases of coronavirus yesterday, and is the second hardest-hit country in the region, after Brazil, reports Reuters.
  • Desperate Peruvians are resorting to black-market oxygen tanks -- at extravagant markups and unknown quality -- as hospitals are overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients, reports the Washington Post. The country in general has a shortage of oxygen for patients: Health Minister Víctor Zamora says Peru now faces a daily shortfall of 180 tons of oxygen. He has unveiled a $28 million package to import oxygen and build new plants, and is calling on the country’s Congress to criminalize hoarding and speculation on medical supplies.
  • Chile's government announced a tightening of lockdowns and "maximum" movement restrictions in Santiago, reports Al Jazeera.
  • Mexico’s coronavirus cases continued to increase at near-record levels yesterday, with few signs of decrease,.even as the economy starts reopening, reports the Associated Press.
Regional Relations
  • The U.S. Trump administration is "exploiting growing political divisions" in Latin America by nominating a U.S. senior official, Mauricio Claver-Carone, to head the Inter-American Development Bank, breaking an unwritten rule that the institution is headed by  Latin American, reports Bloomberg. "The U.S. seized the opportunity after Latin America’s three largest economies were unable to agree on a candidate." (See yesterday's post.)
  • Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said a proposed July 1 summit with U.S. President Donald Trump is unlikely now, though he did not totally rule it out. (Reuters)
  • Argentine President Alberto Fernández has gone into quarantine as a spike in coronavirus cases -- including several members of the country's political leadership -- causes concern in the country. Argentina started gradually reducing a strict lockdown in most of the country last month, though movement in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area remains extremely limited. Argentina’s reported cases have more than quadrupled from only 8,000 on 17 May to some 35,000 cases now, with almost 16,000 of those cases in Buenos Aires City and another 14,000 in the surrounding Greater Buenos Aires area, reports the Guardian.
  • Women activists in Buenos Aires's poorest neighborhoods are leading battles to sustain their communities through Covid-19. Their community soup kitchens continue a long tradition from unemployed movements in previous decades, but also incorporate feminist activism, writes Claire Branigan in NACLA. "In times of extreme social isolation and suffering, the ollas serve as a life-giving space, created by and for women to feed their families and to share strategies for survival."

I hope you're all staying safe and as 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. 

1 comment:


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