Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Latin America Daily Briefing June 23, 2020

News Briefs

  • The coronavirus "new normal" in Latin America could well be an intense version of the region's pre-pandemic violence-ridden reality, write José Luis Pardo Veiras y Alejandra Sánchez Inzunza in a New York Times Español op-ed. There is a serious risk that criminal groups will expand to fill the vacuum of governments made even more fragile by the current crisis, they warn.
  • The massive anti-racism protests in the United States share a lot with pro-democracy movements from Latin America, argues Lilian Bobea in the Conversation. While U.S. protests are often focused on a single issue -- like gun rights or access to abortion -- "Latin America protests, on the other hand, are often sustained movements with ambitious goals. They seek regime change or an entirely new constitutional order."
  • Suriname's ruling party conceded defeat in the May 25 general election. In its statement, the NDP warned the opposition parties that they should remember that “the path of success is not one of roses," reports CMC.
  • "Brazil now faces three different crises due to a lack of regulatory excellence: a health crisis, an economic crisis, and a political crisis," write Mariana Urban and Eduardo Saad-Diniz in the Regulatory Review
  • Brazil reached more than a million confirmed coronavirus cases and 50,000 deaths over the weekend, which didn't stop people from thronging to Rio de Janeiro's beaches over the weekend, reports Reuters.
  • Allies of U.S. President Donald Trump including Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott gently took issue with the president's statements that he would meet with Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro, and reiterated support for opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the legitimate leader of Venezuela, reports Washington Post. Trump backtracked on the interview yesterday, clarifying that he would meet with Maduro, who has clung to power since a disputed 2018 election, only to discuss “a peaceful exit.” (See yesterday's briefs.)
  • An Iranian ship was approaching the Venezuelan port of La Guaira on Sunday with a cargo of food that will supply the country's first Iranian supermarket, reports Reuters.
  • Bolivia's interim president, Jeanine Áñez signed off on a plan to hold general elections by Sept. 6, despite public health concerns, reports AFP. "I have received pressure demanding elections on September 6, that is, in the midst of the pandemic. I have a country suffering and many politicians and authorities demanding elections as soon as possible," she said in a recorded message. (See last Friday's briefs.)
  • Chile nearly doubled its reported coronavirus death toll Saturday to more than 7,000 under a new tallying method that includes probable Covid-19 fatalities. (AFP)
  • The pandemic has only deepened Chilean democracy's extreme crisis, writes Patricio Fernández in a New York Times Español op-ed. As contagions increase, Chilean authorities are resorting to military enforced quarantines, without providing adequate responses for Chileans whose poverty does not allow them to remain home.
  • Peruvian lawmakers could fast-track a bill that would limit access to a string of indigenous territories near the border with Ecuador and Brazil, pushed by growing concerns that the coronavirus pandemic could devastate remote communities. But indigenous advocates fear that opposition by the oil industry may undermine the opportunity to protect swathes of virgin Amazon rainforest, reports Reuters.
  • Covid-19 cases are spiking in Argentina as the government struggles to contain contagion in the Buenos Aires metropolitan region, reports Al Jazeera.
  • Argentina's government suggested the emergency cash-transfer program implemented as a response to the coronavirus pandemic could be turned into a basic income program for the country's informal workers. (BAE Negocios)
  • Gracelito Micolta, a member in the community council of Alto Guapi, was murdered in Colombia's Cauca department -- 138 social leaders have been assassinated so far this year according to the Institute for Development and Peace tally. (Telesur)
  • Surprisingly, tourism could play a central role in Colombia's post-pandemic economic recovery -- whenever that happens -- reports Americas Quarterly.
  • Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei said that 151 of the people who work at his official residence have tested positive for COVID-19, and one has died. (Associated Press)
  • Foreign Policy has a Q and A with Nina Lakhani, author of "Who Killed Berta Cáceres? Dams, Death Squads, and an Indigenous Defender’s Battle for the Planet."
  • Panamanian authorities exhumed the remains of 19 victims of the 1989 U.S. invasion of the country -- part of a push to identify the remains and give families closure, reports BBC.
  • A long-overdue national discussion about race and racism in Mexico is pushing aside traditional denial of the issue in the country -- though it has been overshadowed in recent days by politics, celebrity and a combustible debate over so-called cancel culture, reports Americas Quarterly.
  • At least 15 people were killed in a Oaxaca state village in Mexico, in a dispute over windpower, reports the Guardian.
  • Mexican archeologists fear budget cuts will decimate research into the country’s pre-Columbian past and leave thousands of ancient sites – including Aztec temples and Mayan cities – at the mercy of looters, reports the Guardian.
  • Two prominent British firms, Lloyd’s of London and Greene King, announced they would make amends for their involvement in the slave trade in the 18th and 19th centuries. But an alliance of Caribbean countries is asking for more, and is pushing British financial institutions to pay reparations for their historic role in the slave trade. (New York Times, Daily Mail)
  • The Conversation analyzes the legal case with slavery reparations and where is corporate liability likely to go from here.

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