- Mauricio Claver-Carone, U.S. President Donald Trump's candidate to head the Inter-American Development Bank, accused Argentina of trying to “obstruct” and “subvert” the election for the position. Claver-Carone spoke with journalists yesterday, after a group of countries, including Mexico, Chile and Costa Rica, advocated postponing the election that is scheduled for next month. (See yesterday's post.) Claver-Carone told a news conference that 17 countries were supporting him, and denounced the “tactics” of the Argentine government of angling to stall the election. Argentina did not respond, but Chile's foreign minister, Andrés Allamand said the response indicated Claver-Carone is not the right leader for the IDB. (Miami Herald, AFP, Página 12)
- "Venezuela’s crisis has been a contentious geopolitical issue for several years," writes Kristen Martinez-Gugerli at Venezuelan Politics and Human Rights, but "polarization around the right way to approach the crisis has only intensified in the wake of the Trump administration’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign and the COVID-19 pandemic." She analyzes the role of Russia and China in this context.
- Massive street blockades have paralyzed Bolivia for days, and protesters are threatening to march on La Paz and demand interim-president Jeanine Áñez's resignation in response to election delays. Nearly 150,000 miners, labor unionists, coca leaf farmers and Indigenous activists took to the streets last week after the election redo was delayed for a second time due to the coronavirus pandemic. Protesters allied with ousted president Evo Morales say Áñez seeks to extend her controversial hold on the government, reports the Washington Post. (See yesterday's briefs.)
- Bolivian politics are at an impasse, write Santiago Anria and Kenneth Roberts at the AULA blog: "the political field is sharply divided into two major antagonistic camps – masistas and anti-masistas – and neither can govern effectively while excluding the other."
- Former Pemex head Emilio Lozoya alleged that former president Enrique Peña Nieto benefited from millions of dollars in corporate bribes. Lozoya, a top official in Peña Nieto’s 2012 campaign, told Mexican prosecutors that he handled the bribes from the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht on the orders of Peña Nieto and one of his top aides, Luis Videgaray. He said the money was used for Peña Nieto's campaign payoffs to lawmakers to support the president's reforms. The allegations are the most serious yet against Peña Nieto, reports the Washington Post.
- Journalists in southern Mexico ‘live in terror’ of gang violence, reports AFP.
- Socioeconomic factors are crucial in how Brazilians confront the coronavirus pandemic: The poor are dying at a much higher rate than the wealthy, reports the Washington Post.
- Though the country's Covid-19 response has been a disaster, the pandemic has highlighted the importance and success of Brazil's comprehensive health care system, write Armínio Fraga, Miguel Lago and Rudi Rocha in Americas Quarterly.
- President Jair Bolsonaro caught coronavirus, but it really didn't matter much, notes Vanesa Barbara in a New York Times op-ed that is a shout out to all of us who are overwhelmed by domestic chores.
- The crises plaguing Brazil, along with Bolsonaro’s authoritarian response to them, have fanned concerns that the country’s democracy may not be strong enough to withstand the onslaught it is facing, according to the Huffington Post.
- In the midst of a growing global outcry over its environmental policies, Brazil is now inviting foreign investors to help the country preserve the Amazon and other endangered areas of conservation, reports Bloomberg.
- Brazilian meat giant JBS has "no action plan" to tackle Amazon deforestation linked to its supply chain, according to an HSBC report that indicates potential investment risks. The report, obtained by the Bureau of Investigative Journalists, comes as private investors exert increasing pressure on environmental issues in Brazil. (Guardian)
- Indigenous people living at the headwaters of the Amazon have called on European banks to stop financing oil development in the region, as it poses a threat to them and damages a fragile ecosystem. A new report found $10bn in previously undisclosed funding for oil in the region, reports the Guardian.
- Protesters in Peru's Andean and Amazon regions clashed with security forces after attacking three mining and oil sector firms in the last week, reports Reuters.
Trinidad and Tobago
- Trinidad and Tobago's opposition leader Kamla Persad Bissessar demanded a recount of general election results in three key constituencies yesterday, after Prime Minister Keith Rowley's declaration of victory in Monday's general election. (AFP, see yesterday's briefs.)
- It’s been almost three weeks since five Afro-Indigenous Garifuna men were abducted at gunpoint from their homes in Triunfe de la Cruz, on Honduras’ northern Caribbean coast. (See July 23's briefs.) In an interview with The Daily Beast, the president of the Fraternal Organization of Black Hondurans [OFRANEH], Miriam Miranda, said the Garifuna were the victims of attempted “genocide.”
- Amnesty International identified more than 30 instances of institutional violence since Argentina entered Covid-19 lockdown in March, including security force involvement in at least six assassinations or forced disappearances in the past four months. (Perfil)
- Judicial reform is desperately needed in Argentina, but President Alberto Fernández's proposal might instead further politicize the court system, argues journalist Hugo Alconada Mon in the New York Times Español. (See yesterday's briefs for Natalia Volosin's take on the issue, and July 30's post.)
- I spoke with Benjamin Gedan for the Wilson Center's Argentina Project podcast on why Argentina hasn't exploded yet -- cash transfer policies are a key component, as is, counterintuitively, political polarization. But we need to overcome the latter in order to strengthen the former. Based on a recent article I wrote with Marcelo J. García for the New York Times Español.
- Argentina’s death toll from the coronavirus has topped 5,000 -- cases have skyrocketed in recent weeks. (Reuters)
- The Pan-American Health Organization voiced concern about coronavirus spikes in Argentina and Colombia, where outbreaks were initially controlled. The organization also noted an increase in cases in Central America, where Belize reported its highest number of new infections of the novel coronavirus this week. The Dominican Republic has more cases than all other Caribbean island nations combined. (Reuters)
- Colombia's National Electoral Council said it had launched an investigation into whether President Iván Duque and his party violated campaign financing rules in the 2018 election that brought him to power, reports AFP.
- Ecuador’s navy is conducting surveillance of a massive Chinese fishing fleet that is operating near the protected waters of the Galapagos Islands. (Reuters)
- Informed by baile funk, metal and more, Brazilian artists Linn da Quebrada and Jup do Bairro – with producer Badsista – are dodging racism, transphobia and music industry resistance to tell their own stories -- Guardian.
I hope you're all staying safe and as sane as possible, given the circumstances ... Comments and critiques welcome, always.