Thursday, October 29, 2020

Central American migrant surge building (Oct. 29, 2020)

News Briefs

  • U.S. officials and others say evidence is mounting that another surge of migrants is starting to build in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — Central America’s Northern Triangle. A renewed crisis of children and families coming to the border could provide an early test for Joe Biden if he wins next week's election, reports the Los Angeles Times.
  • U.S. immigration authorities have radically stepped up deportation flights to Haiti this month ahead of the upcoming U.S. presidential election. But critics are concerned that deportees are spreading coronavirus in Haiti, as well as for asylum-seekers safety. Advocates said some of the deported migrants had been fleeing political and gang violence, and would be risking their lives to return to their homes, reports the Guardian.
  • "After the promising development of regional rules and norms starting with the end of the Cold War, Latin America has seen a shocking breakdown of regional coordination," writes Oliver Stuenkel in Americas Quarterly. And it's likely to get worst before it gets better.
  • The remains of 59 bodies have been discovered in clandestine graves in Mexico's Guanajuato state, where the homicide rate has surged amid a raging turf war between rival drug cartels, reports Reuters.
  • Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador considers organizations of civil society, media and opinion makers to be enemies of his administration, an issue of concern Lisa Sánchez of México Unido Contra la Delincuencia told El País.
  • Colombia's National Agrarian Coordinator (CNA) informed that Carlos Navia, a farmers' leader from the department of Cauca, was murdered on Monday. 243 social leaders have been assassinated so far this year, reports Telesur.
  • Women working at a grassroots level are key to Colombia's peace process. “Building peace isn’t only something that is done with accords, but with people on the ground, and of course women are key to that,” Sandra Vera, a former FARC fighter who works with the government agency responsible for reintegration, told the Guardian.
  • The case of the Amata logging company in Brazil, whose sustainable timber production was destroyed by illegal loggers, is emblematic of how the Bolsonaro administration has undermined efforts to sustainably exploit the Amazon, reports the Wall Street Journal
  • Brazil's government billed the antiparasitic drug nitazoxanide as a major breakthrough in the battle against Covid-19. Scientists are underwhelmed by the evidence. For critics, the episode is yet another example of how politics trumps science in the Bolsonaro administration, reports Science.
  • Bolivian president-elect Luis Arce must deal with national debt and poverty without the help of growing natural gas revenue, reports Bloomberg.
  • Crude inventories at Venezuela’s main oil export terminal, Jose, have hit their highest levels since August as customers shy away from state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela due to U.S. sanctions, according to Reuters.
  • Cuba's Western Union offices -- run by a military-controlled entity -- will shut-down due to widening American financial restrictions on the island. The move will severely restrict the flow of remittances from abroad and worsen a profound economic crisis on the island, reports the New York Times.
  • Hopes are high that the overwhelming vote to overturn the Pinochet-era constitution in Chile marks the beginning of a new era, writes Kirsten Sehnbruch in a Guardian opinion piece.
  • Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra faces new allegations of corruption and a potential impeachment inquiry. But most Peruvians want him to finish out his term, and even a significant portion of those who disapprove of Vizcarra still don't want to seem him impeached -- Latin America Risk Report.
  • "Song without a Name" is a desperately sad account of real-life events in Peru in the 1980s, when an indigenous woman has her newborn child stolen by a fake maternity clinic -- Guardian.
  • Argentine authorities moved quickly against the coronavirus in March, with strong support from the population. Eight months later the country is among the top five for coronavirus cases globally, and Argentines are grappling with a collective sense of exhaustion and demoralization, even disbelief, reports the Washington Post.
  • Argentina's perpetual cycle of economic crises is due to the country's recurring pendulum swing between inward-looking economic policies and an export-oriented strategy predicated on sweeping liberalization. In Le Monde Diplomatique, Carlos Freytes and Tomás Bril Mascarenhas of Fundar look at the structural shortcomings of both approaches and argue that sustainable and inclusive development in Argentina requires a dynamic, outward-looking development strategy to break this cycle, one that combines export goals with a strong government role.
  • Argentina's once-strong television industry is subject to the same swings as the rest of the economy, and is reeling from pandemic restrictions this year that have forced productions to get (even more) creative, I write in Americas Quarterly. The pandemic has all of us reconsidering what is "essential," and I was surprised to find that a corny game-show featuring socially distanced taxi drivers suddenly makes my list.
Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take? Let me know ... 

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