Wednesday, October 21, 2020

MAS legacy behind Arce's landslide (Oct. 21, 2020)

News Briefs

  • Divisions among anti-MAS politicians in Bolivia helped consolidate Luis Arce's win in Bolivia's presidential elections on Sunday. (See yesterday's post and Monday's.) But the enduring popularity of the MAS party's policies is the real reason for his landslide win, argues Kevin Young in a Guardian opinion piece. A year of anti-indigenous, theocratic and neoliberal ideology pushed by the interim-government and anti-MAS leadership also helped push voters towards Arce. The incoming president will, however, face significant challenges, particularly a poor economic situation.
  • MAS obtained a parliamentary majority, in addition to the executive branch, and the victory shows the party's capacity to organize and thrive despite the exile of former leader Evo Morales, writes Pablo Stefanoni in El Diplo.
  • "It is difficult to remember the last time a U.S.-approved military coup in Latin America failed so spectacularly," writes Glenn Greenwald of Arce's victory. "Anyone who believes in the fundamentals of democracy, regardless of ideology, should be cheering the Bolivians who sacrificed so much to restore their right of self-rule and hoping that the stability and prosperity they enjoyed under Morales expands even further under his first democratically elected successor." (The Intercept)
  • Arce’s victory adds to the sense of momentum behind socialist or left-leaning politics elsewhere in the region -- harkening back to the region's "Pink Tide," reports the Washington Post.
  • Latin America’s tentative economic recovery from the coronavirus-related recession faces increasing doubts over gigantic budget gaps and dwindling investor confidence, according to a new Reuters poll.
  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's stance on deforestation is a major stumbling block for a trade agreement between the European Union and the Mercosur. France, Ireland and Austria have said they will block parliamentary ratification of a free-trade zone announced last year, unless Bolsonaro agrees to do more to tackle Amazonian deforestation and record numbers of fires. (Guardian)
  • The United States and Brazil have reached an agreement on a limited trade deal that will facilitate commerce between the countries, strengthen regulatory practices and crack down on corruption, reports the New York Times.
  • Bolsonaro's government threatens press freedom in Brazil by using "indirect censorship," including virulent attacks against journalists, according to Reporters Without Borders. (AFP)
  • Homicides surged in Brazil this year, despite lockdown measures aimed at controlling the coronavirus. There were 25,712 violent deaths in the first half of 2020, according to a new report by the Brazilian Public Security Forum. (AFP)
  • The U.S. Supreme Court said it would take up two challenges to President Donald Trump’s immigration initiatives: his diversion of military funds to pay for construction of the southern border wall, and a policy that has required tens of thousands of asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while their claims are processed. (Washington Post)
  • The parents of 545 children separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border under the Trump administration's "no tolerance" migration policy still can't be found, according to a court document filed yesterday by the U.S. Justice Department and the American Civil Liberties Union. (NPR)
  • Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said  his government would ask United States authorities to share all information about the alleged links between Mexico’s former defense secretary and drug traffickers, reports Al Jazeera. (See Monday's post.)
  • Allegations against Mexican former defense secretary General Salvador Cienfuegos show how the Sinaloa Cartel and the Beltran Leyva Organization have thrived by bribing key officials, a strategy that has kept them off the radar compared to other groups that consolidate territorial control with violence -- Latin America Risk Report.
  • Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega dismissed accusations that security forces have tortured jailed government critics. He accused political prisoners -- a group of whom are currently on hunger strike -- of lying in order to tarnish Nicaragua's reputation. Ortega accused the United States and the European countries of interventionism, in response to the international sanctions placed upon his government. (BBC, AFP)
  • Nicaragua has become the third largest supplier of frozen beef to the United States, but cattle ranchers increasing production have increasingly pushed indigenous communities off their land, reports the Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal.
El Salvador
  • A new pro-government, state-run newspaper in El Salvador is owned by public energy sector companies. The limited liability corporation that runs the new Diario El Salvador is a subsidiary of Grupo CEL (Comisión Ejecutiva Hidroeléctrica del Río Lempa), a mechanism that shields the paper from fiscal accountability measures applied to public funding, reports Revista Factum. Lawyers who have worked with the energy sector said CEL subsidiaries have served as a sort of slush fund for previous governments.
  • Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra denied allegations that he had received a payout from a construction company that won a public works contract when he was a regional governor, as prosecutors said they would open a preliminary investigation. (Reuters)
  • Argentina passed one million cases of coronavirus yesterday, and three other countries in the region are expected to reach the mark this week. The virus is spreading from capital cities to smaller locations, and experts predict a more sustained, plateau-like trend rather than a second-wave like in Europe. (Associated Press)
I hope you're all staying safe and as sane as possible, given the circumstances ... Comments and critiques welcome, always.

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