Monday, February 22, 2021

Costa Rica's climate leadership (Feb. 22, 2021)

News Briefs

  • Costa Rica is a global climate leader, and the country has now set its sights on securing an ambitious international agreement on halting biodiversity loss. “Our approach is to lead by example," Costa Rican president Carlos Alvarado Quesada told the Guardian. “Conservation is one of the key factors that scientists point out as relevant for protecting biodiversity and also for addressing the climate crisis. But working alone, it’s not as effective.”
  • Brazil’s government has passed 57 major legislative acts that weaken environmental protections in the country, and 49 per cent of these were enacted in the seven months since the Covid-19 pandemic was declared in March, reports the New Scientist.
  • The murder of Brazilian land rights defender Fernando dos Santos Araújo, a key witness and survivor of the 2017 massacre of rural workers in Brazil’s Amazonia region, should be duly investigated to bring the perpetrators to justice, said Mary Lawlor, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders. (UOL)
  • At least 6,402 people were murdered by the Colombia's army and falsely declared combat kills in order to boost statistics in the civil war against leftist guerrillas, according to an investigation by Colombia's special peace tribunal (JEP). The JEP made public the preliminary results of its investigation into the killings, known as the “false positives” scandal, last week, following the exhumation of mass graves across the country over the past two years. (Guardian)
  • An eight-year-old Honduran boy drowned last week attempting to cross the Rio Grande from Mexico to the U.S. -- he is the latest of a long string of victims along the border, made more treacherous by freezing winter conditions. The boy’s parents and sister apparently made it to the US, but were returned to Mexico by Customs and Border Protection, reports the Guardian.
  • An angry mob attacked Venezuela's embassy in Peru, throwing rocks and breaking windows in the midst of a demonstration against immigrants and Venezuelan migrants, reports Tal Cual.
  • Affordable birth control has disappeared in Venezuela, pushing many women into unplanned pregnancies at a time when they can barely feed the children they already have, reports the New York Times. Women are increasingly resorting to abortions, which are illegal and, in the worst cases, can cost them their lives.
Regional Relations
  • Honduras, a longtime-partner of the U.S. governed by a president with grave accusations of colluding with criminal organizations, will be a challenge for the U.S. Biden administration's commitment to combat corruption in Central America, writes Edmund Ruge in Americas Quarterly.
  • Illegal guns flowing across the Mexican border from the U.S. fuel the country's horrific homicide rates, writes Ioan Grillo in the New York Times, calling for the U.S. Biden administration to support reforms that would choke off the so-called iron river of guns.
  • Mexican rural teachers have Covid-19 vaccine priority in some parts of the country. Critics of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador say he's playing politics with the vaccine, reports the Wall Street Journal.
  • Six members of Mexico’s military died in an accident yesterday morning involving a Mexican air force plane in Veracruz state, reports Reuters.
  • Economic crisis is pushing Cubans back to barter systems, and some artists are leading a foodie revolution powered by necessity rather than fashion, reports the Guardian.
  • Chile has emerged as not just a regional, but as a global leader, in Covid-19 vaccinations. Americas Quarterly interviews Dr. Izkia Siches Pastén, the national president of Chile’s Colegio Médico on the country's successful inoculation push.
  • Argentina's health minister resigned Friday, after reports surfaced that he had aided people to jump the queue to receive Covid-19 vaccines. (Al Jazeera)
  • The unofficial campaign season for Argentina's legislative elections, to be held in October this year, has already started, and highlights the country's perennial political myopia, argues Hugo Alconada Mon in the New York Times Español.
  • The coronavirus pandemic is deepening inequality, heightening calls for a Robin Hood tax in many places. Argentina passed a one-time special levy on the rich in December, while Bolivia passed a longer-term wealth tax hitting anyone with more than $4.3 million, reports the Washington Post. Politicians in several nations, including Chile and Peru, have been floating wealth taxes.
  • Petroleo Brasileiro SA’s executive management is considering resigning en masse after the Brazilian government decided to replace Chief Executive Roberto Castello Branco, reports Reuters.
  • An anti-narcotics operation targeting an alleged trafficking ring in Guatemala has shed light on the increasing importance of small, often discrete transport networks in the country’s cocaine trade, reports InSight Crime.
Human Rights
  • Dianna Ortiz, a Roman Catholic nun whose rape and torture in Guatemala in 1989 helped lead to the release of documents showing U.S. involvement in human rights abuses in that country, died last week. Sister Ortiz became "a global champion for people subjected to torture, and her case would help compel the release of classified documents showing decades of U.S. complicity in human rights abuses in Guatemala during its 36-year civil war, in which 200,000 civilians were killed." -- New York Times. (See also Washington Post.)
Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take? Let me know ... Latin America Daily Briefing

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