Wednesday, June 16, 2021

OAS condemns Ortega crackdown (June 16, 2021)

The Organization of American States’ Permanent Council approved a resolution yesterday condemning the arrest in Nicaragua of presidential pre-candidates, restrictions imposed on political parties and calling for the immediate release of political prisoners. Over the past two weeks 13 opposition leaders have been detained, including four presidential precandidates.

The resolution was supported by 27 countries. Two countries - Nicaragua and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines - voted against the measure, while Mexico, Argentina, Belize, Honduras, and Dominica abstained.

The vote means that there would likely be the requisite two-thirds support in the international organization to suspend Nicaragua.

More Nicaragua
  • Confidencial looks at the FSLN’s ambiguous, historical relationship with the OAS.
News Briefs

  • The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Fatou Bensouda postponed an anticipated decision on whether or not to open an investigation in Venezuela for crimes against humanity, due to a last minute request from the Venezuelan government. (EFE)
  • Escalating gang violence has pushed nearly 8,500 women and children from their homes in Haiti’s capital in the past two weeks, according to Unicef. Nearly 14,000 people in Port-au-Prince have been displaced by violence in the past nine months. Bruno Maes, Haiti’s representative for the UN’s children agency that issued the report late on Monday, compared the effect to guerrilla warfare, “with thousands of children and women caught in the crossfire," reports the Associated Press. (See last Thursday's briefs.)
  • Latin America's anti-corruption momentum has declined since the mid-2010s, according to this year's Capacity to Combat Corruption Index, by Americas Society/Council of the Americas and Control Risks. The CCC Index detected a concerning decline in the efficiency and independence of anti-corruption agencies in almost all the countries surveyed.
  • Cleaner government would allow for more agile and effective responses to the numerous socioeconomic and health maladies stemming from the pandemic, and greater transparency would also help facilitate the boom in investment Latin America so badly needs. But change can't be imposed from the outside, write Brian Winter and Geert Aalbers in Americas Quarterly.
War on Drugs
  • A Washington Post opinion series looks back on fifty years of war on drugs in Latin America: "Lost Cause."
  • "The war narrative prevailed, and the biggest winners were the systems built to wage a fight that they soon realized would have no end," writes Gustavo Gorriti on the subject. "This “war” of 50 years has been toxic and destructive, a strategic fallacy and deeply harmful."
  • Black Brazilians are disproportionately killed by police and incarcerated, a situation linked to the 2006 Anti-Drug Act, which is the reason for the arrest of a third of Brazilian inmates, writes Fausto Salvadori.  
  • Colombian President Iván Duque's insistence on resurrecting aerial eradication of coca crops "will crash into the same failures of the past. Only this time, it will have an aggravating circumstance: the country’s new social and political reality," argue María Teresa Ronderos and Andrés Bermúdez Liévano
  • "It’s challenging to find a politician, military chief, police officer or prominent businessman who isn’t linked to drug trafficking or corruption in Honduras," notes Carlos Dada. And in Honduras, the drug trade has moved in step with the United States’ interests.
  • The militarization of the fictitious war on drugs in Mexico has caused hundreds of thousands of deaths and disappearances over the past fifteen years. "Drug trafficking is not the beginning or end of Mexico’s misfortunes: It’s a catalyst that arrived in a country with a deep history of violence and impunity," writes José Luis Pardo Veiras.
  • Mexican authorities said yesterday they have fully confirmed the match between a bone fragment and a student missing since 2014, reports the Associated Press.
  • Mexican President Andrés Manue López Obrador announced plans to make the national guard part of the army, erasing the thin pretense of a civilian-controlled force that was used to gain approval for its creation two years ago, reports the Associated Press.
  • Colombia's National Strike Committee said they plan to suspend their weekly demonstrations but promised to continue to fight for widespread social and economic reforms. Protest leaders accused President Iván Duque’s government of undermining an effort to start negotiations after talks were called off earlier this month. (Al Jazeera)
  • Nonetheless, protesters have won significant victories over the past six weeks, according to Jacobin: five members of Duque's cabinet have stepped down, the protested tax bill was withdrawn, and a broad social movement has consolidated with a focus on inequality and violence.
  • Brazil's government authorized the employment of the National Security Force (FNS) to protect the Yanomami indigenous people and their reservation lands for 90 days in the northern state of Roraima bordering Venezuela. The move comes amid increasing attacks with firearms by illegal wildcat gold miners who have invaded Yanomami lands on Brazil's largest reservation, reports Reuters.
  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro promised to raise the welfare program monthly payments to 300 reais from the current 190 reais starting in December. (Reuters)
  • Brazil's Senate is planning to vote on a bill about privatization of state-owned energy giant Eletrobras. (Reuters)
  • Pedro Castillo has claimed victory in Peru's presidential election after clinging on to a narrow lead as the lengthy vote count ended, reports Reuters. Rival Keiko Fujimori has alleged irregularities and refuses to concede. The electoral body has yet to confirm the result. (See Monday's briefs.)
  • Castillo sought to assuage fears of radical change: "We are not Chavistas, we are not communists, no one has come to destabilize this country," he said, a reference to a common refrain from Fujimori's party. "We are workers, we are entrepreneurs and we will guarantee a stable economy, respecting private property, respecting private investment and above all respecting fundamental rights, such as the right to education and health." (Reuters)
  • Castillo is about to win Peru's presidential election, but that doesn't mean he'll be able to implement his challenges to the country's market economic model, writes Andrea Moncada in  Americas Quarterly.
  • A new show in Madrid's Reina Sofía, Enemies of Poetry: Resistance in Latin America, focuses on the artistic boom in the region between 1964 and 1987 and examines how the political upheavals of the era and the emergence of new artistic practices “favoured a series of transcendental exchanges in the development of contemporary art” -- Guardian.
Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take? Let me know ...

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