Friday, July 2, 2021

Anti-Bolsonaro protests tomorrow (July 2, 2021)

News Briefs

  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is navigating politically treacherous waters: his administration is increasingly implicated in alleged vaccine procurement irregularities, and both leftists and conservatives are calling for his impeachment. (See yesterday's post.) Tens of thousands of protesters are expected to return to the streets tomorrow to demand Bolsonaro’s removal from office – the third such mass demonstration in just over a month, reports the Guardian.
  • Bolsonaro's moment of political weakness could be an opportunity for international efforts to reduce Amazon deforestation, argues Oliver Stuenkel in Americas Quarterly. Though environmental policies would have a cost for Bolsonaro in terms of his political base, pressure for conservation is growing in business sectors concerned about backlash.
  • One of Brazil’s leading politicians, the presidential hopeful Eduardo Leite, has announced he is gay. The 36-year-old governor of the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul is from the center-right Brazilian Social Democratic party (PSDB) and hopes to challenge Bolsonaro in next year’s presidential election, reports the Guardian. “I’m gay – and I’m a governor who is gay rather than a gay governor. ... And I’m proud of this,” said Leite in a television interview yesterday.
  • In Latin America, the heavy-handed police response to social protests in 2019 in Chile and in 2021 in Colombia have also increased scrutiny of law enforcement institutions in a region where the security services are still regarded with suspicion for their role during the military dictatorships. And racial inequities and a lack of accountability have led to widespread frustration with law enforcement, writes Beatriz García Nice in the Wilson Center's Weekly Asado.
  • Colombian President Iván Duque proposed a law that would increase prison sentences for vandalism, road blocks and attacks on police during protests. Critics said the move would criminalize protests, reports Reuters.
  • Last month Human Rights Watch denounced that brutal abuses by Colombia's police during recent anti-government protests were not isolated incidents but part of extensive failings by state security forces. (Reuters)
  • A subcommittee of the United States’ House of Representatives voted to conditionally approve aid to Colombia’s security forces yesterday. The subcommittee added a novel condition that requires State Department certification that Colombian authorities are effectively investigating and punishing human rights violations committed by the security forces, for part of the funds. (Colombia Reports)
  • Colombian protesters have demanded not just the rejection of a tax bill but a whole new society, writes Alma Guillermoprieto in the New York Review of Books. "The strikers have had monumental triumphs of sorts ...  Yet the government’s grand indifference to the suffering of its citizens remains unchanged. Violence, a miserable education system, and an economy now doubly ruined by the pandemic and the weeks of protest are still the lot of most Colombians, and realistically not much can be changed in the landscape of a disaster it has taken years to create."
  • Authorities and civil society alike are alarmed by how acts of criminal violence appear to be specifically targeting women in the troubled Colombian border town of Tibú, reports InSight Crime.
Regional Relations
  • Latino lawmakers in the U.S. are reaching across the aisle and helping shift some of the nation's foreign policy spotlight to Latin America, driven by concern over unrest in Nicaragua and Colombia and heavy handed crackdowns against protesters, reports Axios.
  • Twenty-one people have been arrested by Nicaraguan authorities as part of a crackdown against critics and political opponents -- five of them are possible presidential candidates. "Under these circumstances, free and fair elections cannot take place. We are urging the international community to do more to advocate for the release of our husbands and the more than 130 political prisoners currently held in Nicaragua," write Berta Valle and Victoria Cárdenas, wives of two political detainees, in the Washington Post.
  • Tropical Storm Elsa strengthened into the first hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic storm season this morning, threatening to unleash flooding and landslides in the Caribbean. Elsa became the earliest E storm on record, beating out Edouard, which formed July 6, 2020. Elsa is the fifth named storm of the season in the Atlantic. (USA Today)
  • The links between hurricanes and climate change are becoming more apparent. A warming planet can expect to experience stronger hurricanes over time, and a higher incidence of the most powerful storms, reports the New York Times.
  • A hurricane warning is in effect for Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as St. Lucia. A hurricane watch is in effect for southern Haiti from Port Au Prince to the southern border with the Dominican Republic. The system is expected to continue on a general west-northwest path over the Caribbean and is likely to remain a hurricane while approaching Hispaniola and Jamaica this weekend. (Accuweather)
  • The Pan American Health Organization says Cuba should publish trial data on its Abdala vaccine in peer-reviewed scientific journals so that the global scientific community can evaluate the efficacy rates of the COVID-19 shot. (Miami Herald, see June 23's post.)
  • Mexico's football federation faces FIFA sanctions as spectators insist on yelling "puto" (fag). But prohibitions miss the point, sports and political leaders should be engaging to challenge dominant forms of masculinity, argues Guillermo Osorno in the New York Times Español.
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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