Thursday, August 12, 2021

PAHO to procure vaccines (Aug. 12, 2021)

 The Pan American Health Organization announced a new program through which vaccines, syringes and related supplies are purchased on behalf of member states. The Revolving Fund is a cooperation mechanism in which the organization will buy “tens of millions” of vaccine doses, to be paid for by countries that participate in the program. More than 20 countries have formally expressed interest. (Reuters)

“It is an initiative that will benefit every country in the region but especially those that lack the resources and the negotiating power to secure the doses that they need to protect their people,” said PAHO director Dr. Carissa Etienne. 

The program amounts to "a tacit recognition that the United Nations-backed Covax program will not come close to providing the immunizations that the developing world needs," reports the New York Times.

Low coronavirus vaccination rates — combined with some of the highest infection rates in the world — threaten to prolong the economic crisis caused by the pandemic in Latin America, reports Al Jazeera.

Deaths related to COVID-19 are rising in nearly every country in Central America, including a 30% increase in El Salvador. COVID-19 cases are falling in Panama and Costa Rica, but are on the rise in Honduras, Belize and El Salvador. (Reuters) Mexico saw a record rise in Covid-19 cases yesterday. (Bloomberg)

News Briefs

Regional Relations
  • Talks between Venezuela's government and opposition will restart in Mexico tomorrow, with an organizational meeting. The official start of the talks is set for August 30. Sanctions, political prisoners and elections are on the table, but not the future of President Nicolás Maduro, reports AFP.
  • Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles called on opposition parties to participate in elections for governors and mayors in November, following boycotts of two major elections in the last three years, reports Reuters. Opposition parties still haven't agreed on a stance regarding whether they should participate in Congressional elections scheduled for November. (See yesterday's briefs.)
  • Panama and Colombia reached an agreement to receive up to 650 migrants each day, amid a mounting crisis on their shared border, where thousands of migrants are stranded in their journeys north. The agreement will be approved with Costa Rica, which also shares a border with Panama and through which migrants will cross as they head through Central America en route to the United States, reports Reuters.
  • Senior U.S. officials met with counterparts in Mexico this week for talks on addressing illegal migration to the U.S., reports the Associated Press. They discussed working jointly to slow crossings along the U.S. southern border.
  • The U.S. Border Patrol reported nearly 180,000 encounters with migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border in June, the highest monthly total in more than two decades. (Pew Research Center)
  • Haiti will hold presidential elections last scheduled for September on November 7. The provisional electoral council said polling day will include the first round of the presidential election, legislative elections that should have been held in 2019, and a constitutional referendum supported by president Jovenel Moïse, who was assassinated last month. (AFP)
  • Allies of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro are pushing a series of electoral reforms through Congress, ahead of next year's presidential elections. The proposed changes "would constitute the most sweeping revision to the country’s complicated electoral system since the 1988 Constitution," reports The Intercept. "The proposals include measures that would legalize or reduce punishment for multiple forms of corruption and voter intimidation; weaken measures designed to promote racial and gender diversity in politics; and dismantle regulatory structures."
  • Bolsonaro's ongoing attacks against the electoral system may impact the country’s foreign relations, according to the Latin America Risk Report. "A source in Europe said that several governments are beginning to question whether to preemptively warn in a statement or even threaten sanctions against Bolsonaro with the view that he appears to be planning to steal or postpone next year’s election." (See yesterday's post.)
  • "Brazilian lawmakers have voted to expel the gospel star turned congresswoman Flordelis over her alleged involvement in the murder of the husband with whom she had raised more than 50 children," reports the Guardian.
  • Just two weeks into Peruvian President Pedro Castillo's government, his controversial cabinet picks have left the country on the brink of yet another political meltdown, reports the Washington Post. (See Monday's post.)
  • Ecuadorean unions and Indigenous groups held a protest against the government, the first since President Guillermo Lasso took office in May, reports EFE.
  • Mexico might use its share of recently-approved International Monetary Fund reserves, $12 billion, to repay the country’s debts, reports Bloomberg.
El Salvador
  • El Salvador’s government finished a first draft of constitutional changes that include extending the presidential term from five to six years, reports Bloomberg.
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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