Thursday, September 2, 2021

Bukele's judicial reform (Sept. 2, 2021)

News Briefs

El Salvador
  • Judicial reform passed by El Salvador's National Assembly at lightning speed this week will force judges and prosecutors to retire once they turn 60 or after completing 30 years of service, affecting one-third of all judges and dozens of prosecutors, reports El Faro. (See yesterday's briefs.) The Supreme Court will now hold the power to name the new magistrates, a move which legal observers have called unconstitutional. The reforms also create an arbitrary process for reassigning judges, which judicial watch dogs fear will be used to silence judges at odds with the Bukele administration. 
  • A group of young Salvadorans protested against the country's adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender and denounced political persecution against people critical of the government of President Nayib Bukele, reports EFE. (See yesterday's briefs.)
  • This year's "Miss El Salvador" wants to use her beauty pageant platform to raise awareness about gender violence and has called for a law that permits abortions. (El Faro)
  • Venezuelan negotiators for the Maduro government and the opposition will start meetings tomorrow, aimed at reaching an agreement to end the country's protracted political stalemate. Two recent key developments -- the freeing of opposition leader Freddy Guevara and the announced participation of the opposition in regional elections -- are cited as unofficial victories of the new talks, reports Reuters. (See yesterday's post.)
  • President Nicolás Maduro's main goal for talks is to obtain relief from international sanctions that are crippling the country's economy. "Few ordinary Venezuelans expect the Mexico talks to achieve much. But the participants seem strangely confident that change is possible," according to the Economist.
  • A Reuters article documents how armed Colombian groups are taking advantage of Venezuela's crisis and transforming border communities. "Rebels who once hid from Colombia's military in Venezuela's jungles have moved into population centers, ruling alongside Maduro's government in some places, supplanting it in others," reports Sarah Kinosian.
  • China’s top oil producer is laying the groundwork to revive output in Venezuela as President Nicolas Maduro finalizes legislation to attract more international investment, reports Bloomberg.
  • Brazil's Supreme Court is hearing arguments this week in a landmark case on whether to recognize Indigenous rights to ancestral lands that were not occupied in 1988, when the country’s current constitution was ratified. Indigenous groups have carried out the largest-ever native protests ahead of the decision, and say limiting their claims to ancestral lands ignores the historic genocidal oppression against Indigenous communities that drove them off their territories. (Reuters, The Intercept)
  • Colombian protesters face violent government persecution, and need international support -- NACLA.
  • Lack of educational opportunities in rural Guatemala forces children in local communities to choose between fieldwork or migration to the United States, reports El Faro. For others, even school availability doesn't deter migration, because education doesn't lead to future employment.
  • El Santuario Frontera is "a bold new experiment in social housing," a live-work collective for homeless refugees in Mexico's Cañón de Alacrán just west of Tijuana, reports the New York Times.
  • World Health Organization officials called on countries with a surplus of Covid-19 vaccines to speed up donations of doses to Latin American and Caribbean. (New York Times)
  • Rising inflation, particularly food prices, in Latin America (see Tuesday's briefs)  "creates the potential for unexpected events to occur in places like Venezuela and Nicaragua," according to the Latin America Risk Report. " Electoral cheating is harder and requires greater repression when an angry population is hungry."
  • The investigation into Haitian President Jovenel Moïse's July assassination foundering, and Haiti's other crises threaten to drown out demands for justice in the case, reports the Associated Press.
  • Haiti's devastating August earthquake will make the country's recession, already one of the world’s longest, much deeper, reports Bloomberg
  • The BRICS New Development Bank admitted the United Arab Emirates, Uruguay and Bangladesh as members in its first expansion push. (Reuters)
  • The pandemic disproportionately affected female employment in Argentina (mirroring international trends) and recovery has been slower for women, according to a new report by Argentina's Ministry of Economy. The report points to care infrastructure as a key investment for a more equal economic recovery -- both in order to address female unemployment and the care economy crisis that has become more acute due to the pandemic. (Página 12)
  • La Nación chronicles how a prolonged drought -- part of the same one affecting Brazil -- has dried out Argentina's Paraná wetlands.
Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take? Let me know ... 

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