Monday, September 13, 2021

Haiti's PM spoke to Moïse murder suspect (Sept. 13, 2021)

Haiti’s chief public prosecutor asked Prime Minister Ariel Henry to appear for questioning as part of the probe into the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. Investigators seek to ask Henry why he spoke with one of the main suspects in Moïse’s killing at his private residence on the day of the murder. 

Investigators say former Haitian justice ministry official Joseph Felix Badio may have ordered the assassination. Subpoenaed records from cellphone operator Digicel have now also enabled them to confirm accusations that Badio and Henry spoke on July 7, twice at around 4 a.m., just hours after Moise's killing.

A letter sent by prosecutor Bed-Ford Claude to Henry said only a president could authorize official summons to someone of his rank, but the country was without one. Instead, he was being "invited" to attend and cooperate, reports Reuters.

Henry rejected what he described as "diversionary tactics," reports Al Jazeera

News Briefs

More Haiti
  • Former Colombian soldiers arrested in Haiti in the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse have accused local authorities of torture, saying they’ve been burned, stabbed and hit in the head with a hammer, among other things, reports the Associated Press. They detailed the alleged torture in a letter to Colombian President Iván Duque as well as the Interamerican Court of Human Rights and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

  • UNICEF says it urgently needs $122.2 million to scale up its emergency response in Haiti, where 1.6 million people, including 800,000 children, face one of the most complex humanitarian crises in years following last month’s deadly earthquake, reports the Miami Herald.

  • International efforts to help Haiti since the devastating August 14 earthquake continue to be hampered by gang violence, with reports now emerging that ships carrying emergency aid from Mexico were fired upon, reports InSight Crime. "Until a few months ago, Haiti’s gangs were seen as a highly dangerous but domestic problem," but neighboring countries, including Mexico, are increasingly concerned. 

  • The first responders after Haitian natural disasters are not foreign NGOs: They are neighbors, family, friends, fellow churchgoers, and grassroots organizations, write Jessica Hsu and Mark Schuller at Common Dreams.
  • Argentine President Alberto Fernández's coalition fared poorly in open primaries yesterday, an indication of voter anger at the government that will likely cost it key seats in Congress in November's midterm elections. The Frente de Todos ruling coalition came out behind in several key districts, including Buenos Aires province. Fernández spoke last night and said the results reflect government mistakes. The ruling party could lose its Senate majority and largest minority position in the lower house. (Bloomberg, Al Jazeera, Página 12)
  • Turnout at protests across Brazil against President Jair Bolsonaro on Sunday was far smaller than rallies the president called earlier this week. Political groups organized demonstrations in 19 states, but there was a notable absence of leftist political parties, which diminished turnout, reports the Associated Press. The low turnout will likely detract from impeachment efforts against Bolsonaro.

  • More than 5,000 indigenous women have marched through Brazil’s capital to denounce the historic assault on native lands they say is unfolding under the Bolsonaro government. On Friday those guerreiras trooped south from their encampment wearing bright-coloured headdresses made from the feathers of parrots and macaws and clutching banners condemning growing anti-indigenous violence under Bolsonaro's “genocidal administration," reports the Guardian.
El Salvador
  • "El Salvador is no longer an imperfect democracy, it is a hybrid regime with strong elements of authoritarianism and some scant remnants of democratic institutionality," writes journalist Oscar Martínez in New York Times Español. President Nayib Bukele has only accelerated his race to dismantle El Salvador's rule of law, he warns. (See last Monday's post, among others.)
Regional Relations
  • Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel will visit Mexico this week, to participate in the Celac summit, reports Telesur.

  • Newly declassified documents show that Australia’s covert overseas spy agency, the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, opened a base in Santiago to assist in the US CIA’s destabilisation of the Chilean government ahead of the military coup against Salvador Allende in 1973, reports the Guardian.
  • This weekend was the 48th anniversary of the coup against Allende, he was overthrown, at least in part, because his government showed that Chile could be transformed, Chilean sociologist Tomás Moulian told Jacobin.
  • Honduras' ruling party presidential candidate, Tegucigalpa mayor Nasry Asfura remains the favorite ahead of the November election, with 21 percent according to a new CID-Gallup poll. His closest rival is Xiomara Castro, wife of former President Manuel Zelaya, who is running for the leftist Liberty and Refoundation Party (LIBRE) and had 18 percent support among those polled. (Reuters)
  • Mexico's Supreme Court decriminalized abortion last week, but the ruling is out of synch with the views of Mexico's conservative majority, reports the New York Times. (See last Wednesday's post.) Doctors are legally permitted to refuse to carry out abortions on moral grounds a contentious issue that the Supreme Court is expected to take on this week that could ultimately determine how widely available abortion is in practice.
  • 12-year-old Colombian eco-activist Francisco Vera was threatened earlier this year, but that hasn't dampened his campaign against fracking and mining, reports the Guardian.
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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