Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Migrants from Chile to U.S. (Sept. 28, 2021)

Increasingly restrictive migration policies in Chile, and a belief that the United States has grown more welcoming to immigrants under President Joe Biden, have led a wave of Haitians to abandon the country they once saw as a land of opportunity, reports the Washington Post.

Thousands of Haitian migrants are believed to be travelling up from South America in a bid to reach the U.S. border, reports the Associated Press.

Xenophobia and hostility towards migrants in Chile (see yesterday's post) also push migrants to journey towards the United States, like the thousands of people who crossed into Texas earlier this month (see last Wednesday's post). Chile was an attractive destination for Haitians who sought refuge in the years after a devastating 2010 earthquake, but restrictions increased over the years, and work and housing, always hard to get, grew still scarcer during the pandemic, reports the New York Times.

News Briefs

  • The forceful eviction of a migrant camp, followed by a violent protest against migrants, in the Chilean city of Iquique (see yesterday's post) have meaningful implications for the country's current constitutional convention process, according to Contexto Chile. "The current constitution does not establish specific rights for migrant people ... The constituent process should discuss how to protect ... the rights of migrant people."

  • Despite pandemic restrictions, many migrants from Venezuela and elsewhere keep trying to reach Chile, one of the wealthiest countries in the region, which has been rocked in recent years by protests over entrenched inequality, reports Reuters.
  • The pace and scale of U.S. expulsions to Haiti this month -- nearly 4,000 Haitian migrants, including hundreds of families with children, without allowing them to seek asylum -- could make the operation one of the swiftest and largest U.S. deportation campaigns of migrants by air, reports CBS. (See yesterday's briefs.)

  • "Biden promised a more humane departure from the ultranationalism of his predecessor ... but these efforts butt up against a political calculus that compels the White House to take a tougher line on asylum seekers arriving at the border," according to the Washington Post World View.

  • The current tragedy at the US border is just the latest fallout from the U.S.’s failed policies toward Haiti, writes author Edwidge Danticat in the New Yorker. (See yesterday's briefs.)

  • "We thought the days when our country treated asylum-seekers with cruelty and disdain might be ending. This month we learned we were wrong," writes Xochitl Oseguera in the Guardian.

  • An undetermined number of migrants remained in Ciudad Acuña, on the Mexican side of the border, after U.S. officials evicted the Texas camp last week. Many hoped to avoid the U.S. deportation blitz, but Mexico has begun busing some Haitians back to the southernmost part of its own territory and preparing to send others back to Haiti, reports the Associated Press.

  • Mexico's government said it will resume flights to Port-au-Prince starting next week for Haitian migrants who want to return home, reports Reuters. (See last Friday's briefs.)
  • Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry said he understands the deportations and wants to cooperate with the United States. In an interview with CNN, he also said elections originally planned for September will be delayed until next year, after a review of the country's constitution is conducted.
Regional Relations
  • U.S. officials are set to tour Latin America this week to scout infrastructure projects as they prepare a counter to Chinese President Xi Jinping's multi-trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative, reports Reuters. The group is tasked with turning Build Back Better World (B3W), the international infrastructure investment initiative announced by the Group of Seven richest democracies in June, into reality. It's the first of several planned "listening tours." (See yesterday's briefs, and also Friday's.)

  • Integration with both China and the U.S. benefits Mexico, but also presents challenges, writes Martha Bárcena in Americas Quarterly.
  • Delegates from Venezuela’s government and opposition concluded another round of talks in Mexico City yesterday. Norwegian mediator Dag Nylander read a statement at the conclusion of the meetings. “They drew closer in the search for solutions to the challenges in social, economic and political matters,” he said without providing detail, reports the Associated Press. (See yesterday's briefs.)

  • Several organizations of civil society expressed concern regarding a Venezuelan administrative ruling that seeks to criminalize and restrict the critical work that civil society organizations are doing in the country. They note recent efforts to intimidate and criminalize the work of Venezuelan civil society organizations, which include but are not limited to arbitrary detentions of NGO workers, raids on NGO offices, and verbal attacks and threats to organizations and their staff. (Venezuelan Politics and Human Rights)
  • Human rights activists took the case of Vicky Hernández, an Honduran trans woman killed in 2009, to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights -- a successful effort aimed at obtaining a measure of justice for a case that remained impune, but also to "visibilize the physical violence, stigma and social exclusion that trans people face in Honduras and Latin America. This is the time to demand structural changes to remedy that situation," write lawyers Angelita Baeyens and Kacey Mordecai in New York Times Español.
  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro marked his first 1,000 days in office yesterday with a stark warning about the possible return to power of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who is polling far ahead of the incumbent for next year's elections. (EFE)

  • An overt American iconography is emerging in Brazil's polarized political scene. But it's not used to defend democracçy, rather it’s being wielded by those who would set Brazil’s constitution aside to bolster Bolsonaro’s power, reports the Washington Post

  • Brazil's First Lady, Michelle Bolsonaro, got vaccinated against Covid-19 in New York, accompanying her vaccine-skeptic husband to the UN General Assembly meeting last week. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro defied a UN vaccine requirement, and several members of his delegation tested positive while travelling. (New York Times)
  • Five people, including a teenager, were shot dead in south-west Colombia on Sunday in the latest of a series of attacks by armed groups, reports the BBC. (See yesterday's briefs.)
El Salvador
  • Few world leaders have navigated the Covid-19 crisis for their own political benefit better than Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele, reports the Guardian.
  • Quechua is currently experiencing a resurgence in Peru's media and political spheres and has been given a further boost by the Castillo administration, which has promoted that language family to underscore the Andean nation’s longstanding, persistent social inequality, reports EFE.

Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take? Let me know ... 

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