Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Brazil heads to COP26 (Oct. 26, 2021)

Brazilian officials seek to burnish the country's tarnished international climate reputation heading into the COP26 global conference.

Brazil plans to bring forward its 2030 goal of ending illegal deforestation by two or three years, Vice President Hamilton Mourao said yesterday, ahead of COP26. He said forest fires in the Amazon region had dropped significantly, by about 40% this year, and that the Brazilian government will reaffirm its commitment to international environmental goals. The most recent satellite data on Amazon deforestation from national space agency INPE shows it rose slightly, by 2%, in September from a year ago. (Reuters)

Activists warn that the government's numbers are misleading, deforestation is higher now than it was under previous administrations, and Bolsonaro's government has undermined conservation legislation, narrowing the scope of what can be considered "illegal" deforestation. (Mongabay)

Brazil has been promising zero deforestation by 2030 for six years consecutively, ever since the former president, Dilma Rousseff, first pledged it at the UN General Assembly, but Brazil hasn't presented a path on how it will achieve this, warns Juanita Rico at Open Democracy. And Brazil will not present a new NDC (a nationally determined contribution to the global effort to slash emissions) in Glasgow.

But the country's top diplomat for climate talks, Paulino de Carvalho Neto, said Brazil will step up its Paris Accord targets at COP26. Brazil will formally lodge with the Paris Accord secretariat its commitment to bring forward to 2050 from 2060 its target for carbon neutrality, or net zero gas emissions, he said. (Reuters)

Environment Minister Joaquim Leite, who will head Brazil's delegation, is expected to raise to 45% from 43% the country's target for reducing emissions by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. (Reuters)

News Briefs

More Brazil
  • Facebook and Instagram have removed from their platforms a live broadcast that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro delivered in which he said people in the U.K. who have received two coronavirus vaccine doses are developing AIDS faster than expected. Its the first time Facebook removed one of Bolsonaro’s weekly live broadcasts that serve as a direct channel of communication with his supporters and tend to rack up hundreds of thousands of views. (Associated Press)

  • Bolsonaro repeated that he is considering the privatization of state-run oil company Petrobras, yesterday. (Reuters)
  • Cuban authorities have threatened organizers of a pro-democracy march called for November with legal charges, while conducting a vast security operation to intimidate ordinary Cubans who express support of the initiative or criticize the government on social media, reports the Miami Herald. (See last Friday's briefs.)
  • Peruvian President Pedro Castillo asked Congress to pass a law to nationalize the Camisea gas field and called for major reforms to the constitution in speeches at separate political rallies on Monday. (Bloomberg) A call to nationalize Camisea by former prime minister Guido Bellido spurred a break within the Castillo administration and a major cabinet reshuffle earlier this month. (Foreign Policy, see yesterday's briefs.)

  • Yesterday the new cabinet head Mirtha Vásquez presented Castillo's new cabinet to Congress for a confidence vote. (La República, see yesterday's briefs.) She told lawmakers the administration is seeking a new "governability pact," though her speech lacked significant new proposals, reports Reuters. Lawmakers pushed back a confirmation vote on the country's new Cabinet until next Thursday, in order to mourn the death of a lawmaker who suddenly died on Monday, a move that will prolong uncertainty over the new cabinet.

  • A nationalist turn among Peru’s right-wing parties — and some sectors of the population — points to increasing polarization, reports Andrea Moncada at Americas Quarterly.
  • Nicaragua will technically hold a presidential election on Nov. 7, but President Daniel Ortega is certain to claim victory, having jailed potential opponents, writes Alma Guillermoprieto in the New York Review of Books. "The state’s intelligence-gathering operations are nonpareil, and the Ortegas can have no illusions about how unpopular they truly are."
  • Guatemalan security forces carried out searches at homes and offices looking for protest leaders in El Estor, while those targets went into hiding, following the government imposition of martial law in the area after violent clashes between police and Indigenous protesters over the weekend. (Associated Press, see yesterday's briefs.)

  • Regional expansion of Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele's political project seems to have started. Relatives of a Guatemalan publicist and Bukele business partner began the process to found a political party in Guatemala called “Nuevas Ideas,” the same name as that of President Nayib Bukele in El Salvador. The new party’s cyan logo is identical to that of the Salvadoran party, reports El Faro.

  • If they manage to gather signatures by January 2023 from 0.30 percent of all registered voters — some 24,600 signatures — then they will become a political party able to compete in the presidential, legislative, and municipal elections in June 2023 in a political landscape without a dominant party, reports El Faro.
El Salvador
  • Two and a half years into Bukele's mandate, El Salvador's institutional framework has been increasingly put to the test, but the crises unleashed by the new president have barely dented his popularity. The backbone of his "millennial authoritarianism" is not just the promise of political renewal after four decades of reign of the parties born of the civil war, but also as the "avenging arm" that would liquidate the political "old world," writes Benjamin Moallic in Nueva Sociedad.
  • Though gangs have long been powerful in Haiti, and symbiotic with some politicians, their power only grew under the country's last elected president, Jovenel Moïse. In the wake of his July assassination, they have become even more powerful, a contrast with the police, who are dependent on an increasingly depleted state, leaving officers even more underfunded, underequipped and severely underpaid, reports the New York Times. (See yesterday's briefs.)
  • The arrest of Clan del Golfo leader "Otoniel" this weekend will have little impact on those living on the frontlines of the drug war, say experts, pointing to historic arrests of drug kingpins that only increased cocaine production and violence. (Guardian, see yesterday's post.)
  • Millions of students are back to class in Venezuela after a long closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, reports Al Jazeera.
  • The results of Paraguay’s municipal elections showcase the dominance of the Colorado Party and the persistence of an unequal two-party system, reports Nueva Sociedad. (In English at Nacla.)
  • Relatives of the victims of the 2019 Senkata and Sacaba massacres marched to La Paz, where they demanded prosecution of interim-government officials involved in the episodes, reports Telesur.
  • Chile’s main conservative daily newspaper, El Mercurio, has been accused of publishing “an apology for Nazism” after running an illustrated article commemorating the life of Hermann Göring. (Guardian)
  • A bill that would grant the Mexican state authority to regulate and control the practice of indigenous medicine could violate the country’s constitution and international conventions on the rights of ancestral communities, academics and traditional medical groups have warned. (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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