Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Haiti can't support deportees - Foote (Oct. 12, 2021)

News Briefs

  • Conditions in Haiti are far too dangerous to receive the thousands of people the U.S. government has been deporting en masse, former special envoy Daniel Foote told members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in a briefing last week. The removals could constitute a violation of international law. “Haiti can’t support the people it has there right now. The last thing they need is desperate people without anything to their names because they just spent everything trying to get to the states coming back — there’s no safety net. It’s just a recipe for human tragedy.” (The Intercept)

  • Foote's resignation was triggered by the massive deportations of migrants from Del Rio, but "the core controversy over the U.S. role in Haiti rests on the American practice of playing kingmaker in the Caribbean country," reports the Hill. Haiti's PHTK government would likely not remain in power without U.S. support, according to Foote's testimony. "The consensus, almost unanimous, outside the ruling party in Haiti is that the ruling party PHTK put Haiti where it is today and probably doesn't deserve to be part of the solution," said Foote.

  • Haiti's government is working towards long-overdue elections, run by a new electoral board, as well as a constitutional referendum championed by the late President Jovenel Moïse, writes Prime Minister Ariel Henry in a Washington Post op-ed.
  • Last week, 15 U.S. Democratic senators called on the Biden administration to establish a reintegration program for repatriated Haitians, and access to the asylum process for all Haitians arriving in the United States.

  • Recent images of U.S. Border Patrol agents chasing down Haitians have sparked outrage, but the U.S. has been rounding up, detaining, and deporting asylum seekers from Haiti for decades -- a policy many experts say is ultimately based on racism,  reports The Nation.

  • "The appalling scene at the border offers us a rare opportunity to rethink the shared Western debt to Haiti for its extraordinary role in our history," writes Howard French in the Los Angeles Times. The refugee crisis is itself a chance for Americans to live up to the ideals of the Haitian Revolution.
  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro must be held criminally responsible for a “ruthless” assault on the Amazon that has exacerbated the climate emergency and imperilled humanity’s very survival, legal and scientific experts argued in a petition to the international criminal court yesterday. It is the fourth ICC complaint against Bolsonaro. (Guardian)

  • "The impact … extends far beyond the widespread, ongoing loss of life and deep suffering inflicted upon local communities. State-of-the-art climate science demonstrates that consequent fatalities, devastation and insecurity will occur on a far greater scale regionally and globally, long into the future, through the attributable links between the rapid acceleration in deforestation, its contribution to climate change, and the frequency and intensification of extreme weather events,” the 284-page petition said, pointing to soaring Amazon devastation under Bolsonaro. (Guardian)

  • Bolsonaro's decision to veto a plan to distribute free menstrual hygiene products to disadvantaged women and girls defies a global trend to reduce sanitary products’ onerous pricing and the stigma around menstruation, reports the Washington Post.

  • Bolsonaro told journalists he he did not want to be “bored” with questions about the country’s coronavirus death toll, days after Brazil became the second country in the world to surpass 600,000 fatalities, reports Al Jazeera. (See yesterday's briefs.)
  • An Indigenous person was killed and three others are missing after assailants shot at them on the Nicaragua's Caribbean coast. Environmentalist Amaru Ruiz, director of the Del Río Foundation, suggested it was the latest attack by settlers who have invaded Indigenous lands, reports the Associated Press.
  • Chilean riot police clashed with protesters Sunday during a rally by the indigenous Mapuche community, leaving 18 people injured and 10 arrested, reports AFP.

  • The Chilean public prosecutor's office will investigate the sale of a mining project involving the family of President Sebastián Piñera after new details emerged about the transaction in the Pandora Papers leak. Piñera rejected the allegations and said he transferred management of his investments to a blind trust in 2009, before his first term as president from 2010 to 2014. (Al Jazeera, see last Wednesday's briefs.)
  • Pandora Papers documents reveal that prosecutors believe a Panamanian offshore company through which $92 million in alleged Odebrecht bribes were funneled was controlled by the wife of a former top Venezuelan government official, reports the Miami Herald with Armando.info.
El Salvador
  • El Salvador will invest some of the $4 million gains it has obtained from its bitcoin operations to build a veterinary hospital, President Nayib Bukele said on Twitter. (Reuters)
  • Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador presented a constitutional reform that would cancel contracts under which 34 private plants sell power into the national grid. The proposal is likely to squeeze out hundreds of private power generating plants and may provoke complaints under the Mexico-U.S.-Canada free trade accord, reports the Associated Press.

  • AMLO said yesterday well-known foreign companies had engaged in what he described as fuel smuggling and he named global energy trader Trafigura as an example of the practice. (Reuters)
  • Contraband Chinese cigarettes are pouring into Latin America -- their low price could undercut the effectiveness high taxes have had reducing tobacco consumption in the region, reports InSight Crime.
  • Embera Indigenous rappers hope music will raise awareness of mass displacement and poor living conditions in Colombia, reports Al Jazeera.
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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