Thursday, October 28, 2021

Honduras' climate change vicious cycle (Oct. 28, 2021)

Honduras is one of the most unequal, corrupt and violent countries in Latin America, that, coupled with its geography, make it one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to extreme weather events like which are increasing in intensity due to global heating, reports the Guardian. And it's a vicious cycle, because as climate impacts worsen in Honduras, migration increases and that puts many in danger of gang violence, reports The Nation.

Honduras is getting hotter and drier. The average temperature there has increased by more than 4 degrees Celsius since 1960, and the country is caught in a severe drought cycle. The World Bank estimates that Central America and Mexico could produce up to 2 million climate migrants by midcentury.

And environmentally destructive megaprojects -- including dams, tourist resorts, mines and African palm plantations -- have exacerbated climate change impacts, leading to worse flooding and water shortages.

More Climate
  • The intense drought affecting South America has hit landlocked Paraguay particularly hard, making the country an example of what climate change could look like in vulnerable countries, reports the Wall Street Journal.
More Honduras
  • Leftist Honduran presidential candidate Xiomara Castro has surged to the front of the pack ahead of next month's election, according to a new Center for Democratic Studies (CESPAD) poll that gives the former first lady 38% support, while ruling party pick Nasry Asfura came in second with 21%. Another 30% were either undecided or do not plan to vote, according to the survey. (Reuters)

  • Honduras, one of the last countries in Central America to receive COVID-19 vaccine, has designated a portion of its stockpile for citizens of neighboring Nicaragua, reports the Associated Press. Nearly 8,000 Nicaraguans received Covid-19 vaccines at two customs border crossings, reports Reuters.
News Briefs

  • Covid-19 is slowly retreating across most of North, Central and South America, the Pan American Health Organization said yesterday. Last week the continent’s death and infection figures were the lowest in over a year. Many of the larger Caribbean islands are seeing downward trends, including Cuba. Nearly 44% of people in Latin America and the Caribbean have completed their Covid-19 immunizations. (Reuters)

  • Latin American countries have widely ratified International Labor Organization Convention 169 – requiring that governments consult Indigenous communities before approving projects that may detrimentally impact them. Yet, the region is plagued by social conflicts involving Indigenous peoples who feel they were never adequately consulted. One reason is that ILO 169 offers no definitive answer as to what happens if an Indigenous community vetoes a proposed project, explains Thomas Andrew O’Keefe at the AULA Blog. Human rights due diligence standards adopted by companies involved in investment projects are proving much more effective in guaranteeing adequate and effective consultations, he writes.
  • Venezuela’s government quietly offered last year to release imprisoned Americans in exchange for the U.S. letting go of a key financier of President Nicolás Maduro, reports the Associated Press. The offer, which was rejected by the Trump administration, has taken on new relevance following the extradition of Alex Saab this month. In retaliation, Venezuela reimprisoned six executives of Houston-based Citgo. (See Oct. 18's post.)

  • Saab's extradition has shed a light on the enormous and transnational scale of corruption in Venezuela. The approval of a country visit by the ICC Chief Prosecutor is significant in this sense; but given the implications of the Saab case, it would seem that a limiting factor of any negotiation is the lack of accountability for acts of corruption being investigated in other jurisdictions. -- Venezuelan Politics and Human Rights
Regional Relations
  • Nicaragua has become a diplomatic headache for the U.S. Biden administration. The Ortega government is defying Washington’s warnings, sanctions and visa bans, ignoring the objections of other neighboring states, and aligning more with Moscow, reports Politico.

  • The White House released details on the new, holistic U.S.-Colombia counternarcotics strategy developed by the Counternarcotics Working Group between the United States and Colombian governments. New strategy broadens focus to include specific actions on rural security and development, environmental protection, and supply reduction.
  • In the latest Venezuela Briefing, WOLA’s Kristen Martinez-Gugerli talks with Lucía Ramírez of Dejusticia and Livia Lenci of Missão Paz to discuss the response to Venezuelan migrants and refugees in Colombia and Brazil.
  • Peru's finance minister said the government has no plans to take over the natural gas industry, in an attempt to calm fears after President Pedro Castillo talked about nationalization earlier in the week, reports Reuters. "To nationalize the gas (sector) means to put it in the service of all Peruvians," Finance Minister Pedro Francke said in a tweet. "It does not in any way mean to nationalize private enterprise." (See Tuesday's briefs.)
  • Brazil’s central bank has announced its biggest interest rate rise since 2002, lifting the benchmark Selic rate to 7.75 per cent. The move aims to tame double digit inflation in the midst of market fears over government plans to increase social welfare spending ahead of next year's elections, reports the Financial Times. (See last Friday's post.)

  • Brazilian Senate commission presented the prosecutor general’s office with recommendations to criminally charge President Jair Bolsonaro for alleged errors that cost Brazilian lives, yesterday. Prosecutor-General Augusto Aras, an ally of Bolsonaroy, is not expected to charge him, however. (Reuters, see yesterday's post.)

  • If Bolsonaro doesn't face justice locally, "it now falls to international bodies, like the International Criminal Court, to hold him to account," argues Vanessa Barbara in a New York Times op-ed
  • The Haitian government is working to extradite a former Colombian military officer who is a key suspect in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse from Jamaica, reports the Miami Herald.

  • Businesses in Haiti face an impossible equation regarding criminal gangs -- whether they pay extortion or resist, the their work is at risk, reports the Associated Press.

  • Haitian gang leader Izo 5 Segonn released a rap song over the weekend, an example of how the country's gangs are on the verge of becoming a proto-state, reports the Miami Herald.
  • A U.S. federal judge set a trial date in the high-profile prosecution of Genaro García Luna, former top-ranking Mexican federal police official of accepting millions of dollars in bribes to allow Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera’s Sinaloa drug cartel to “operate with impunity in Mexico” for more than a decade, while at the same time working side by side with U.S. officials. The advance comes amid rising concerns over DEA operations abroad, reports The Intercept.
  • Ecuador's President Guillermo Lasso called for dialogue following a second day of demonstrations by Indigenous and civil society groups against gasoline price rises. He said his government would keep security forces on highways to maintain order, reports Reuters. (See yesterday's briefs.)

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


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