Xiomara Castro is strongly in the lead to become Honduras' next president, after an election day that was largely peaceful and orderly. Castro declared herself the winner last night, despite orders from the National Electoral Council to political parties to await official results, reports the Associated Press.
- The latest Cadem poll in Chile put Gabriel Boric ahead of rival José Antonio Kast by 6 points -- 39 to 33 -- ahead of next month's second round presidential vote. The poll found that 38 percent of people who voted for third-way candidate Franco Parisis are now favoring Boric, 23 percent Kast, and 39 percent are undecided, reports EMOL. (See last Monday's post.)
- The United States will revoke its designation of the FARC as a foreign terrorist organization tomorrow, while two breakaway groups -- La Segunda Marquetalia and FARC-EP -- would be designated as foreign terrorist organizations as such, the U.S. State Department announced on Friday. (Reuters, see last Wednesday's briefs.)
- More than 100 people sustained eye injuries in a violent crackdown on mass protests this year by the Colombian security forces, notably the country’s anti-riot squad (ESMAD), according to a new report by Amnesty International. More than 80 people – mostly young student protesters – were killed and many others suffered serious injuries in clashes between protesters and security forces at demonstrations that started in late April and lasted over a month. (Al Jazeera)
- Peruvian opposition lawmakers presented a motion to impeach President Pedro Castillo last Thursday. The petition, supported by Keiko Fujimori's Fuerza Popular party, cited “moral inability” to govern. It will need 52 votes from the 130-seat body to begin impeachment proceedings. A vote is not yet scheduled. A final vote to remove Castillo would eventually require 87 votes. (Al Jazeera)
- A 7.5 magnitude earthquake shook the remote Amazon region of northern Peru yesterday. It destroyed 75 homes but no deaths were immediately reported. (Reuters)
- Peru's federal public prosecutor's office opened an investigation into Ernesto Cabral, a journalist for the award-winning investigative outlet OjoPúblico, last month. The office alleges that Cabral, whose work exposed Peruvian prosecutors’ misconduct in the sprawling Car Wash probe, committed a crime by revealing the identity of a protected cooperating witness, a crime that could carry a six-year prison sentence. (The Intercept)
- Peru's per capita death rate from COVID is now the worst in the world, twice the rate of the United States. A "perfect storm" of factors contributed to the pandemic's impact on the country, including Peru's dependence on imports, report NPR.
- Former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is poised for a dramatic comeback to politics. Blocked from his presidential bid in 2018 due to a controversial corruption sentence, judicial rulings returned his political rights, allowing him to "again make the case that he’s the only way forward for a nation grappling with rising hunger, poverty and a deepening political divide," reports the New York Times.
- Physical violence against Indigenous communities in Brazil, fomented by the Bolsonaro administration, comes at a huge environmental cost in addition to the human toll, reports The New Republic.
- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has dismissed as “spies” members of a European Union electoral observation mission sent to observe last week’s regional polls, reports Al Jazeera. (See last Wednesday's briefs.)
- Former Nicaraguan vice president Sergio Ramírez’s latest novel, Tongolele no sabía bailar "is a grim, wildly funny, surrealistic account of the grievous events of the spring of 2018, when student protests broke out in Managua and other cities around the country, and the repression served up by Ortega and Murillo left three hundred dead," writes Alma Guillermoprieto in the New York Review of Books. "The novel’s account of the events of May 2018 is accurate, but it is when Ramírez’s narrative invention runs wildest that his portrayal of Nicaragua under the thumb of the improbable Ortega-Murillo duumvirate is most truthful."
- Barbados is set to become a republic tomorrow, the 55th anniversary of its independence from the United Kingdom. It is the first Commonwealth realm in nearly three decades to remove Queen Elizabeth II as head of state, reports the Washington Post. The move from constitutional monarchy to republic enjoys broad support on the island, and gained momentum last year amid the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States and growing demands for reparations for slavery on the island.
- A stowaway hidden in the landing gear compartment of an American Airlines jet survived a flight from his home country of Guatemala to Miami, where he was turned over to U.S. immigration officials and taken to a hospital for evaluation, reports Reuters.
- Argentine Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner said approval of a potential debt renegotiation deal between Argentina and the IMF will depend on Congress. She appears to be distancing herself from the decision to approve the government’s proposal to reschedule payments for a loan amounting to more than US$40 billion, reports Bloomberg.
- She made the statements in an open letter, her first statement since Argentina's governing coalition lost mid-term elections earlier this month, and emphasized that President Alberto Fernández is in command of the government. (Infobae)
- Argentina’s judiciary has agreed to open a genocide case brought by Rohingya victims of atrocities committed by Myanmar’s military. The case was brought under universal jurisdiction, the principle under which exceptionally grave crimes can be tried anywhere. “We will be looking for concrete results in terms of accountability and punishment for those who participated directly and indirectly in the genocide,” Tomás Ojea Quintana, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, told the Financial Times.
(See also Infobae and Nov. 19's briefs.)