Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Piñera averts ouster (Nov. 17, 2021)

News Briefs

  • Chile's Senate voted against removing President Sebastián Piñera over allegations he favored the sale of a family property while in office. The Senate fell 29 votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to oust the president, after the lower chamber voted to impeach Piñera last week. Piñera's mandate ends next March, and Chile's presidential elections are on Sunday. (Al Jazeera, see yesterday's Constitutional Convention Updates)

  • Chile's presidential candidates held their last debate yesterday. Both frontrunners -- leftist Gabriel Boric and far-right candidate José Antonio Kast -- sought to project moderation ahead of Sunday's vote. Kast stumbled with regard to his own campaign platform on energy issues. (Reuters, El Mostrador)
  • Island nations under threat from climate change were incensed by the final wording of the Glasgow Climate Pact this weekend, in which India and China watered down a pledge to “phase out” fossil fuels, replacing the phrase with "phase down." "The very language they are using shows us that they are trying to game the system. For us in the Caribbean, in the Pacific Ocean, this is imperiling our very existence," Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne told the Washington Post.

  • Instead some small island developing nations are taking the case to court. Antigua and Barbuda signed a new agreement with Tuvalu, recently joined by Palau, aimed at finding legal levers to compel large emitters to pay a price for the destruction in island states, reports the Washington Post.
  • Brazil’s beef industry hopes to tempt buyers back to the Amazon region with a new deforestation-free pledge --  the so-called Amacro sustainable development zone. But critics are concerned that the plan to implement more intensive cattle ranching on cleared land could effectively legalise deforestation in the region, reports the Guardian.

  • Brazil is looking to partner with SpaceX to expand internet connection to rural schools and protect the Amazon, according to tweets by the country's Communications Minister Fabio Faria that include a video and photo of himself with SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk. (CNN)
  • Leaders of Cuba's dissident Archipiélago movement called on supporters to continue demonstrating for 10 more days, after efforts to protest in favor of greater civil liberties were quashed by Cuba's government on Monday. The group said more than 100 activists were detained during "the extreme militarisation of the streets," reports AFP. (See yesterday's post and Monday's.)
  • It has been 30 days since 17 foreign missionaries were kidnapped at gunpoint in the Haitian rural community of Ganthier, the group includes five children, the youngest of which is 8 months old. According to the Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights in Port-au-Prince, at least 803 people have been abducted between January and October of this year, reports the Miami Herald.
  • Mexico says it has granted documents to allow more than 1,500 migrants and asylum seekers who began marching in a north-bound caravan last month to stay and work in the country. Witnesses say about 1,500 people remain in the caravan, which is now pushing towards the U.S.-Mexico border, reports Al Jazeera.
  • Colombian businessman Alex Saab, an ally of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, has pleaded not guilty to a U.S. charge of conspiring to launder money. U.S. prosecutors accused Saab of stealing $350 million from Venezuela public funds via the United States as part of a bribery scheme linked to Venezuela’s state-controlled exchange rate. (Reuters)

  • Former University of Miami professor Bruce Bagley, an academic expert in drug trafficking, was sentenced to six months in U.S. federal prison yesterday for his role in secretly laundering millions of dollars in a case linked to Saab. (Associated Press)
  • Ecuadorean President Guillermo Lasso  appointed a new head of the joint command of the armed forces, after the former chief resigned following a prison riot that left dozens of inmates dead, reports Reuters. (See Monday's briefs.)
  • Mexico’s military have arrested the wife of the Mexican drug lord “El Mencho”, leader of the Jalisco New Generation cartel (CJNG). (Guardian)
  • Argentina's main political coalitions both lost ground in this month's midterm elections, compared to the previous midterm vote in 2017, writes María Victoria Murillo in an analysis for Telam. Basic parity between the two main coalitions -- the ruling Frente de Todos and the opposition Juntos por el Cambio -- could complicate governance over the next two years, she warns. (See Monday's post.)
  • The ongoing landmark trial of dozens of members of the Klansman gang in Jamaica -- who of face charges of criminal organization, murder, arson, extortion and illegal possession of firearms -- is shedding light on how criminal groups function on the island, reports InSight Crime. The outcome is also likely to be seen as a bellwether for government efforts to curb escalating violence through Plan Secure Jamaica.
  • A self-portrait of Frida Kahlo was purchased for $34.9 million at a Sotheby's auction yesterday, an all-time high for a piece of artwork created by a Latin American artist. (Washington Post)
  • Two Indigenous female softball teams in the Yucatán are challenging machista mores. The women play barefoot and wearing traditional Mayan dresses known as huipiles -- and have become a national sensation in Mexico, reports the New York Times.

  • That El Salvador's national soccer team is mostly composed of foreign-born players "is the heritage of an unending diaspora and yet another episode in its complex relationship with the United States,” writes El Faro’s Nelson Rauda in a long-form feature portraying the team. The group of twenty-somethings “spent the first half of 2021 memorizing the anthem. Unlike their fellow countrymen, they didn’t learn it as kids because they weren’t born in El Salvador. Some of them hadn’t even set foot in the country. Some don’t even speak Spanish.”

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


  1. Here is some non-mainstream news on Cuba. It is important to have an alternative perspective.

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