Thursday, November 18, 2021

U.S., Canada and Mexico to discuss migrants (Nov. 18, 2021)

U.S., Canada and Mexico leadership will meet in a summit in Washington today. The agenda includes creating more humane pathways to asylum or job creation for migrants displaced by climate change or human trafficking. 

It will be the first time U.S. President Joe Biden meets his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, in person. The U.S. leader hopes AMLO will cooperate in reducing migration to the United States, which has become a recurring challenge for his administration, reports the Los Angeles Times.

But officials said controversial issues, like the U.S. Migrant Protection Protocols, will not be discussed, reports the New York Times. The U.S. and Mexico are in the final stages of negotiating the reinstatement of the so-called Remain in Mexico program. It hinges on approval from Mexican officials, who have told U.S. authorities they need more shelter beds and worry about violence in the state of Tamaulipas, reports the Associated Press.

The number of migrants taken into U.S. custody along the border with Mexico decreased for a third consecutive month in October after skyrocketing in the northern hemisphere summer, reports CBS. Roughly 57% of the migrants encountered by U.S. border agents in October were expelled to Mexico or their homelands under a Trump-era emergency policy known as Title 42 that the Biden administration has retained.

U.S. policies that force migrants to wait in Mexico for hearings in U.S. immigration court or prohibit them from seeking asylum under pandemic-related public health powers, have pushed many migrants into squalid camps along the border between the two countries, reports the Associated Press.

News Briefs

Regional Relations
  • Tactical and lethal training for Mexican military units — especially the Mexican marines — by the U.S. military has increased substantially over the past decade while human rights instruction has sharply decreased, reports The Intercept, based on a new database launched by the Mexico Violence Resource Project.

  • President Emmanuel Macron hosted former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for a meeting at the Elysee palace, a rare honor that signals support for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's likely challenger next year, reports Reuters. Macron’s office said Lula had “shared his vision of Brazil’s role in the world, noting how, over the past three years, Brazil has set itself aside from the multilateral system and major international agreements.”
  • Brazilian military police clashed with an indigenous group in Roraima state during an operation to remove a roadblock, as tensions mounted on the reserve over illegal gold mining and land invasions, reports Reuters.

  • A New York Times investigation into Brazil’s rapidly expanding slaughterhouse industry has identified loopholes in its monitoring systems that allow hides from cattle kept on illegally deforested Amazon land to flow undetected through Brazil’s tanneries and on to buyers worldwide.

  • Bolsonaro responded to allegations that his government censored questions on Brazil's high school exit exam, saying he was proud the test was now starting to "resemble this administration." (AFP)
  • Chilean presidential frontrunners Gabriel Boric and José Antonio Kast offer voters antithetical agendas, reports the Guardian. While Boric espouses an egalitarian, feminist and ecological future for Chile,  Kast has centred his campaign on conservative social values, security and migration.
  • The Guatemalan government's crackdown on Indigenous communities demanding to be consulted about a foreign-owned nickel mine in their territories is the latest manifestation of a backslide in democracy in the country and builds on a violent legacy of dispossession of Indigenous peoples, writes Vaclav Masek in Nacla.
  • "Venezuela’s interim government should be replaced with a Political Transition Board that represents the plurality of the country’s political forces and civil society, including chavismo," argues Francisco Rodríguez. "Its function should not be to pretend to establish itself as an alternate presidency, but to attend to the defense of assets and the diplomatic representation of Venezuela in countries that do not have relations with the Maduro government."
  • Cuban protest leader Yunior Garcia and his wife landed at Madrid's Barajas airport on yesterday afternoon, reports Reuters. (See Tuesday's post.)

  • Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodríguez said thwarted dissident protests this week were a failure in political communication by organizers, who he again accused of being supported by U.S. interests. (Associated Press)
El Salvador
  • A group of Bitcoin entrepreneurs and investors proposed creating private cities in El Salvador that would effectively function as tax havens with little government oversight -- similar to Honduras' ZEDES, reports El Faro.
  • High inflation and a renewed rise in Covid cases are likely to impact Latin America's political debate in the coming months, according to the Latin America Risk Report. "The anti-incumbent and anti-establishment sentiment that we’ve seen over the past two years is far more likely to continue in a situation where high inflation is hitting consumers," writes James Bosworth, pointing to the Argentine government's loss in last weekend's midterm elections. (See Monday's post.)

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


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