Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Latin America Daily Briefing (Jan. 18, 2022)

News Briefs

  • In an evolving media ecosystem, concentrated ownership persists in Latin America as conglomerates scramble to adapt to the digital age, reports Nacla. "Latin American media moguls have a disproportionate say in the way political debates are framed. This grants them power to influence policy decisions, electoral outcomes, and a wide array of public interest issues."
  • In recent years, at least one out of every 10 kidnapping victims in Mexico has been a migrant trying to reach the United States, a situation that could deteriorate further to the benefit of organized crime groups with the relaunch of the controversial U.S. "Remain in Mexico" policy, reports InSight Crime.
  • Mexican news photographer Margarito Martínez was killed in Tijuana yesterday, the same day press groups announced the death of reporter José Luis Gamboa due to wounds inflicted in an attack last week in Veracruz. The two killings marked a grim start to 2022 in Mexico, which is considered one of the most dangerous places for reporters outside active war zones, reports the Associated Press.

  • Mexican national oil company is acquiring full control of a U.S. refinery in Texas, part of President Andres Manuel López Obrador’s bid for energy self-sufficiency, which has Mexico investing heavily in the state-owned oil company, placing a renewed emphasis on petroleum production and retreating from renewable energy, reports the New York Times.

  • U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm will travel to Mexico this week for talks, with the government's planned overhaul of the Mexican electricity market potentially on the agenda, announced AMLO yesterday. (Reuters).
  • A 14-year-old Indigenous environmental activist, Breiner David Cucuñame López, was assassinated in Colombia's Cauca department. (CNN)

  • Colombia reported the deaths of at least 145 community leaders and rights defenders last year, as fighting by armed gangs fuelled further violence. (BBC)
El Salvador
  • El Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele has selectively supported transitional justice efforts when they serve a political purpose to attack his adversaries, reports El Faro English, pointing to the reopening of the case for the 1989 murders of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter. (See last Wednesday's briefs.) 

  • The case could be used to cancel the ARENA right-wing party, whose former president Alfredo Cristiani has been named as a potential intellectual author or as accessory after the fact. Bukele has also used the case to accuse the University of Central America (UCA), an often vocal critic of his government, of being soft on perpetrators of human rights abuses -- despite decades of advocacy for victims. (El Faro English)
  • Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley is expected to comfortably win a snap general election tomorrow. Her Barbados Labour party (BLP), which won all 30 seats in the 2018 election, is running with the slogan: “It’s safer with Mia – stay the course.” (Guardian)
Regional Relations
  • The actual chances of Russian military deployment in Venezuela and Cuba are very low, but that doesn't mean that Russia doesn't pose other threats in Latin America, warns the Latin America Risk Report. James Bosworth looks at potential challenges such as cyber-attacks, health attacks (Havana Syndrome) and disinformation campaigns.

  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro will visit Suriname and Guayana on Thursday and Friday for talks on economic cooperation following recent discoveries of oil and gas by Brazil's two neighbors, reports Reuters.

  • Bolsonaro acknowledged that he met with former interim Bolivian president Jeanine Añez, reports Nodal.
  • Former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has a good chance of winning this year's presidential elections in the first round, particularly if he succeeds in cementing an alliance with his onetime opponent Gerardo Alckmin, a center-right former governor of São Paulo, reports the London Review of Books

  • Nonetheless, "the current panorama contrasts sharply with the period leading up to Lula’s election in 2002. ... Lula knows that, should he win, his hands will be tied as he tries to halt the destruction unleashed since Dilma’s overthrow. But on education, healthcare, credit, housing, jobs, nutrition and public goods generally ... there is room for improvement," writes Forrest Hylton in the London Review of Books

  • The death of a top Red Command leader near Rio de Janeiro raises questions about the success of coordinated attempts to weaken one of Brazil's most brutal gangs, both materially and psychologically, according to InSight Crime.

  • The work of Brazilian photographer Raphael Alves highlights how the Covid-19 lockdown intensified some of the socioeconomic inequality of Amazonas state. His "Insulae" project reflects on ideological isolation — which goes far beyond the geographical, one that peoples of the Amazon have historically lived with, reports NPR.
  • Leaders of a group of Peruvian communities said in a public hearing that they rejected a government proposal to prevent future blockades affecting the Las Bambas copper mine, reports Reuters.
  • Mexico City has quickly become an international destination for skateboarding and an incubator for an impressive roster of athletes as the sport's scene blooms, reports the New York Times.
Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take? Let me know ... 

No comments:

Post a Comment