Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Mexican journalist killed, fourth this year (Feb. 1, 2022)

Mexican journalist Roberto Toledo was shot dead by three gunmen yesterday in Zitácuaro, in Michoacán state. Journalists in Mexico responded with fury and despair to the murder, the fourth assassination of a reporter this year. Mexico has long been considered one of the most dangerous places in the world for media workers.

The killing deepened the sense of desperation among journalists in Mexico, who accuse Andrés Manuel López Obrador of failing to take meaningful actions to protect them and their colleagues, reports the Guardian. Adding to the sense of impotence among reporters is the fact that several journalists attacked or killed this month were enrolled in a government protection program.

Journalists are increasingly enrolling in a Mexican federal protection program, while others are protected under parallel state programs. But these approaches haven't always succeeded in preventing deadly violence against reporters in the country: Seven journalists enrolled in the national program have been killed since 2018, reported the Washington Post last week.

Journalists in dozens of Mexican cities held vigils and protests on last week night, one of the largest mass protests over the murders of media workers in recent years. The demonstrations followed the assassinations of three reporters this month, two in quick succession in Tijuana. (See last Thursday's briefs.)

The attacks come within an increase in violence in several Mexican localities, including Juárez and Michoacán. In Michoacán the type of violence in recent months is starting to approximate "warfare" more than classic cartel wars, according to James Bosworth in the Latin American Risk Report.

News Briefs

  • Haiti's Montana Accord is a blueprint for a two-year transitional government that will serve Haitians’ basic needs, bolster democratic institutions, reestablish legitimacy and trust, and organize free, fair, and participatory elections, writes Monica Clecsa in Foreign Affairs. The end goal of the transition is free and fair elections. "However appealing quick elections may appear to outside powers, it is clear they are not the answer to Haiti’s problems: in all likelihood, they will lead only to undemocratic outcomes and further instability." (See yesterday's post.)
Regional Relations
  • Increasing evidence points to a transnational armed conspiracy to keep former Bolivian president Evo Morales and MAS out of power -- and that it was co-ordinated with Bolsonaro’s Brazil, writes Forrest Hylton in the London Review of Books blog. (See Jan. 18's briefs.)
  • Latin America, already pummeled by the pandemic, now faces a sharp increase in poverty and an exodus of its citizens to elsewhere in the world, reports the Wall Street Journal. This year, the region will grow just 2.4%, far weaker than the rest of the world and down from a 6.8% expansion in 2021, a rebound year from 2020 when Covid-19 hammered economies, according to the IMF.

  • Inflation rose the most in 15 years in some of Latin America's largest economies last year, but credible monetary policies have kept long-term price increase expectations anchored, the International Monetary Fund said in a blog post yesterday. (Reuters)
  • Argentine lawmaker Máximo Kirchnerbroke ranks with the country's governing party yesterday, rejecting a $44.5 billion agreement struck with the IMF, reports Reuters. He resigned as head of the Congress' House of Deputies, a sign of cracks within the Frente de Todos coalition regarding the repayment of an IMF loan contracted by the previous Macri administration, which many see as politically motivated. (See yesterday's briefs.)

  • While the break could contain voters who are angered by a deal to payback debt many consider illegitimate, it could also weaken the government's credibility with the IMF, reports Infobae.

  • The agreement will have to be ratified by Congress, but President Alberto Fernández hopes to have it approved as is, without modifications from lawmakers, reports Infobae.
  • The Venezuelan bolivar appears to have finally bottomed out, according to Bloomberg.

  • A retired Venezuelan army general, Cliver Alcalá, has sought to throw out narcoterrorist charges filed by U.S. federal prosecutors with the allegation that U.S. officials at the highest levels of the CIA and other federal agencies were aware of his efforts to oust Nicolás Maduro. (Associated Press)
  • While the U.S. "Remain in Mexico" policy is reviled by migration advocates, some asylum seekers note it the only way to seek legal entry to the U.S., reports the Associated Press.
  • A huge landslide triggered by rainfall in Ecuador killed at least 16 people in Quito and injured 46 more, reports the BBC.
Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take? Let me know ... 

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