Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Amazon nears tipping point (March 16, 2022)

News Briefs

Regional Relations
  • A U.S. naval engineer and his wife tried to sell secret nuclear technology to Brazil. The case sheds light on Brazil's struggles with its submarine nuclear reactor program. In fact, the Brazilian government's hope that Russia could be a partner for that technology could be one reason behind President Jair Bolsonaro's efforts to maintain a positive relationship with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, even in the current conflict context, reports the New York Times.
  • Brazil's Ituna-Itatá reserve has become among the most invaded Indigenous territories in all of Brazil since Bolsonaro's election. The area is a grim illustration of the intractable forces destroying the Amazon, reports the New York Times Magazine in a deep-dive into the war for the rainforest.
  • The Amazon is on the brink of a tipping point, when it can no longer maintain its own ecology and swaths are converted into degraded open savanna. Environmentalists say the nine countries that share the rainforest must drastically expand their enforcement capacity, and that improving the region's economy could decrease incentives for illegal activities in protected areas, reports the Washington Post.

  • Indigenous leaders from nine countries in the Amazon basin met in Ecuador yesterday and demanded the region's governments to halt extractive industries which damage the rainforest, urging them to respect agreements and legal rulings recognizing communities' rights over territories. (Reuters)

  • The governments are failing to live up to their promises to protect indigenous groups, the leaders representing 500 communities said, adding they feel disrespect when they are not consulted over the exploitation of oil and mining projects in their territories. (Reuters)
  • Chile’s interior minister Izkia Siches was met by gunfire when travelling in Chile's south, where the former government declared a state of emergency due to violent land disputes with Indigenous groups. The new Boric administration said no one was injured and no vehicles were damaged, and that the government will press ahead with plans to end the state of emergency, reports Bloomberg.
  • Mexican journalist Armando Linares was killed yesterday, the eighth press worker murdered in Mexico so far this year. Reporters and photographers have been murdered this year in Mexico at the rate of almost one a week, despite claims from the government that the situation is under control, reports the Associated Press.
  • Venezuela's Maduro government is seeking to broaden participation in negotiations with opposition politicians, and is seeking meetings with political and business groups, and unions, among others, reports Reuters.

  • The families of eight U.S. citizens who remain imprisoned in Venezuela have asked U.S. President Joe Biden to maintain dialogue with the Maduro government, despite domestic political backlash, reports the Miami Herald. (See Monday's briefs.)
  • Guatemala’s congress shelved a bill that would have imposed up to 10 years of jail time for women who obtained abortions, yesterday. It was a startling reversal, just a week after lawmakers passed the bill which also banned same-sex marriage and sex education. President Alejandro Giammattei, who had initially celebrated the bill's passage, later said he would veto the legislation if it reached his desk for ratification. Experts say the reversal was probably prompted by the immediate domestic and international backlash to the bill's passage, reports the New York Times. (See last Thursday's post, and Friday's briefs.)
  • Ecuador’s president, Guillermo Lasso, said he would propose tightening time limits for abortion in cases of rape after lawmakers voted to permit abortion for pregnancies arising from rape until 12 weeks’ gestation, or up to 18 weeks for adult women belonging to indigenous groups or who live in rural areas, reports Reuters.
  • Colombian activists pushed for abortion rights in court, but also supported their legal strategy with a detailed effort to document how the negative impacts of abortion restrictions in the country disproportionately affected rural and poor women, and a broad effort to destigmatize abortion socially, writes Catalina Martínez Coral in a New York Times op-ed.

  • Colombia's presidential candidates must now choose running mates ahead of May's election. Observers are closely watching front-runner Gustavo Petro. He had initially promised to go with his Pacto Histórico coalition's second-place winner, Francia Márquez who had a remarkably strong showing in Sunday's primaries, but appears likely to instead select a candidate who will broaden his voter base, reports Bloomberg. (See Monday's post and yesterday's briefs.)

  • Current trends indicate Petro is likely to pass to a second round against right-wing Federico Guttiérrez, known as "Fico." Neither would govern with a Congressional majority, and would face uphill battles to pass legislation. (La Silla VacíaLa Silla Vacía)
  • Haiti asked Jamaica to return John Joël Joseph, a former Haitian senator accused in the brazen assassination of President Jovenel Moïse last July.  In Jamaica, Joseph is charged with illegal entry after he, his wife and two sons were arrested in January, reports the Miami Herald.
  • Argentina’s inflation accelerated in February at its fastest pace in nearly a year, surpassing forecasts and challenging the government’s targets for this year in its preliminary agreement with the International Monetary Fund, reports Bloomberg.
Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take? Let me know .. 

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