Friday, March 25, 2022

Deportations to Haiti are life-threatening -- HRW (March 25, 2022)

News Briefs

  • The United States and all other countries should stop expelling or deporting people to Haiti, where they face a high risk of violence and have no effective access to protection or justice, according to Human Rights Watch, which emphasized that returns to Haiti are life-threatening now, and will continue to be so, until security conditions in Haiti improve. The organization called on the U.S. to immediately stop its inappropriate use of Title 42, a section of US health law, to expel people to Haiti and elsewhere.

  • Migration through Mexico and Central America, and people who go missing on their journeys, will increase in 2022 due to high levels of violence in the region, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross. “In many countries, violence is wreaking more and more havoc, and that’s why there are more and more migrants,” ICRC representative Jordi Raich told Reuters.
  • Latin American economies will grow an average of 2.3 percent this year, according to a revised UNCTAD estimate that lowered its outlook due to the negative effects of the Ukraine war on the global picture. However, the rise in fuel and food prices could benefit raw material exporting nations. (EFE)

  • Understanding the environmental impacts of China’s trade and investment in Latin America requires nuance, argues Monica Nuñez Salas in a Wilson Center Report. She maintains that “there is not enough evidence to argue that Chinese demand for natural resources is uniquely unsustainable or that China’s foreign direct investments adopt worse practices than other actors” in the extractives and agricultural sectors.
Regional Relations
  • Countering Russian aggression in Ukraine, as well as rejecting a Sino-Russian partnership that wishes to weaken the status of democracy worldwide, can include U.S. and European efforts to instill a sense of common purpose and solidarity in confronting the climate crisis, argues Anders Beal in Global Americans.

  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has brought about varied and counterintuitive reactions from Brazil's political class, which illustrate the limited value of traditional definitions of “right” and “left,” and show how relations with Russia muddle partisan and ideological lines, writes Fernando Brancoli in the Wilson Center's Weekly Asado.

  • Washington’s most receptive rapprochement, in the wake of the Russian aggression in Ukraine, is taking place in Venezuela, which has been a Russian ally in the region, reports the Washington Post. Though talks have focused on oil, the U.S. diplomatic about-face is also about geopolitics, and countering the Russian-Venezuelan alliance.
  • Russian tourists had helped breathe an unlikely new life into Venezuela’s idyllic island of Margarita, following a deal between the two allied governments that has permitted more than 10,000 Russians to visit Margarita since September on direct charter flights from Moscow, in what was the island’s only international connection. But the island's new tourist surge has been cut short by Russia's aggression against Ukraine, reports the New York Times.

  • Venezuela's beleaguered bolivar has, against all odds, managed to stabilize since October. That is thanks to a $2.2 billion investment by the government in a bid to slow down inflation, which remains the world's highest 686 percent in 2021, reports AFP.

  • Venezuela's Maduro government bet big on mining after its oil sector collapsed in the past decade, but the rapid expansion of mining operations in the country’s south are tainted by human rights violations
    and illegality, according to a Wilson Center report.
  • Nicaragua's Ortega government expelled the representative of the International Red Cross Committee in the country. The ICRC said the reason behind the decision was not clear, and no government agency would confirm the expulsion. (Associated Press)
  • Uruguay's referendum on a penal code reform this Sunday is unusual in that it encompasses a wide raft of issues, and has been treated by both advocates and opponents as a plebiscite of President Luis Lacalle Pou's government, explains the Latin America Brief. (See Monday's post.)
  • IMF board directors meet today to review a $45bn debt deal with Argentina, which the country's Congress has already ratified. The agreement in principle refinances $45bn in debt outstanding from a record $57bn that Argentina borrowed from the IMF in 2018. Once the IMF board gives the green light, as it is widely expected to do, the country is due to receive $9.8bn of funds, reports the Financial Times.
  • Former Haitian senator John Joël Joseph, who is one of the main suspects in the slaying of former President Jovenel Moïse, agreed to be extradited from Jamaica to the U.S. to face charges, reports the Associated Press.

  • A Haitian police investigative report obtained by the Herald describes Joseph as playing a key role in the plot to kill Moïse, reports the Miami Herald. Haitian authorities requested he be deported there in hopes that he can shed light on the motive behind the killing. 

  • The U.S. has been conducting its own investigation into Moïse's killing, under the U.S. Justice Department’s expansive view of its criminal jurisdiction, explains the Miami Herald
  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro gained slightly in Datafolha's latest poll, up to 26 points for October's presidential election. But he remains far behind former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who would get 43 percent of the votes if the election were today. (Reuters)

  • Armed militias in many of Rio de Janeiro's favelas are setting exorbitant prices for gas cylinders and other basic goods, knowing residents have little choice but to pay up, reports InSight Crime.
  • A potential leftist victory in Colombia's upcoming presidential elections is unlikely to upset the country's growing, but still incipient startup ecosystem, reports Rest of World.
  • The United States government has taken major actions against one of Guatemala’s most enduring drug clans – the "Huistas," reports InSight Crime.
  • Ecuadorean lawmakers rejected a bill that would create public-private partnerships to facilitate infrastructure projects. The proposal was backed by conservative President Guillermo Lasso, who said it would attract investment, but opposed as a privatization of public assets by critics, reports Reuters.
  • Chinese owned MMG Ltd said it has secured approval from Peru’s Ministry of Energy and Mines to expand its Las Bambas copper mine despite ongoing outrage from local indigenous communities, reports Reuters.
Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take? Let me know ... Latin America Daily Briefing

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