Venezuela's government released two U.S. citizens detained in the country, a major breakthrough following a high-level meeting between U.S. officials and President Nicolás Maduro this weekend in Caracas. The release marks a potential turning point in the U.S. Biden administration’s relationship with Russia’s staunchest ally in the region, reports the New York Times. (See Monday's post.)
- Miami businessman Jorge Nobrega has pleaded guilty to receiving payments from Venezuela’s government and servicing the country’s fleet of Russian fighter jets in violation of U.S. sanctions, reports the Associated Press.
Latin American feminist activists have rallied around the issue of gender violence in recent years. The urgent need to reduce femicides, the killing of women and girls on account of their gender, spurred the massive Ni Una Menos movement in Argentina, which spread throughout the region and also forms part of the underpinning of the Green Tide that has successfully led a push for abortion rights in Argentina, Mexico and Colombia over the past year and a half.
- Thousands of protesters rallied for Women's Day in Mexico City yesterday, demonstrating against violence. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has had a conflictive relationship with the country's feminists, urged calm while warning that the protests could turn violent. (Reuters)
- Thousands of protesters will participate in the “Ato pela Terra” (Stand for the Earth) demonstration in Brasília today, after Caetano Veloso called a major protest to denounce what they consider a historic assault on the Brazilian environment by President Jair Bolsonaro's government. Activists are protesting a “death combo” of five environment-related bills being considered by Brazil’s congress. (Guardian)
- If approved, the proposals would greenlight commercial mining on indigenous lands and jeopardize the land rights of tens of thousands of indigenous people; loosen environmental licensing requirements and regulations over pesticide use; and boost land grabbers and illegal loggers in the Amazon, reports the Guardian. If passed, the new laws would enshrine the current administration's hostile stance to conservation, and make it harder for a new government to roll-back loosened environmental regulations.
- Bolsonaro has seized on global fertilizer shortages caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine to push for a law that would allow mining on indigenous reservations. (See last Thursday's briefs.) The government's chief whip in the lower house of Congress gathered enough signatures yesterday to fast-track the bill, which means that it could be put to a full vote without committee hearings, reports Reuters.
- While the Russian fertilizer issue affects Brazil particularly, it will contribute to increasing agriculture costs around the world. "Sustained high commodity prices will be the single biggest driver of politics and economics in the region over the coming" year, writes James Bosworth at the Latin America Risk Report.
- A mass document leak shows how the international owners of an open-pit nickel mine paid off Guatemalan security forces, ignored court orders, and consorted with the highest echelons of Guatemalan government to obscure pollution, crush local dissent, and continue operating with the tolerance of three administrations, reports El Faro. (See Monday's briefs.)
- The leak of more than eight million company documents revealed how the mining company Solway, operating illegally in El Estor, a Maya Q’eqchi’ town near the Caribbean coastline, bought local police and Indigenous leaders, spied on journalists, classified residents as allies or enemies, and sought to expel communities from ancestral land. (El Faro)
- Guatemala's Congress passed a law that prohibits same-sex marriage, reports the BBC.
- Peruvian lawmakers introduced an impeachment motion to try to oust President Pedro Castillo, yesterday. It's the second formal attempt to remove Castillo, and was presented on the same day his latest Cabinet sought a confirmation vote from the legislature, reports Reuters.
- Thanks to species conservation work, St. Lucia's national bird has been flourishing since the country's first independence day in 1979. -- Guardian