Thursday, May 12, 2022

U.S. Summit gatekeeping offends region (May 12, 2022)

Some countries in the region that condemn nondemocratic regimes in Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba still feel the Summit of the Americas invite-list kerfuffle is "yet another reminder of what they see as U.S. hubris when it comes to the hemisphere," reports the Washington Post. (See yesterday's post.)

Cuba, particularly, is a flashpoint for governments nettled by U.S. gatekeeping: "CARICOM countries take the view that the Summit of the Americas is not a United States summit, which it isn’t. It is a summit of all the countries of the Americas, of which the United States is only one," Ambassador Ronald Sanders of Antigua and Barbuda told the Washington Post. “Does hosting the summit give you the right to decide who should or should not be representing countries of the Americas? ... Many have come to the conclusion that ... everybody should be there. That must include Cuba.”

Honduran President Xiomara Castro joined the growing chorus of voices demanding broader inclusion. "If all the nations are not present, it is not the Summit of the Americas," she said. (Telesur)

"But what feels to many like Latin American solidarity, or a golden opportunity to stick it in Uncle Sam’s eye, also tells a less flattering story about the region’s current political reality—namely, a wavering commitment to democracy," writes Brian Winter in Americas Quarterly

Beyond the invite list, many fear the agenda will be thin, reports Politico, with few concrete plans to improve the region’s economy and trade links, while dealing more with U.S. concerns about migration. "Among Latin America hands, there’s a sense that Biden just doesn’t prioritize the region, home to some of the United States’ biggest trading partners, including Mexico."

News Briefs

  • Haitian gang members raped women and girls and burned people alive during turf wars over the past coupe of weeks near Port-au-Prince, the Haitian National Human Rights Defense Network said in a report detailing the bloody conflict between the rival Chen Mechan and 400 Mawozo gangs. The battles left 148 people dead, some of whom were hacked to death with machetes or died when their homes were set on fire. (Reuters)
  • Venezuelan oil production is set to get a boost from record inflows of Iranian crude, which is mixed with local production, a lifeline for the Maduro government, reports Bloomberg.

  • Some Venezuelan public companies will offer a small portion of their shares on the local stock market, as a way of boosting resources and maintaining operations, President Nicolás Maduro announced yesterday. (Reuters)
  • The brazen killing of Paraguayan prosecutor Marcelo Pecci on a Colombian beach has shocked people in both countries. The assassination of a key South American partner of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration appeared to underscore the dangers of investigating drug trafficking in Latin America, reports the Washington Post. (See yesterday's briefs.)

  • Brazil’s consumer prices in April rose 12.13 percent over the same period a year ago, the highest inflation rate the country has faced since 2003. Headline inflation also topped forecasts in Peru, Colombia and Chile, reports Bloomberg.
  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has spearheaded land-titling distribution, particularly in the country's agricultural south, in an effort to shore up rural voter support, reports Bloomberg. In Bolsonaro’s first three years in office, more deeds were distributed than in 13 years of Workers' Party governments.

  • The Nobel prize-winning author Mario Vargas Llosa has declared a preference for Bolsonaro over  Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva as Brazil prepares to head to the polls later this year, reports the Guardian.
Costa Rica
  • Costa Rican President Rodrigo Chaves took office on Sunday. The former minister and World Bank economist launched his mandate with a series of decrees that all addressed economic issues including the cost of energy, the cost of food, the cost of medicine, the composition of the country’s tax basket, and aiding agricultural supply chains. -- Latin America Risk Report
  • Peruvian President Pedro Castillo signed a 45-day extension to the state of emergency order that has been in place in five provinces of La Libertad Department, the country's illegal coal mining heartland, after regional leaders requested help to stop a wave of gang violence, reports InSight Crime.
El Salvador
  • Credit agencies are increasingly concerned that El Salvador could default, though President Nayib Bukele said there was "zero risk." Bukele announced that his government had bought 500 bitcoins, its largest purchase of the cryptocurrency to date, as the cryptocurrency value has plummeted more than 50% from its all-time highs. (El País)
  • Thousands of women in Mexico took to the streets on Sunday, Mothers' Day, to demand government action in response to their relatives' disappearances. Relatives of Mexico’s disappeared march every year, but this year, they were joined by a caravan of Central American mothers searching for loved ones who went missing while on their journey to the United States, reports Al Jazeera

  • An estimated 3 million peach trees across 6,000 hectares in Mexico's Zacatecas state have been abandoned by farmers fleeing cartel violence in the area, reports InSight Crime.
Regional Relations
  • Argentine President Alberto Fernández said "protectionism" in some European sectors was the biggest challenge for a free trade agreement between the Mercosur bloc, and the European Union. (Reuters)

  • The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has stopped stationing a plane in Mexico for anti-narcotics operations for the first time in decades, after Mexican officials rescinded its parking spot, reports Reuters. It's the latest hit to joint cooperation against drug crime between the two countries.
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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