Latin American and Caribbean women demonstrate in support of International Safe Abortion Day

THIS WEEK IN LATIN AMERICA REGION: Women took to the streets across Latin America and the Caribbean on Tuesday in recognition of the Global Day of Action for access to […] The post Latin American and Caribbean women demonstrate in support of International Safe Abortion Day appeared first on Latin America News Dispatch.

Latin American and Caribbean women demonstrate in support of International Safe Abortion Day

THIS WEEK IN LATIN AMERICA

REGION: Women took to the streets across Latin America and the Caribbean on Tuesday in recognition of the Global Day of Action for access to legal, safe and free abortion. Large demonstrations took place in Mexico, El Salvador, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Chile.

In Mexico, protesters were met with a, and violent clashes occurred outside the official residence of the President. Three weeks ago, Mexico’s Supreme Court declared the criminalization of abortion in the state of Coahuila unconstitutional, setting a historical precedent for the rest of the country.

Lawmakers in Chile of abortion on Tuesday, voting to debate a bill that would eliminate prosecution of women who get abortions in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. Tuesday’s legislation is opposed by the government, and the path to decriminalization still faces obstacles. 

In San Salvador, feminist groups marched to the Congress to demand reforms. any possibility that abortion will be included in proposed constitutional reforms. El Salvador is known for some of the strictest abortion restrictions, which carry severe punishments and make no exceptions in cases of rape or medical complications. 

Currently, abortion is legal in only a few countries in Latin America, including Uruguay, Cuba, Argentina, Guyana, French Guiana, and parts of Mexico. 

SOUTHERN CONE

BRAZIL: Thousands of Brazilians demanded the impeachment of President Jair Bolsonaro in on Saturday. Protestors decried the President’s mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic; almost 600,000 persons have died of the coronavirus in Brazil.

According to the results of one poll released on Thursday, public disapproval of Bolsonaro’s governance hit in the past week. Despite this widespread disapproval and the almost 130 impeachment requests that have been submitted to Brazilian congress over the course of Bolsonaro’s tenure, commentators believe it is that the President will be impeached. The current Speaker of the Lower House, like his predecessor, has been reluctant to initiate proceedings. Moreover, Bolsonaro is thought to have enough allies in Congress to block an impeachment attempt.

PARAGUAY: Indigenous and peasant communities protested in Asunción this week against that increased penalties for occupation of private land. Protesters argued that the law represents an infringement on rights to defend territorial claims. 

In outside the Congress building, police attempted to disperse demonstrations using water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets. Some protesters were pictured with slingshots, bows and arrows, and rocks, and there were reports of cars being set on fire. 

During the dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner (1954-1989), millions of hectares of indigenous . A 2006 report from a state Commission for Truth and Justice, estimated that two-thirds of this land was redistributed to allies of the regime. Indigenous and peasant movements have since employed occupation tactics as a form of protest to reclaim the stolen territory.

ANDES

ECUADOR: 116 in riots at a prison in Guayaquil on Tuesday when violence between rival gangs broke out. Gruesome footage reveals multiple beheadings and dismemberments.  

Ecuador’s president Guillermo Lasso Wednesday called a state of emergency across the country’s penitentiary system. The decree allowed armed forces to enter the nation’s prisons to restore order. The head of Ecuador’s prison authority announced Friday that 2,000 prisoners would be pardoned in order to reduce overcrowding in the country’s detention centers. 

The events mark the third deadly riot in Ecuadorian prisons so far this year. In February and July of 2021, similar upheavals left over 100 dead. The surge in prison violence in recent years is accredited to increased competition between criminal gangs vying for drug routes.

VENEZUELA: Venezuela announced on Friday that it will launch a new currency that will feature six fewer zeros in response to the hyperinflation that the nation faces.  said the currency “will not be worth more or less; it is only to facilitate its use on a simpler monetary scale,” which does little to mitigate the nation’s economic crisis. 

Minimum wage is around and year-on-year inflation is 1,743%, according to the Venezualan Finance Observatory. The inflation has forced citizens to limit cash transactions at banks and use U.S. dollars or other electronic payment means for transactions. 

The Bolivar note has lost nearly 73% of its value in 2021. The International Monetary Fund estimates a 5,500% inflation rate for Venezuela by the end of 2021.  Venezuela’s banks no longer publish national inflation statistics.

CARIBBEAN 

HAITI/REGION: Bahamian and Cuban authorities have been intercepting Haitian migrants believed to be heading to the US in recent weeks. The and the released statements in the past week informing that hundreds of migrants were detained either at sea or within the respective territories. Both governments announced intentions to return migrants to Haiti.

The UN migration agency reported Friday that since September 19. This came one day after multiple UN agencies released calling on countries of the Americas to “refrain” from mass deportations and to collaborate on formulating a regional response that protects the rights of migrants. The US as well as Mexico and the Bahamas have been conducting .

PUERTO RICO: Hundreds gathered outside the Governor’s Mansion on Friday across the island. Throughout the week, were subject to 4-hour long blackouts. 

The demonstrations mainly targeted LUMA Energy, a privately-owned company that has been responsible for the distribution of the island’s electricity since June. indicate an increase in outages over the last three months compared to the same period last year. LUMA stated that the “selective outages” became necessary to manage the inadequate supply of electricity generated by the public power authority.

Puerto Rico’s since the damages caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017.

CENTRAL AMERICA

HONDURAS: More than half of the Honduran Island of Guanaja was destroyed by a large fire  on Saturday.  Authorities have not made it clear how the fire began, only that it

Honduran Air Force helicopters flew in and to help stop the fire from spreading. Guanaja residents had tried to control the flames, as the island does not have a fire department.  No “human losses” were reported; only substantial “material losses,” according to Max Gonzalez, minister of the National System for Risk Management and National Contingencies agency.  

rely on tourism for income. Some homes were used as businesses. The island’s deputy mayor, Mireya Guillen, said that the island is in need of supplies including “water, food and oxygen tanks.”  

NICARAGUA: Nicaragua’s health agency authorized on Saturday two Cuban-made COVID-19 vaccines, Soberana and Abdala, for emergency use. has yet to approve Cuba’s development of three vaccines against COVID-19.  Iran, Vietnam and Venezuela currently use Soberana and Abdala. 

Nicaragua’s vice president, Rosario Murillo, that the vaccines will arrive on October 20, and that the doses will be reserved for minors between the ages of 2-17. 

As of Saturday, the country has fully vaccinated less than – and a slightly higher number with only one dose.  Murillo expects to bring more vaccines through Covax Mechanism to “very soon” cover people ages 18 and over.

NORTH AMERICA

MEXICO: Mexican journalist, Manuel González Reyes, was shot and killed in Cuernavaca, Morelos’ state capital, on Tuesday afternoon.  The as the director of the news site, Portal Morelos Agency. State prosecutor’s office made the announcement on Wednesday.

made a formal announcement on their official Twitter account demanding an investigation that considers González Reyes’ work as a journalist. Artículo 19, an organization that protects and promotes press freedom worldwide, claimed that González Reyes’ attackers were on motorcycles. 

So far this year, Mexico has reported at least including González Reyes. According to government data, between December 2018 – July 2021, 43 journalists have been killed. Mexico is known as a country with one of the highest number of assassinated journalists.

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US Envoy to Haiti Resigns Over Biden Administration’s Handling of Haitian Migrants at the Border

THIS WEEK IN LATIN AMERICA US Envoy to Haiti, Daniel Foote, resigned on Wednesday over what he considered President Biden administration’s “inhumane” mass deportation of Haitian migrants seeking asylum at […] The post US Envoy to Haiti Resigns Over Biden Administration’s Handling of Haitian Migrants at the Border appeared first on Latin America News Dispatch.

US Envoy to Haiti Resigns Over Biden Administration’s Handling of Haitian Migrants at the Border

THIS WEEK IN LATIN AMERICA

US Envoy to Haiti, Daniel Foote, over what he considered President Biden administration’s “inhumane” mass deportation of Haitian migrants seeking asylum at the US – Mexico border. Foote stated in a to the secretary of state, Antony Blinken, that the deportation policy would exacerbate the already dire situation in Haiti and in turn, drive more migrants to the border. 

Foote also accused the US Government of ignoring his recommendations to improve the situation. This claim was refuted by the State Department in a, which stated that Foote’s proposals were considered “harmful… to the promotion of democracy in Haiti.” Deputy secretary of state, Wendy Sherman, added in a later interview that Foote had suggested deploying US troops to Haiti.

Foote wrote in his letter, “The collapsed state is unable to provide security or basic services, and more refugees will fuel further desperation and crime. Surging migration to our borders will only grow as we will add to Haiti’s unacceptable misery.”  His decision to step down as US Envoy comes days after the horrific photos of chasing Haitian migrants were published. 

SOUTHERN CONE

ARGENTINA/BRAZIL: Two laboratories in Argentina and Brazil have been selected to develop and produce mRNA vaccines for the Americas to protect against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. The on Tuesday that the Buenos Aires-based Sinergium Biotech and the Rio de Janeiro-based Bio-Manguinhos Institute of Technology on Immunobiologicals at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation () would be entrusted with this responsibility.

The initiative is a result of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and PAHO calls for expressions of interest earlier in the year directed at medical research institutions and manufacturers willing to develop and share mRNA technology with the region. The COVID-19 vaccines produced by US-based companies Pfizer and Moderna were the first to adopt this technology.

CHILE: Thousands in the northern coastal city of Iquique against the presence of undocumented Venezuelan migrants. Marchers chanted “no more illegal immigration” and sang Chile’s national anthem. There were also reports of attacks on migrants and the burning of migrant tents and personal belongings.

The demonstration came one day after that had been installed in the city’s Plaza Brasil. A local government official informed that the approximately 100 families that were camped in Plaza Brazil have been left wandering the city searching for a new location.

ANDES

PERÚ: The body of Shining Path leader and founder, on Friday morning in Lima. The cremation closes two weeks of controversy over how to handle the remains, with that a gravesite would attract followers of the terrorist group. Guzmán died on September 11th at the age of 86 in a maximum security prison where he was serving a life sentence. 

The President of Perú, Pedro Castillo, enabling state prosecutors to authorize the cremation and disposal of the bodies of individuals convicted of terrorism. According to the Attorney General, the ashes have been discarded in an undisclosed location. Guzmán’s widow, Elena Iparraguirre, also a former Shining Path leader serving a life sentence, had sought to obtain the remains after her husband’s death.

Guzmán, a former philosophy professor, launched a Maoist insurgency against the Peruvian state in 1980. The ensuing conflict led to the death of over 70,000 people over two decades, with highland indigenous citizens making up the bulk of the victims. Guzmán was captured in Lima in 1992.

VENEZUELA: Negotiations between Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaidó in Mexico after government delegates failed to appear. Officials did not provide a reason for the absence, but anonymous sources connected to the process indicated that talks would resume on Saturday. 

Last week, the government delegation announced that Alex Saab – a Colombian businessman close to Maduro and currently jailed in Cape Verde – Saab is awaiting extradition to the United States where he faces money laundering charges connected to a food import program that he ran on behalf of Maduro’s government that bypassed US sanctions. Officials did not explain how Saab would join the negotiations. 

Issues on the agenda at the include a pathway to elections, social protections for Venezuelan citizens, and the lifting of US sanctions. The first round of talks, mediated by Norway, took place from September 3 to 6 in México City.

CARIBBEAN 

BARBADOS: Prime Minister Mia Mottley reaffirmed her at a press conference held during the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly last week. Mottley explained that her administration has instead focused on sensitizing the population on vaccination while ensuring that free testing is available. She also pointed out that almost half of the population had already received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Other governments of the Southern Caribbean, including , St. Vincent, and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago, have over their decisions to implement vaccine mandates.

PUERTO RICO: Gov. Pedro Pierluisi, on Tuesday, signed into law the first on the island in 12 years. Starting January 1, 2022, the minimum wage will be raised to $8.50 per hour, from the current rate of $7.25. Pierluisi noted that the increase would represent an additional $2000 in the coming year for full-time minimum wage workers. 

are scheduled for July 1, 2023, to $9.50 per hour, and July 1, 2024, to $10.50 per hour. These increases are subject to change based on decisions by the Minimum Wage Evaluating Committee of Puerto Rico’s Department of Labor.

CENTRAL AMERICA

PANAMA: Half of Panama’s population of 4.2 million people have been vaccinated against COVID-19, leaving the country weeks away from herd immunity, President Laurentino Cortizo said during his address to the UN General Assembly on Thursday.  Panama at 56%, now stands than most Latin American nations in terms of fully vaccinated people. According to data from the ​​Ministry of Health, Panama has administered 5.3 million doses of vaccines out of the 7.2 million which the nation received from Pfizer Inc and AstraZeneca Plc.

NICARAGUA: Nicaragua went before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), on Monday,  accusing Colombia of in the West Caribbean. That same court made a 2012 ruling in favor of Nicaragua, awarding them a large portion of the Caribbean waters, which increased Nicaragua’s , providing access to underwater oil and gas deposits, along with fishing rights. Nicaragua claimed that Colombia repeatedly violated the ruling by placing naval patrol boats within these waters to prevent vessels with Nicaraguan fishing permits from operating. 

Lawyers representing the Colombian Government, on Wednesday, , maintaining that the 2012 ruling respected international law. Attorney Manuel Jose Cepeda stated that Colombia’s naval presence respects international law, arguing that the vessels were needed for international duties such as environmental preservation and anti-drug trafficking.

The ICJ is the United Nations’ highest legal authority.  Both nations’ arguments will be heard in planned to run through Oct. 1.

NORTH AMERICA

MEXICO: Mexico again requested the assistance of Israel’s government on Friday with former Mexican official, Tomás Zerón, wanted for the mishandling of a controversial investigation into the disappearance of 43 student teachers back in 2014.  Zerón, former head of Mexico’s criminal investigation agency, evaded authorities last year by fleeing to Israel, according to Mexican officials. 

Mexican authorities and relatives of the missing accused Zerón of planting evidence to distort events that took place on Sept. 26, 2014. The student teachers were reported missing in the southwest city of Iguala. Government officials allege that they were who were working with a local drug gang.  Only the of the 43 teachers-in-training have been identified.   

On the campaign trail in 2018, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador promised to resolve the case of the missing 43 once in office.

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