Regional leaders debate future of cooperation amidst tensions

THIS WEEK IN LATIN AMERICA CELAC: The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) convened its VI Summit of Heads of State and Government in Mexico City on Saturday. […] The post Regional leaders debate future of cooperation amidst tensions appeared first on Latin America News Dispatch.

Regional leaders debate future of cooperation amidst tensions


CELAC: The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) convened its VI Summit of Heads of State and Government in Mexico City on Saturday. of Mexico reiterated ambitions for CELAC to replace the Organization of American States (OAS) as the region’s primary forum of cooperation and advocated for greater economic integration in the vein of the European Union (EU). The creation of a fund for natural disaster response was also announced.

The sparked tensions along ideological lines. Right-wing Presidents Abdo Benítez of Paraguay and Uruguay’s Lacalle Pou asserted that their participation in the Summit did not signify a recognition of Maduro’s government. In response, the Venezuelan leader called for an end to divisiveness in Latin America and defended fellow socialist governments in Cuba and Nicaragua against accusations of human rights abuses levelled by Lacalle Pou.

This year’s Summit was the first since 2017. In 2020, Mexico and Argentina (under the leadership of President Alberto Fernández) led efforts to revitalise the organisation. Created in 2010 with the aim of countering U.S. influence in the OAS, CELAC brings together 32 independent states of Latin America and the Caribbean. President Bolsonaro’s from the organisation last year.


BRAZIL: On Tuesday, Brazil’s overturned on the removal of social media posts. The ruling came less than a week after Bolsanaro instituted a policy from erasing content deemed to spread misinformation. It was the first time a democratically-elected national government intervened to prevent a social network from publishing content that violated its rules, setting a frightening precedent in the lead-up to presidential elections in Brazil. Bolsonaro has repeatedly posted misinformation about COVID-19, and has stated publicly and online that the only way he’ll lose next year’s election. Ruling bodies in Brazil claimed that Balsonaro’s provisional measure was not valid because it didn’t meet regulatory requirements. 

CHILE: Elisa Loncon Antileo, President of the Constitutional Convention, has beenMost Influential People of 2021. celebrates Loncon as a symbol of indigenous struggles to have a voice in national affairs and highlights the Mapuche linguist’s long history of advocacy for the teaching of indigenous languages.

Loncon was elected President of the Constitutional Convention at its inaugural session on July 4, earning 96 of a possible 155 votes. Soon after her assignment, she announced intentions to petition Congress for in Chile that kick-started the process of drafting a new Constitution.


COLOMBIA/REGION: An annual finds that lethal attacks against land defenders are increasing, with deaths concentrated heavily in Latin America. Almost three-quarters of the record 227 murders registered in 2020 occurred in the region and over a third targeted indigenous communities.

Colombia recorded the for the second year in a row, with 65 lethal attacks carried out in a context of heightening human rights abuses, surveillance, and incursions into indigenous territories despite optimism for improved conditions after the 2016 peace agreement. After Colombia, the deadliest sites for environmental defenders were Mexico, the Philippines, Brazil and Honduras. 

The report cites the exploitative logic of extractive industries – including logging and mining – and the impunity under which they operate as contributing factors to the killings. Despite pandemic-related lockdowns, many extractive activities were allowed to continue, while restrictions on movement and civil liberties made it  

VENEZUELA: United Nations experts reported on Thursday that Venezuela’s judicial system has been complicit in human rights abuses perpetrated by the State. found that political interference in judicial proceedings prompted judges and prosecutors to facilitate legal shelter for a range of crimes including extrajudicial killings, torture, and sexual violence directed at real or perceived government opponents. 

The report was based on judges, prosecutors and defence attorneys, in addition to review of thousands of pages of case files. The Venezuelan government did not respond to repeated petitions for information, and denied entry to the investigators for the second year in a row. 

The Venezuelan government , while announcing the creation of a judicial body to investigate allegations of wrongdoing. 


DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Thousands marched to the President’s Office in Santo Domingo to protest the expansion of mining activities in the Eastern province of Monte Plata. Protesters specifically opposed the construction of a mine waste storage facility, which activists warned would lead to the contamination of the Ozama and Isabel rivers and pose serious health and environmental risks to surrounding communities.

The demonstration, coordinated by – including water rights activists, peasant and labor unions, and women’s rights groups – also expressed broader complaints about the effects of extractive industries. Speakers and placards denounced the government policy as well as the operations of foreign mining companies such as Canadian-based Barrick Gold Corporation and Falconbridge Ltd.

HAITI: Prime Minister Ariel Henry on Wednesday just days after putting together an interim Council of Ministers to lead Haiti until its next election. The dismissal compounds the political uncertainty triggered by the assassination of President Jovenel Moise on July 7 and fuels suspicion of Henry’s alleged involvement in the murder plot.

Also on Wednesday, General Secretary of the Council of Ministers Rénald Lubérice resigned. , Lubérice accused Henry of obstruction of justice for refusing to answer questions concerning phone calls the Prime Minister received on the night of the killing from a key suspect in the murder case currently .

Henry from his office on Tuesday, hours after the official had petitioned the presiding judge on the case to open an investigation against the Prime Minister.


EL SALVADOR: President Nayib Bukele’s recent stance on abortion and same-sex marriage has from human rights groups. On Friday that the constitutional reforms the government will send to congress will not contain decriminalization of abortion nor permit same-sex marriage or euthanasia. The growing criticisms point out the contradictions of Bukele’s administration promoting a progressive agenda while maintaining some of the strictest anti-abortion laws in the Americas and restricting same-sex marriage. 


US/HAITI: On Sunday, the administration of President Joe Biden of Haitian migrants who had gathered in the Southern border town of Del Rio, TX. It is  estimated 14,000 will be returned to Haiti over the next three weeks.

Haitian immigration officials have implored the US to as the country is unable to care for these persons. This despite Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s assurances late on Saturday that arrangements [had] already been made” to accommodate deportees.

The devastation of the Aug. 14 earthquake along with the political turmoil following President Jovenel Moȉse’s assassination in July have driven thousands of Haitians to the border in recent weeks. 


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Shining Path leader Abimael Guzmán dead at 86

THIS WEEK IN LATIN AMERICA PERU: Abimael Guzmán, the guerrilla leader who led a rebel group in a bloody protracted war against the Peruvian state died in prison on Saturday […] The post Shining Path leader Abimael Guzmán dead at 86 appeared first on Latin America News Dispatch.

Shining Path leader Abimael Guzmán dead at 86


PERU: Abimael Guzmán, the guerrilla leader who led a rebel group in a bloody protracted war against the Peruvian state died in prison on Saturday at the age of 86. Guzmán, also known as Chairman Gonzalo, was the founder of the Maoist guerrilla organization the Communist Party of Peru – Shining Path.

A former university professor, Guzmán led Shining path to take up arms against the government in 1980, leading to what would become.the deadliest civil conflict in Peru’s history as an independent country.

 Shining Path championed the cause of dispossessed campesinos and indigenous people, and won the support of many across rural Peru. But the group was also known for indiscriminate violence against civilians, notably in a of 69 peasants in Lucanamarca, Ayacucho, and a 1992 car bombing on in the Miraflores district of Lima. In total, around 70,000 people were killed in the conflict, which began to wind down after Guzmán was arrested in 1992 and told his followers to lay down their arms a year later. Since then, smaller armed groups associated with Shining Path have continued to operate in the country.

Politicians from across the political spectrum reacted to Guzmán’s death with statements , including President Pedro Castillo, who blamed Guzmán for “the loss of countless lives.”


BRAZIL: President Jair Bolosonaro issued a effectively banning social media platforms from censoring posts or accounts that spread false information last week. 

The measure prohibits social media companies from removing or suspending posts or user accounts except for certain violations. Misinformation and disinformation are not among the causes provided for in the order, which include nudity, pedophilia, terrorism, and encouragement of drug use.

The measure was published amidst concerning the President’s repeated claims at rallies and on social media that the country’s voting system is . Polling low in popularity ahead of next year’s Presidential elections in Brazil, commentators have suggested that Bolsonaro is attempting to discredit the election result should he lose.

CHILE: Declassified documents published last week by the show that Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) helped destabilize the Socialist government of Salvador Allende in Chile at the request of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

reveal that then-Australian Foreign Minister William McMahon approved installation of a clandestine office in Santiago in December 1970. ASIS agents arrived in the Chilean capital in mid-1971 and worked with local informants to feed intelligence to the CIA.

A Labor government replaced the Liberal administration in Australia at the end of 1972 and the new prime minister, Gough Whitlam, in Chile. The Santiago base was shut down in July 1973 but it is believed that an agent remained behind even after the coup on September 11.


VENEZUELA: Fugitive former Venezuelan intelligence officer Hugo Carvajal by Spanish police in Madrid last week on the request of United States prosecutors. U.S. attorneys in the Southern District of New York say that Carvajal was involved in a conspiracy to traffic cocaine from Venezuela to the United States and that he to the Colombian rebel group FARC when he was military intelligence chief from 2004 to 2011.

 In 2019, Carvajal and threw his support behind opposition leader Juan Guaidó. Later that year, he fled to Spain, where he was briefly detained by Spanish authorities before becoming a fugitive.

 Carvajal’s lawyer says that the drug charges are false and that she will oppose the extradition request.


REGION: The between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the African Union was convened last week. The meeting explored ways to foster of peoples, trade and investment and discussed solidarity in addressing global issues such as climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. The heads of state and government also acknowledged the historic and cultural ties connecting the regions.

The summit was part of a renewed push from regional leaders to stimulate relations between the Caribbean and Africa. Between 2018 and 2020, there were several cross-Atlantic visits and plans are in place for the establishment of a . In mid-2020, at the invitation of the African Union, CARICOM member states joined the African Medical Supplies Platform to facilitate access to COVID-19 vaccines.

HAITI: The government of Prime Minister Ariel Henry and opposition parties reached an on Saturday to avoid further civil conflict. 

The agreement mandates that by the end of 2022 and sets a three-month timeline for the drafting of a new constitution. A revised constitution had been the major project of President Jovenel Moïse before his assassination on July 7. A new 33-member National Constituent Assembly will be charged with carrying out this task.

In the interim, the parties have agreed that Prime Minister Henry will govern the country with the support of a non-partisan Council of Ministers. The provisional cabinet must be assigned before Monday, September 20.


EL SALVADOR: El Salvador officially adopted Bitcoin as its national currency on Tuesday, becoming. The law to make the cryptocurrency legal tender was passed in June of this year, but experts have warned that it could cause problems in the future and add risks to the country’s already fragile economy.

On Tuesday, hundreds of protestors marched in the capital, San Salvador, to oppose the adoption of Bitcoin as an official currency. The new currency had a rocky start, with a government-made digital wallet called Chivo, and the price of the cryptocurrency.

The administration of President Nayib Bukele says that using Bitcoin as an official currency will expand access to financial products and make it easier for Salvadorans to send and receive remittances.

NICARAGUA: The in Nicaragua’s crackdown on opposition figures is writer and politician Sergio Ramírez, a prominent novelist and onetime ally of President Daniel Ortega. Prosecutors ordered the arrest of the 79-year-old writer last week for “inciting hate and violence.” Ramírez was out of the country when the warrant was issued, and says that. 

Ramírez was a supporter of the Sandinista revolution that toppled the dictatorship of the Somoza family in 1979, and served as vice president under President Daniel Ortega from 1985 to 1990. Ramírez broke with Ortega in 1995 and founded a rival political party, the Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS).


MEXICO: Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Tuesday that criminal penalties for people who receive abortions. The ruling opens the way for people facing prosecution across the country for receiving abortions to have the charges dropped. Almost all Mexican states have laws on the books that mandate jail time for people who receive abortions. The only states that do not are Hidalgo, Veracruz, Oaxaca and Mexico City. 

The court ruling only invalidated a law criminalizing abortion in the border state of Coahuila. But it also means that abortion bans in 27 other states if they are challenged.  

MEXICO: A 7.1-magnitude earthquake on Tuesday, leaving at least three people dead and damaging almost 8,000 homes. The earthquake’s epicenter was from the city of Acapulco, and it caused damage in 40 of the 81 municipalities of the state of Guerrero. It was also felt in Mexico City. Over a million people in Guerrero were. On Sunday, Governor Hector Astudillo said that electricity had been restored to almost all of the localities which had lost service. The quake also covered roads with debris, leaving them unpassable. Army teams are working to clear roads, including the Tlapa-Marquelia highway and the Acapulco-Chilpancingo highway.

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