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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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

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. 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.

SOUTHERN CONE

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.

ANDES

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. 

CARIBBEAN 

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.

CENTRAL AMERICA

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. 

NORTH AMERICA

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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