30,000 displaced in Nicaragua (Nov. 4, 2020)
Hurricane Eta wrought destruction in Nicaragua's north yesterday -- officials say there are at least 30,000 people in shelters, more than 30,000 homes without electricity in addition to material damage. Homes were destroyed and at least one fatality has been attributed to the storm. Community leaders in shelters have denounced lack of basic supplies -- from water and mattresses to personal protective gear for Covid-19. Nicaraguan officials warn that heavy rains will cause further emergencies, like mudslides. (Confidencial, Weather Channel)
The storm's slow pace means some coastal areas have been taking a beating since Monday, including residential areas that include poorly-constructed adobe homes, reports Accuweather.
Eta will spend most of the rest of the week over Central America, producing potentially catastrophic rainfall flooding. It could dissipate for a time, but its remnant spin and energy are expected to emerge over the northwest Caribbean Sea by this weekend. Eta could then reorganize into a tropical depression or storm. Eta would then move back over the northwest Caribbean beginning late this week or early in the weekend, sending heavy rain down on parts of the Cayman Islands and Cuba. (Weather Channel)
It is now becoming clear that a number of migrant children were improperly expelled from the U.S. to Mexico after the U.S. Trump administration shut down the border to most asylum applicants because of the coronavirus pandemic, reports the New York Times. Minors from Central America have been sent to Mexico, even in cases where they have no family there.
U.S. investigations show that parts of Mexico's criminal world and its government have a symbiotic relationship. "But after 340,000 dead and more than 77,000 disappeared in the last 14 years of the War on Drugs, Mexicans cannot permit this story to end with merely a few protagonists being judged in a New York Court. The U.S. proceedings must serve as a jumping off point for Mexico's judiciary to investigate the links between government and organized crime, argues José Luis Pardo Veiras in a New York Times Español op-ed.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said his government would review cooperation over drug policy with the United States and how its agencies operate in Mexico in the wake of the recent arrest of former Mexican defense minister Salvador Cienfuegos. (Reuters)
Organized crime overlaps with governments in Latin America in a variety of ways -- ranging from transactional bribes, to broader high-level infiltration to criminal groups run by government officials. The Latin America Risk Report looks at how this plays out across the region, and notes that it's not all drug trafficking.
Latin America is ripe for reforms to strengthen its labor markets and improve fiscal sustainability. But so far a fear of protests and lack of external pressure have prevented governments in the region from using the Covid-19 crisis to prepare for the future, argues Mauricio Cárdenas in Americas Quarterly.
Latin America’s demand for black market liquor has exploded due to limits on sales during the coronavirus pandemic, reports InSight Crime.
Everybody is anxious for U.S. election results, but the issue is particularly pressing for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has modeled his presidency on Trump, reports Vanity Fair. "While Bolsonaro has always done what he wants, the presence of a figure like Trump in the world’s most powerful office seems to have emboldened him."
Bolsonaro has sought to burnish a personal relationship with Trump, far beyond the generally good (though distant) diplomatic relationship Brazil maintains with the U.S. regardless of the governing party. That means the U.S. results could have tangible impact for Brazil's foreign relations, reports The Hill.
Fires in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest surged in October and the number of blazes is up 25 percent in the first 10 months of 2020, compared with a year ago, reports Al Jazeera.
Spanish police seized more than 1.2 tonnes of cocaine on a ship carrying corn from Brazil -- just two weeks after their Brazilian counterparts confiscated 1.5 tonnes of the drug from the same vessel, reports the Guardian.
Sixty percent of Brazilian municipalities don't have a woman running for mayor in the upcoming local elections -- Nodal.
An outpouring of emotion followed news that the 47-year-old puppeteer behind Louro José – a 2-foot tall parrot that is a fixture on the country’s most popular morning show – had died, reports the Associated Press.
Cry until you laugh
A Mexican town moved its annual weeping contest online this year -- because 2020 was not the year to cancel a crying competition. (New York Times)
Thanks for reading, even though we're all focused on headlines slightly to the north of Latin America and the Caribbean today... Comments and critiques welcome, always.