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Aldana's candidacy confirmed (March 20, 2019)
A Guatemalan judge issued an arrest warrant for presidential candidate, former attorney general Thelma Aldana. Aldana, known for her anti-corruption work, said the charges -- that she illegally hired a Supreme Court judge to train prosecutors -- are trumped up and politically motivated. (El País and BBC)
Experts and activists say the political establishment is seeking to shield itself from investigations into corruption that could accompany an Aldana presidency. (El País) Reuters characterized the accusations as part of "an escalating campaign against people and institutions involved in high-profile corruption and rights cases."
However, Guatemala's electoral authority, the TSE, inscribed Aldana as an official candidate this week, granting her protection from detention unless the Supreme Court authorizes it, reports Nómada. The arrest warrant was issued before the TSE inscription, but as Aldana is in El Salvador at the moment, she was not formally notified of the latter until after the inscription. (Nómada has a deep dive into the legal reasons.)
A previous accusation against Aldana involves the hiring of a Washington-based consultant at a high price with questionable results. (See Monday's briefs.) Aldana is leading in polls, along with UNE candidate Sandra Torres.
The team of U.S. mercenaries arrested in Port-au-Prince were part of a plot by President Jovenel Moïse to consolidate political power by moving $80 million in Petrocaribe funds to a bank account under his control, according to an investigation by The Intercept. Haitian participants in the plan were reportedly promised a nationwide telecom contract in exchange for their help. (See March 14's briefs on a CEPR report on the same issue.)
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is in Haiti today, where he will urge dialogue between the embattled government and opposition parties calling for Moïse's resignation, reports the Miami Herald. (See yesterday's briefs.)
The retired police officer accused of shooting Marielle Franco researched leading human rights activists and academics in the year before the killing, reports Estadao. Lawmaker Marcelo Freixo and sociologist Julita Lemgruber were among the names he sought information on.
Brazilian prosecutors charged a retired army major who allegedly led a massacre of dozens of leftist guerrillas during the country’s military dictatorship, reports the Associated Press.
Gang members in Rio de Janeiro state opened fire on a convoy of trucks carrying nuclear fuel, raising concerns over nuclear security in the midst of the state's violent crime situation, reports the Guardian.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is seriously threatening indigenous rights and environmental protections writes New York Times editorial board member Carol Giacomo in a piece focused on indigenous leader Sônia Guajajara.
U.S. President Donald Trump met with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro yesterday, and said he intended to designate Brazil as a major non-NATO ally. The move would deepen the U.S.’s military ties to the country, reports the Wall Street Journal. Trump also floated the possibility of Brazil joining NATO, which the WSJ said was unlikely to happen. (See also Los Angeles Times and Guardian)
Trump again reiterated that "all options are on the table" when it comes to the Venezuela crisis. Bolsonaro refused to rule out supporting a potential U.S. intervention. (EFE)
Trump will meet with Caribbean leaders Friday to discuss Chinese “predatory economic practices” and the Venezuela crisis. The leaders of the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and Saint Lucia are expected to attend the meeting. Security cooperation and the potential opportunities for energy investment will also be on the agenda, reports Reuters.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador met with U.S. White House adviser Jared Kushner yesterday. They discussed migration and trade issues. (Reuters)
A drone attack against President Nicolás Maduro last year was carried out by a group of army defectors reports CNN. They used a retail drone, purchased online, and armed with military grade explosives by hand. (See post for Aug. 6, 2018.)
Venezuela's opposition-led National Assembly promised army defectors that they will be reinstated and keep their rank when "constitutional order" is restored. It's the latest attempt to woo the military which has largely stayed loyal to Maduro. (AFP)
U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s state-owned gold-mining company and the company’s president. Trump promised that stronger measures could follow: "We haven’t really done the tough sanctions yet." (Wall Street Journal, Miami Herald and Miami Herald)
High level talks between the U.S. and Russia on Venezuela ended without agreement over who is the country's legitimate ruler. (Reuters)
Venezuelan authorities have retaliated against doctors who speak out about the country's collapsed health care system, reports the Miami Herald.
U.S. Senator Tim Kaine returned from a trip to the Colombia-Venezuela border and said there was no signs of a U.S. plan to invade Venezuela. (U.S. News and World Report)
Carlos Sandoval has a poetic and devastating account of Caracas during the massive blackout in New York Times Español.
The Argentine government asked the country's judiciary council to investigate a judge who is looking into allegations of surveillance and extortion that could implicate government allies. The case undermines judicial independence said Human Rights Watch. Federal investigative Judge Alejo Ramos Padilla testified before a Congressional commission last week about an ongoing investigation into allegations that intelligence agents carried out illegal operations. The government accuses him of acting with partiality and with political motivation. Padilla's investigation implicates federal prosecutor Carlos Stornelli, who is investigating former president and current presidential candidate, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. "...The government has not provided any convincing reason to investigate Ramos Padilla," said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. "Instead, it appears to be retaliating against a judge who is pursuing an uncomfortable investigation."(Página 12, La Nación, Perfíl)
Argentine President Mauricio Macri and Fernández lead in polls for Argentina's October presidential elections -- they are each favored by political polarization that strengthens their positions against each other. But either could be beat by a third-alternative candidate in a run-off, according to a new poll that gives a glimpse into this year's complicated electoral chess game. (BA Times)
Panama's presidential elections will be May 5. Center-left candidate Laurentino Cortizo is running on an anti-corruption platform and is likely to win, according to Latin America Risk Report's election preview.
Chile’s Supreme Court canceled a lower court order to close the Chilean side of Barrick Gold Corp’s stalled Pasqua Lama project. (Reuters)
Former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo was arrested in California on suspicion of public intoxication. Toledo, who is wanted in Peru on corruption charges -- he is accused of taking $20 million in bribes -- spent the night in jail, reports the Associated Press.
Cien Años de Soledad
Adapting Gabriel García Marquez's seminal work to the screen has many complications, not the least of which is the lack of dialogue in the original novel. But though the author famously opposed attempts to adapt One Hundred Years of Solitude to movie format, Netflix series provide a unique and adequate vehicle, writes Álvaro Santana-Acuña in a New York Times Español op-ed.