Sarah Nielsen contributed to today’s feature.
Last night, videos circulated online of a man with a gun at point-blank range of Argentine vice president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner as she was returning to her home in Recoleta. The gun was allegedly loaded but failed to fire for reasons still unknown, reports El País. The shooter, a 35-year old Brazilian with an Argentine ID, was apprehended at the scene. He had a previous criminal record and alleged ties to Nazi organizations operating in the country, according to Ámbito. As La Nación writes, he had also appeared on Crónica TV twice in the past couple of weeks, expressing discontent at the country’s social programs and acceptance of foreigners into the country.
The attack occurred as Kirchner was surrounded by her supporters outside her home, protesting a request from a federal prosecutor to jail the vice president for 12 years for alleged corruption charges (see 8/23/22 LADB). Argentine President Alberto Fernández (no relation to Cristina) in a televised speech called the attack “the gravest episode of political violence since the return of democracy in our country” in the 1980s.
There were instant condemnations of the violence and messages of support without qualifiers from the opposition. Former president Mauricio Macri, Buenos Aires city mayor Horacio Rodriguez Larreta, and former Buenos Aires province governor/current congresswoman Maria Eugenia Vidal all sent out unconditional messages that violence is not the answer. As CBS reports, international leaders were also quick to express their support for the vice president and condemnation of the attack, including the US Ambassador to Argentina, the Secretary General of the OAS, and various regional presidents such as Luis Arce, Gabriel Boric, and Pedro Castillo. Nicolás Maduro, Lula da Silva, and Evo Morales were also quick to repudiate the violence. As of this writing, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has yet to release a statement or express support.
Deposits of dollars in Argentine banks reached their lowest point since Martín Guzmán’s resignation as Minister of the Economy in early June, reports Clarín. Argentines are instead preferring to save their dollars in Uruguayan bank accounts.
A new Datafolha poll, conducted following last week’s Jornal Nacional interviews and presidential debate, shows Lula with 45% voter intention ahead of Brazil’s presidential election first round on October 2. Bolsonaro has 32%, followed by Ciro Gomes (9%) and Simone Tebet (5%), notes Folha.
“In a private meeting on Wednesday, Brazil’s elections chief and the country’s defense minister agreed to explore changes to security tests of the voting machines that the armed forces have sought for months,” reports The New York Times. The Supreme Electoral Court has also just implemented a new policy to prohibit the carrying of arms near voting centers
In Responsible Statecraft, Nick Cleveland-Stout outlines potential areas of conflict and collaboration between the US and Brazil in the event of a Lula presidential win.
If elected, Lula aims to build an international alliance with Indonesia and the DR Congo to protect tropical rainforests, reports Reuters. “More fires burned in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest this August than in any month in nearly five years, thanks to a surge in illegal deforestation,” notes AP, while Mongabay explores the spread of environmental crimes to almost all of Brazil’s 27 states.
Chile’s constitutional plebiscite will be voted on Sunday. Polls show a divided country, with “Reject” receiving slightly more support than “Approve.” If passed, the new constitution would be among the world’s most progressive, including providing a host of new rights for the country’s Indigenous peoples. (CNN, NYT)
Angélica Bernal Olarte explores in El Espectador the Petro administration’s feminist agenda, addressing policy proposals, feasibility, and challenges.
The use of “agroecology,” a farming practice that mixes indigenous practices with methods to combat the effects of climate change on crops, has been growing in Guatemala, reports The Economist.
One of Guatemala’s main tourist destinations, Santiago Atitlán, has seen a rare increase in migration from locals heading to the US, writes Progressive.
“A Guatemalan anti-corruption prosecutor has been locked up for six months in conditions “bordering on torture”, as the country’s ruling elite pursues a strategy to purge the justice system and derail corruption investigations against their allies,” according to The Guardian.
Mexico’s opposition must unify and “emphasize connecting with voters” to best compete in upcoming elections, writes Vanessa Rubio in Americas Quarterly.
“García’s case underscores what critics say is one of the worst flaws in Mexico’s justice system: the prolonged detention of thousands of people behind bars, many of them innocent… But a series of court challenges seems poised to change the pretrial detention process in Mexico, fueled by media attention of García’s case and international pressure,” reports Vice.
Colombian President Gustavo Petro has named retired general Jorge Maldonado as director of Migración Colombia, reports WRadio. (See yesterday’s LADB)
Amid impeachment efforts and corruption cases against President Castillo, and in spite of signing the Los Angeles Declaration on migration, Peru has just expanded the reasons to be able to deport migrants. “This is not the first time this year that Venezuelan migrants have been used to distract from political crises in the region,” write Olivia Woldemikael and Julio César Daly at Caracas Chronicles.
“The Ortega regime has imposed a “starvation diet” against the political prisoners locked up in the Managua jail known as El Chipote,” reports Confidencial.
The US will return to Peru nearly $700,000 seized in bribes sent by Odebrecht to former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo, reports Reuters.
“With substantial increases in mean annual temperatures and extreme heat locked in, Latin American cities offer a glimpse of the future. Rio de Janeiro’s coastal favelas are doubly menaced by rising seas and soaring temperatures, while Mexico City is sinking as the groundwater dries beneath,” write Robert Muggah and Mac Margolis in World Economic Forum, explaining that some Latin American cities are leading the way on fighting climate change.
Ryan Berg and Wazim Mowla in The Diplomat explore Taiwan’s future in the Americas.
“US pressure of this type can only go so far and these limits will surely become more apparent as time wears on. The current crop of leaders in the region may bow to certain pressure, but is not interested in appeasing the US. Convincing countries with sticks rather than carrots is not going to make for a particularly successful long term relationship,” writes James Bosworth at the Latin America Risk Report, additionally covering the paradox of the consolidated, yet also dispersed, organized crime environment in Mexico and the repression of the Ortega government in Nicaragua.
Worth noting editorials from WP and FT against the Chilean referendum...: