Discover more from Latin America Daily Briefing
Assassination plot against Arévalo
Aug. 25, 2023
Reports have emerged of a possible conspiracy to kill Guatemalan president-elect Bernardo Arévalo. The Organization of American States’ human rights commission asked, yesterday, that Guatemala provide protection to Arévalo and vice presdient-elect Karin Herrera in response to the reports. (Soy 502 and Soy 502)
In a statement, the commission said the threats include two plots against the politicians' lives. The Giammattei government in Guatemala said it had coordinated additional security with Arévalo and Herrera after alerting them to threats, and submitted reports to the IACHR. (Soy 502) The government called on the IACHR to be "prudent,” reports Reuters.
Security concerns related to the conspiracies, which Arévalo’s team was made aware of as early as July, played a role in limiting the president-elect’s exposure in post electoral celebrations, reports El País.
The commission questioned Guatemala’s Giammattei administration for not responding immediately to news of the conspiracies, one of which allegedly included security agents, reports Plaza Pública.
“At least thee sources within the government that are considered highly reliable have warned about the existence of a plot codenamed ‘Colosio,’” the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights said, an apparent reference to the 1994 assassination in Mexico of ruling-party presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio.
The IACHR noted in its report that Arévalo has been subject to surveillance, slander campaigns and death threats, which increased after his surprise second-place finish in Guatemala’s June 25 general elections. (Prensa Libre) The report also details judicial harassment of Arévalo after the election and efforts to prevent Movimiento Semilla from participating in the election. (Soy 502)
Arévalo will have to “govern with a majority opposition Congress whose parties also dominate the judiciary, and his ministers must lead a civil service undermined by 12 years of corruption and incompetence. His assets include his and Semilla’s reputation for honesty, his negotiating ability, his popular support and renewed citizen belief in change, emerging divisions within the corruption mafias and international support, especially by the United States,” writes Stephen McFarland, former U.S. ambassador to Guatemala in the Latin America Advisor.
Movimiento Semilla’s victory in Guatemala, a grassroots movement that was not expected to win, “carries lessons for democratic opposition movements in “free but unfair” elections all over the world,” Salvadoran political scientist Manuel Meléndez Sánchez told Foreign Policy, pointing to elections next year in El Salvador and Venezuela.
Iran’s inclusion in the group consolidates its potential as an anti-West alliance led by Russia and China. “This is bound to have significant implications for Brazil and Argentina (as well as India and South Africa) as they attempt to position themselves as neutral or “non-aligned” actors as tensions grow between the West on the one side and the Sino-Russian bloc on the other,” writes Stuenkel. (Americas Quarterly)
A year into President Gustavo Petro’s “Total Peace” plan, “Colombia's main criminal groups have expanded their territorial control, enhanced their power of recruitment, and diversified their income. All of this has increased the number of clashes between them and generated a worrying humanitarian climate,” reports InSight Crime based on a new report by Fundación Ideas para la Paz.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio is calling on the U.S. Biden administration to reject Colombia’s request for extradition of Salvatore Mancuso, former warlord after he was named a peace envoy in the South American nation. (Associated Press)
Brazil’s Supreme Court ruled that homophobic hate speech is legally equivalent to racist hate speech, and is punishable with jail time. Justice Edson Fachin, the lead judge on the case, said in his ruling it was a "constitutional imperative" to give LGBTQ+ citizens equal protection under the law. (AFP, Pink News)
Brazil’s attorney general’s office released a legal opinion that paves the way the Lula administration to move forward with oil exploration in the region of the mouth of the Amazon river. (Folha de S. Paulo)
New York Times profiles Jair Candor, “perhaps the most accomplished tracer of isolated tribes in Brazil, one of a waning number hired by the Brazilian government” to prove these people exist and protect the forest they live in.
Heading into the general elections, ultra-right, libertarian presidential candidate Javier Milei has sought to moderate his most controversial proposals — which apparently the public, media and experts simply failed to understand. Lucía Quispe of Deconstrucción Mediática unpacks Milei’s gaslighting communication strategies in Página 12.
Milei’s surprise victory in Argentina’s primaries — an indicator of popularity ahead of the general election in October — set off an all-too familiar cycle of devaluation and inflation in the country, reports the Washington Post.
Opposition congresses have often played pivotal roles in the evolution of Latin American democracies,” writes Jeffery Allen Tobin in Global Americans. But can also “lead to deep-seated political polarization as well as mistrust from the public if corruption takes hold.”
El Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele’s iron fist security policies are popular, but “the consequences are democratic backsliding and erosion of the rule of law,” reports El País.
“The company operating the medical ward where an 8-year-old girl died while in U.S. border custody in May was not approved for a new contract last year but remains on the job because U.S. Customs and Border Protection has failed to hire a replacement,” reports the Washington Post.
Low water levels at the Panama Canal — linked to El Niño and climate change — have led traffic jams and travel restrictions in one of the world’s most important trade arteries, reports the Washington Post.
Mexico’s opposition presidential candidate Xóchitl Gálvez “is by turns funny, profane and inspiring,” writes David Ignatius in an admiring Washington Post column.
“The Afro-Brazilian artist Emanoel Araújo is considered a giant in his home country. A museum he founded is working to preserve his legacy.” — New York Times