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Atlas da Violência -- Brazil's epidemic of homicides mostly affects young, black men (June 6, 2019)
Homicides in Brazil reached a record level in 2017 -- but actual amount of murders is even higher than previously believed. A total of 65,602 people were killed in 2017, according to new report by the government-backed Institute of Applied Economic Research and the non-profit Brazilian Forum for Public Security based on health ministry data. That is the equivalent of more than seven murders every hour. (AFP) The new Atlas of Violence report found that most of the victims were young, black men.
Experts said the report shows the clear risk of loosening gun ownership regulations, as the Bolsonaro administration has already done. (O Globo)
The number of female victims reached a record 4,936, or more than 13 per day, around two-thirds of them black. That is a 20 percent increase over the past decade. Most were killed with fire arms, and in domestic situations. (BBC)
The geographical and demographic distribution of violent deaths in Brazil is becoming increasingly unequal, notes Folha de S. Paulo based on the report. The number of homicides in Brazil grew 2.8 times more in the North and Northeast than the national average between 2007 and 2017. Violence in those states is largely related to rival drug gang battles over drug trafficking routes.
LGBTQ attacks rose significantly: the number of reported murders in the gay community reached 193 in 2017, compared with five in 2011.
#FavelaLivesMatter: an article in the Journal of Illicit Economies and Development shows how Movimentos a collective of young activists from Brazilian favelas discuss alternatives to the current drug policy from the peripheral youth’s standpoint.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro defended national soccer star Neymar, who was accused of raping a woman last month in Paris, an allegation he denies. "I hope to hug Neymar. He is a boy who is in a difficult moment but I believe in him," said Bolsonaro. (Reuters)
Colombia's senate voted almost unanimously in favor of promoting the country's army head, despite an outcry from human rights organizations who question his track-record, reports the Associated Press. (See yesterday's post.) Sixty-four senators voted to make Gen. Nicacio Martínez Espinel a four-star-general yesterday, with one against. The rest of the 108 senators skipped the session in protest, in relation to revelations that earlier this year he ordered troops to increase kill rates, an order that could endanger civilians and human rights protections, reports El País. (See May 20's post.) The case raises concerns of a return to "false positives" killings in which victims of extrajudicial executions were passed of as guerrilla combat deaths. Yesterday El País reported on Martínez Espinel's link to a brigade associated with the most false positives deaths in the mid 2000's. (See yesterday's post.)
Roughly a third of Colombia's former FARC guerrillas have taken up arms again, after a massive demobilization following the 2016 peace agreement with the government. Reuters reports based on a confidential military intelligence report that said there were 31 dissident FARC groups operating in coca growing regions and in areas of illegal gold mining. The estimate of dissident fighters increased by about 30 percent since December.
United Nations human rights experts condemned the recent killing and attempted enforced disappearance of a former FARC guerrilla in Colombia and urged the government to honor security guarantees given in a 2016 Peace Process.
Keeping Venezuela's political opposition united has been "devilishly difficult,” said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a closed door meeting last week. "The moment Maduro leaves, everybody’s going to raise their hands and [say], ‘Take me, I’m the next president of Venezuela.’ It would be forty-plus people who believe they’re the rightful heir to Maduro." (Washington Post)
Russian and Chinese leaders called for political dialogue to settle the crisis in Venezuela and rejected military intervention against Nicolas Maduro’s regime. (EFE) Russian President Vladimir Putin said countries supporting opposition leader Juan Guaidó are "crazy." (EFE)
Increasingly the diplomatic community is seeking negotiated solutions to the Venezuelan crisis, despite ongoing U.S. calls to avoid discussions that involve President Nicolás Maduro, reports Bloomberg.
Guatemala is working with the United States to reduce the flow of migrants through the country. Interior minister Enrique Degenhart said Guatemala will renegotiate a regional open-borders agreement, break up migrant caravans and subject families to DNA testing, reports the Washington Post. The U.S. cut aid to the country, but signed an agreement last week to provide security support to train local migration authorities and tackle human trafficking rings. (See Monday's briefs.)
But crackdowns are unlikely to work, given the extreme poverty that is pushing unauthorized migration from Guatemala. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof reports on how "climate change is aggravating the desperation." (See April 8's post.)
U.S.-Mexico talks on migration made headway yesterday, but U.S. President Donald Trump reiterated threats to impose a blanket tariff on Mexican goods if an agreement is not reached by Monday, reports the Washington Post. The talks yesterday focused more on migration issues than the tariff threat, according to Mexican foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard. They were set to continue today, reports the Guardian. Trump's plan would affect roughly $350 billion in imports with serious implications for both countries' economies, reports the Washington Post separately. (See Tuesday's post.)
Mexico's government is eager to reach a deal, but faces a potential backlash from a public irritated by U.S. "bullying," reports the Washington Post. A newspaper poll found that 57 percent of respondents wanted Mexico to strike back with its own taxes on U.S. goods.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador called for a rally on Saturday to defend Mexican dignity and friendship with the U.S. He promised to outline a Mexican response then too, and said all options are on the table. (Animal Político)
Already there are signs that the Mexican government is cracking down on migration though. Yesterday authorities detained between 350 and 400 migrants traveling in a caravan in Chiapas state, reports Animal Político. Two migrant rights activists -- associated with Pueblo Sin Fronteras -- were detained in Mexico yesterday, and accused of human trafficking, reports Animal Político separately.
Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra won a vote of confidence from the opposition-led Congress, a major victory for his government, reports AFP. Vizcarra's move threatened lawmakers with dissolution of Congress and new legislative elections if they do not address a series of reform bills he has proposed. (See yesterday's briefs.) However yesterday's vote does not automatically mean victory for Vizcarra's anti-corruption reform proposals, which lawmakers could still modify, reports El País. (See also El Comercio and Infobae on the reform proposals.)
Salvadoran prosecutors reached a deal with former president Antonio Saca, who will plead guilty to bribing a judicial official to leak information in a civil case against him. He will face an abbreviated judicial process and be given a two-year prison sentence, substituted by community service. (Associated Press)
Honduras’ total ban on abortion in all circumstances puts women and girls in danger and violates their rights, Human Rights Watch said today. A new web feature, “Life or Death Choices for Women Living Under Honduras’ Abortion Ban,” shares stories of Honduran women confronting the cruel effects of the abortion law. They include a woman forced to bear her rapist’s child; a woman facing jail after having a miscarriage; women who experienced complications from clandestine abortions; a pro-choice pastor who has faced death threats for her activism; a doctor who cannot always act in her patients’ best interests; and women who share information about safe abortion in secret through an anonymous phone line.
The new sanctions "include limits on travel and family remittances aimed at crippling the Cuban economy and causing regime collapse, but the biggest losers are the small entrepreneurs, intellectuals, and artists who have been agents of change on the island," writes William LeoGrande at the AULA Blog.
International Monetary Fund head Christina Lagarde admitted the IMF had underestimated the “incredibly complicated situation” of the Argentine economy and also that taming inflation had taken much longer than originally expected. (Mercopress)
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