Bolsonaro allegedly linked to Franco's killers (Oct. 30, 2019)
A witness has linked Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to Rio de Janeiro councillor Marielle Franco's alleged assassins. The investigation found that one of the suspected killers visited the other, hours before the March 2018 killing, in a Rio condo complex where then-lawmaker Jair Bolsonaro lived as well. A doorman alleges the killer in fact visited Bolsonaro. Official records show Bolsonaro was in session in Brasilia at the time.
The president lashed out in a fiery social media address yesterday in which he denied the allegation and accused the media and rival politicians of trying to undermine his government. “You rascals … you scumbags! This will not stick!” he said.
Though government officials sought to portray the report as a destabilizing attack aimed at causing protests like those elsewhere in the region, analysts say the allegations could cause trouble for Bolsonaro and could force the Franco investigation to the Supreme Court.
(Globo, Guardian, Washington Post, Rio Times)
Brutal violence in Rio de Janeiro is partially fueled by police attempts to control drug traffickers with heavy-handed tactics that have been proven to backfire, instead of focusing on social welfare policies that have worked elsewhere, writes Maurício Santoro in a New York Times op-ed.
Amazon fires decreased by 34 percent between August and September, a reduction that seems to correlate with a fire ban enacted at the end of August by Bolsonaro, according to the World Resources Institute. That ban was scheduled to end on Monday, though Brazil’s fire season can continue into November ...
Chile cancelled two prominent international conferences it was set to host in November and December -- Apec and the COP25. The announcement was made this morning in the midst of ongoing protests and riots. (Guardian)
Thousands of Chilean protesters demonstrated in Santiago yesterday -- the 12th day of demonstrations. Attempts to march to La Moneda, the presidential palace, were frustrated by police barricades. Many protesters are now demanding a new constitution. (Associated Press)
Indeed, Chile's institutional architecture -- governed by a dictatorship-era constitution -- presents significant obstacles to reform and marginalizes citizens from policy-making, argue Rodrigo Espinoza Troncoso and Michael Wilson Becerril in the Washington Post. "For now, the government has three alternatives: maintain repression, yield to constitutional change, or submit its resignation."
President Sebastián Piñera's newly appointed spokesperson, Karla Rubilar, said the first step is citizen forums (cabildos ciudadanos), but, unlike other government officials, she did not dismiss the possibility of a new constitution. (El Mostrador)
Underlying the inequality that has pushed people onto the streets is the privatized social protection systems that are also a dictatorship era legacy. 300 civil society leaders signed a letter demanding structural reform, but carrying it out will require a broad social pact, writes Kirsten Sehnbruch in the Guardian.
Feminist groups say 13 women have been missing (desaparecidas) since protests started on Friday 18. (Página 12)
A "solidarity conference" -- co-hosted by the EU, the UNHCR and the IOM -- has raised around $133 million in fresh money to help Venezuelans fleeing their crisis-wracked country, and in particular to assist neighboring communities struggling to host them, the European Union announced on Oct. 29. (Associated Press) The refugee wave in Latin America sparked by Venezuela's implosion will get worse next year, aggravating a regional crisis said Eduardo Stein, the special representative for the UN's refugee and migration agencies. (AFP) An estimated 4.5 million Venezuelan refugees have fled their country in recent years, and most are living South American countries. (El País)
The Honduran government blames criminal organizations for the assassination of a jailed alleged drug trafficker, while the victim's lawyer has suggested the government might be responsible. Nery Orlando López Sanabria was savagely killed on Saturday (see Monday's briefs) and was the carrier of secret ledgers implicating former lawmaker Tony Hernández of drug trafficking and containing the initials of his brother, President Juan Orlando Hernández, who is known throughout Honduras as JOH. (Associated Press)
A Cauca indigenous leader and five members of her community were assassinated yesterday in Colombia. Authorities blamed a small armed group (known as GAO). Human rights defenders say that the area has weak state presence, and the indigenous guard has become communities' best defense against illicit armed groups. (El País)
Colombia's leftist Alianza Verde garnered significant gains in local elections around Colombia on Sunday -- candidate Claudia López won Bogotá's mayorship, but the party also won important seats in Cali and Cúcuta, reports La Silla Vacía. Uribismo showed a significant decline in votes, on the other hand. (More from La Silla Vacía)
But the Left's largest victory in Sunday's elections came in the former paramilitary stronghold of Magdalena, where a growing progressive movement has taken control of both the capital city and governorship for the first time, according to Nacla.
There were other success stories for female candidates around the country -- in the traditionally conservative localities of Boyacá and Cauca, indigenous women won mayoral seats as well -- but 070 looks at how the gender agenda in local politics still has a long way to go.
Violent clashes between protesters and security forces continued in Bolivia yesterday, mainly in the cities of La Paz and Santa Cruz where demonstrators reject election results that grant President Evo Morales a fourth term in office. (La Razón) In La Paz, opposition protesters mounted road barricades of rope, wooden boards and sheets of metal. Rows of helmet-clad riot police lined some streets, separating Morales’ supporters from protesters opposed to the president. Tear gas was used in at least two locations to disperse protesters, reports Reuters.
The OAS will begin an audit of election results tomorrow, and the report resulting from the review would be "binding" for all parties, reports Reuters.
"But with the country divided almost right down the middle, no matter who eventually takes office will likely face the kind of social unrest that Bolivia hasn’t experienced since Morales took office in 2005," writes Linda Farthing in Americas Quarterly.
Runner-up, former president Carlos Mesa, is encouraging protests in demand for a run-off. Interestingly, Mesa himself was forced out of office in 2005 by demonstrations that Morales played a leading role in, notes the Wall Street Journal.
Hundreds of Panamanians protested against proposed constitutional reforms yesterday, the third straight day of demonstrations against changes that would increase Congress' power. Police used pepper spray yesterday to disperse a group that tried to storm Congress, and lawmakers suspended a session until today. (Associated Press, Estrella de Panama)
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has argued for a break with his predecessors' "war on drugs" security strategy. But the Culiacán shoot-out earlier this month, that killed eight people, is essentially the continuation of the failed kingpin strategy, writes José Luis Pardo Veiras in Post Opinón.
A contrarian viewpoint in the Wall Street Journal argues that Mexico's problem is overly strict gun regulation, and that official statistics showing that most illicit weapons in the country come from the U.S. are misleading.
"Freelance journalists are at the center of covering many of the most important news stories in Latin America but face increasing threats to their security and well-being," writes Bill Gentile at the AULA blog.
The potential influence -- or control -- vice-president-elect Cristina Fernández de Kirchner will exert on Argentina's incoming administration is the subject of significant speculation, writes Hugo Alconada Mon in the Post Opinión. Argentine president-elect Alberto Fernández has taken pains to show independence from his running mate and former boss. His strategy moving forward -- particularly when it comes to naming a cabinet -- will involve playing off diverse elements of his coalition to ensure that no faction becomes dominant, he argues.
Fernández's only child is Estanislao Fernández, a prominent drag queen with a significant social media profile featuring elaborate transformations. The new president-elect has said he is proud of his son's creativity and activism. (El País)
Dyhzy, as he is known on social media, was a non-issue during the campaign (though he criticized his father's staid ties). But now Brazilian lawmaker Eduardo Bolsonaro, Jair's son, has picked a fight, posting an image of the younger Fernández dressed up as Pikachu alongside an image of himself toting a high-caliber gun and sporting a shirt of a dog defecating. "Son of Argentina's president/Son of Brazil's president" reads the caption. Yes. For real. (La Nación)
Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take? Let me know ...
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