Bolsonaro ally fires at police
Oct. 24, 2022
Former Brazilian lawmaker Roberto Jefferson fired a rifle at police and threw grenades, wounding two federal police officers, while resisting arrest in Rio de Janeiro state, yesterday.
Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes had ordered that Jefferson be taken to jail for making threats against the court’s justices. Jefferson, an ally of President Jair Bolsonaro, was already under investigation and house arrest for his alleged involvement in producing fake news. Moraes said Jefferson’s actions – most recently using social media to attack Supreme Court Justice Carmen Lucia, calling her a "witch" and a "prostitute" – violated the terms of his house arrest, and ordered he be returned to prison. (Associated Press)
Bolsonaro immediately condemned the armed attack and distanced himself from the former legislator, calling him a "bandit,” reports AFP. “There’s not a single picture of him and me,” Brazil’s president said. His opponents promptly posted several pictures of the two together on social media.
The President condemned the statements made by Jefferson against the Supreme Court justice, but also repudiated the court’s investigations of Jefferson, which he believes are being carried out "without any support in the Constitution."
Earlier this year, the Supreme Court convicted the lawmaker Daniel Silveira for inciting physical attacks on the court’s justices and other authorities. Bolsonaro quickly issued a pardon for Silveira, who appeared beside the president after he cast his vote on Oct. 2, reports the Guardian.
Police said Jefferson was finally taken into custody in the evening, "after an intense negotiation."
New regulations passed by Brazil’s Supreme Electoral Court last week grants the tribunal’s chief, Justice Alexandre de Moraes, unilateral power to order tech companies to remove many online posts and videos. It is”one of the most aggressive actions taken by any country to combat false information,” reports the New York Times.
The move was celebrated by Brazilians concerned by the avalanche of fake-news in the midst of a polarized election, but raised concerns from many internet-law and civil-rights experts, who said it represented a potentially dangerous, authoritarian expansion of power. (New York Times)
Bolsonaro’s allies in Brazil’s lower chamber of congress have fast-tracked a bill that would criminalize publishing an electoral poll that is later shown to fall outside its margin of error, after polls significantly underestimated support for Bolsonaro’s reelection bid in the Oct. 2 election. Brazil’s justice minister also ordered the federal police to open an investigation into polling firms over their surveys before the first election round, reports the New York Times.
Baseless allegations that electronic voting machines are being used to rig Brazil’s elections are circulating online and in far-right media in the U.S. — “the latest example of how debunked election fraud narratives are going international,” reports NPR.
Bolsonaro has been spending profligately ahead of the Oct. 30 second-round, and the measures seem to be paying off in terms of support, though not among Brazil’s poorest voters, reports Bloomberg.
The frontrunner for Sāo Paulo’s gubernatorial runoff, far-right candidate Tarcísio de Freitas, favors removing police body cameras, despite the significant positive impact the two-year-old policy has had, reports the Guardian.
A man suspected of involvement in the killing of the British journalist Dom Phillips and the Brazilian Indigenous activist Bruno Pereira was released from jail on Friday, reports the Guardian.
The U.S. Biden administration increased pressure on Nicaragua’s Ortega government, with new regulations that ban U.S. citizens from doing business in the nation’s gold industry, threatening trade restrictions and stripping the U.S. visas of some 500 government insiders, reports the Associated Press.
The move could be the first in a series of broader economic measures against the authoritarian government, a path the Biden administration has been reluctant to take for fear of worsening conditions for Nicaraguans and pushing more migration, according to the Associated Press.
Human Rights Watch called on Colombia’s government to maintain “a strong focus on helping to address the human rights and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela,” after Colombia and Venezuela reestablished diplomatic relations. “In its discussions with the Maduro government, Colombia should prioritize obtaining concrete human rights commitments from Venezuelan authorities; supporting access of humanitarian assistance; reestablishing the rule of law; ending Venezuelan security forces’ complicity with the National Liberation Army (ELN); and addressing violence, abuse, and human trafficking at the border.”
The U.S. has pushed Mexico not to buy Chinese scanning equipment for its border checkpoints, concerned that the purchases would give China access to troves of information about goods entering the United States, reports the Washington Post.
Illegal border crossings from Mexico to the U.S. hit an all-time high in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. Migrants were stopped 2.38 million times, up 37% from 1.73 million times the year before, according to new figures from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. The numbers were pushed by a surge in migration from Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua in September, reports the Associated Press.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador promised to “fight deeply ingrained corruption and eradicate persistent poverty. But in the name of his agenda, López Obrador has removed checks and balances, weakened autonomous institutions, and seized discretionary control of the budget,” writes Denise Dresser in Foreign Affairs. She argues that his “personalistic style of governing is a form of democratic backsliding.”
At least two people were killed by Hurricane Roslyn in Mexico yesterday. In affected areas of Nayarit state officials said some 90 percent of residents were displaced in shelters or staying with relatives in higher areas. (New York Times)
More than 800 people were evacuated after a fuel tanker crashed into a railway overpass in Mexico’s Aguascalientes, causing an enormous conflagration, Friday. (Reuters)
One person died in clashes between Bolivian government supporters and protesters who want the 2024 national census brought forward by a year. (AFP)
Arturo Murillo, the former interior minister of Bolivia’s de facto Áñez government, pleaded guilty in the U.S. to conspiracy to launder bribes, last week. (Associated Press)
Viengsay Valdés recently took over as director of Cuba’s national ballet company, a change that marks a generational shift amid significant challenges afflicting the island, reports the Guardian.
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