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Bolsonaro wants to reduce environmental protection budget (Jan. 26, 2021)
Brazil's government is proposing the smallest budget for environmental protection in at least 13 years -- despite record levels of Amazon deforestation last year. (Reuters)
Two top Brazilian indigenous leaders have asked the International Criminal Court to investigate President Jair Bolsonaro for "crimes against humanity." Chief Raoni Metuktire, the leader of the Kayapo people, and Chief Almir Narayamoga Surui, leader of the Paiter Surui tribe accused Bolsonaro of unprecedented environmental damage, killings and persecution. (AFP)
Several big European financial institutions — BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse and ING — have committed to halting the financing of the trade of oil from the Amazon region of Ecuador. The three banks are collectively responsible for $5.5 billion in Ecuadorian Amazon oil financing since 2009, reports Al Jazeera.
The Venezuelan government is cracking down with increasing force against organizations of civil society -- like the arrest earlier this month of five members of Azul Positivo, a humanitarian organization that works with vulnerable populations in Zulia state, including people who are HIV positive. But the international community has been timid in the face of Chavismo's criminalization of solidarity, writes Alberto Barrera Tyszka in a New York Times Español op-ed. (See yesterday's briefs.) Earlier this month A group of international rights organizations -- including WOLA, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International -- denounced "recent campaigns of stigmatization, harassment, and repression against the media in Venezuela. (See Jan. 15's briefs.)
Venezuelan political opposition leader Juan Guaidó is a “privileged interlocutor” but no longer considered interim president, European Union states said yesterday, sticking to their decision to downgrade his status after his term as lawmaker ended earlier this month. (Reuters)
The European Union called for broad political talks in Venezuela to set up new elections, and warned that it would sanction senior Venezuelan officials if they undermine democracy or take part in human rights violations. (Associated Press)
Venezuela's Navy detained 12 Guyanese fishermen last week. The two boats were off Guyana's coast, a territory Venezuela has unilaterally claimed. (Stabroek News, see Venezuela Weekly and last week's Caribbean News Updates for more on the territorial controversy.)
The U.S. Biden administration will review existing economic sanctions for possible relief to help with the global response in combating the coronavirus pandemic. (Wall Street Journal)
Pandemic devastation in the region is increasing hostility towards the millions of Venezuelans who fled their country's humanitarian crisis in recent years. Peru, Ecuador and Colombia have seen the biggest deterioration in attitudes toward migrants, reports Bloomberg.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been criticized throughout the pandemic for his lackadaisical approach to Covid-19 -- even as the country is among the worst hit in the world, reports the Guardian.
For many, it was only a matter of time until AMLO caught coronavirus, as he has serially flouted basic safety precautions. But many Mexicans struggling with Covid-19 are concerned that AMLO -- who is receiving top-notch medical care -- will continue to downplay the pandemic's significance if he recovers, reports the New York Times. (See yesterday's briefs.)
Mexico's approach to coronavirus restrictions lacked clear messaging to convince people to obey restrictions, which were not enforced with coercive measures, reports the Washington Post.
There is abundant evidence that Emilio Lozoya benefited from significant corruption during his tenure as a close advisor to former Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto. The former head of Pemex amassed $36 millones in a Swiss bank account in the two years after he joined Peña Nieto's presidential campaign in 2012. But Mexico's attorney general seems uninterested in pursuing the case against Lozoya, who was arrested in February 2020. Instead Mexican prosecutors are focused on obtaining information that will incriminate bigger fish, even if it means letting Lozoya off the hook, writes Raúl Olmos of Mexicanos contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad in the Post Opinión.
Mexican authorities are attempting to identify 19 charred corpses found in two burning vehicles in the town of Camargo, an area that has seen violent territorial disputes between organized crime groups in recent years. All the victims had been shot, but shells were not found at the site, leading investigators to believe they were killed somewhere else, reports the Associated Press.
Mexico's national homicide rate went down marginally last year, but the numbers for the past three years remain higher than in previous years. And at the state level, Zacatecas, Sonora and Guanajuato are among the most violent in the country and saw saw large increases in homicides last year, according to the Latin America Risk Report.
Colombia’s FARC political party has renamed itself the Common People’s Party (Comunes for short), a rebranding attempt aimed at distancing itself from the acronym associated with the now disbanded guerrilla force, reports Al Jazeera.
Makers of a traditional Colombian sweetener -- panela -- say a major sugar engineer is trying to patent the popular product. The New York Times covers that, and also an in-depth on the history of panela.
Argentina's new legal abortion law went into force on Sunday. National government officials and women's rights activists are watching closely to see that the groundbreaking legislation is effectively implemented on the ground, reports the Associated Press. The law’s supporters expect backlash in Argentina’s conservative provinces.
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