Boric criticizes Peruvian repression
Jan. 25, 2023
The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States' summit concluded yesterday, with a call for increased international funding for a region hit by economic and climate crises. The Buenos Aires declaration also stressed the importance of democracy across the region, expressed support for negotiations between the Venezuelan government and its opposition, and demanded the United States lift its blockade on Cuba. (Reuters)
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was voted to take over CELAC's rotating presidency for 2023.
The 33 countries represented in the CELAC welcomed the return of Brazil, under the leadership of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, one of the organization’s original founders.
"Brazil is back in the region and ready to work side-by-side with you with a very strong feeling of solidarity and closeness," Lula told the leaders gathered in Buenos Aires. He spoke of the "multiple crises" affecting the world -- from the pandemic to climate change, geopolitical tensions, food insecurities and threats to democracy. "All this happens in the midst of an unacceptable rise in inequality, poverty and hunger," said Lula. (El País, AFP)
But the gathering also showcased divergences over regional integration and politics. Chilean President Gabriel Boric criticized state repression of protesters in Peru, where more than 50 people have died in clashes with security ”(El País, AFP)
But the gathering also showcased divergences over regional integration and politics. Chilean President Gabriel Boric criticized state repression of protesters in Peru, where more than 50 people have died in clashes with security forces. "We cannot be indifferent when today in our sister Republic of Peru, with the government under the command of Dina Boluarte, people who go out to march, to demand what they consider fair, end up shot by whoever should defend them,” said Boric. (Ámbito) Boric also called on Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega to free political prisoners.
Boric also called for the CELAC to discuss regional approaches to migration and organized crime. (El Mostrador)
Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou called for regional economic integration, and proposed a free-trade area from Mexico to South America, and defended his country’s ongoing free-trade negotiation with China — a challenge to the Mercosur bloc. (El País) He also called attention to the region’s authoritarian governments, marking that "there are countries here that respect neither democracy nor institutions nor human rights."
And Colombian President Gustavo Petro argued for regional projects in response to the climate crisis.
Argentine President Alberto Fernández will meet today with his counterparts from Cuba, Haiti and Honduras, Miguel Díaz-Canel, Ariel Henry and Xiomara Castro, as well as U.S. Special Presidential Advisor for the Americas Christopher Dodd. (Ámbito)
Latin America was the deadliest region in the world for reporters last year. There were 67 killings reported for 2022 around the world — the most deaths in five years — and nearly half of those took place in the region, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists’ annual report. (New York Times)
Guatemala’s elections this year — including presidential — “are crucial for Guatemala’s fragile democracy and will take place in a context of deterioration of the rule of law, where the institutions charged with overseeing the elections have little independence or credibility,” according to Human Rights Watch and the WOLA.
El Salvador’s powerful street gangs are being displaced by the government’s heavy-handed crackdown on criminal groups — but their reign of terror is being replaced by “a much more efficient criminal form, more organized and with superior war power: the state mafia under the command of President Nayib Bukele,” writes Juan Martínez d’Aubuisson in the Post Opinión.
Honduran lawmakers will begin choosing the 15 members of a new Supreme Court today. President Xiomara Castro has a slim majority in Congress, but will need to pact with other parties to select members, reports the Associated Press.
Lawmakers will select the new judges from a list of 45 candidates selected by a nominating committee whose work has been well-received by observers. (Proceso)
The vote will be a key test for the Castro’s government’s commitment to improving rule of law. Analysts expect a power distribution agreement that would give the ruling LIBRE party eight seats, and distribute the remaining positions among the two main opposition parties, Partido Nacional and Partido Liberal. But such a deal would replicate biased judicial structures from previous administrations, and civil society groups have pushed for a more politically independent court. (Proceso)
A record number of activists and social leaders were killed last year in Colombia 215 people were murdered, up from 145 in 2021, according to the country’s human rights ombudsman. (Al Jazeera)
Neither Canada nor the United States showed any interest in deploying an international mission to Haiti at yesterday’s U.N. Security Council meeting, despite renewed appeals from the United Nations to help staunch the country’s increasingly acute humanitarian crisis. (Associated Press)
The U.N. special envoy for Haiti, Helen La Lime, painted a desperate picture of spiraling gang warfare in a country without a single elected official. (Associated Press)
Caribbean leaders are calling on the U.S. to rein in arms trafficking, as American-made guns continue to be Caribbean gangs' primary source of weapons, reports InSight Crime. (See last week’s Just Caribbean Updates.)
William LeoGrande outlines strategies the U.S. could implement to aid Cuba’s private sector, which has taken on new dynamism in the past two years — Americas Quarterly.
The U.S. government granted a license to Trinidad and Tobago to develop a major gas field located in Venezuelan territorial waters. The move marks a further easing of some sanctions on Venezuela, reports Reuters.
Venezuela’s inflation last year was 234 percent in 2022, according to the country’s government, a slowdown over the previous year. (Reuters)
In Mexico, homicides were down about seven percent in 2022 over the previous year — but cartel conflict keeps violence at near record levels, according to the Latin America Risk Report.