Brazil invites EU to observe elections (April 12, 2022)
Brazil's Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) invited the European Union to observe its general elections this year, for the first time. The move appears aimed at responding to President Jair Bolsonaro's frequent questions regarding the validity of Brazil's (widely well-considered) electronic voting system. Bolsonaro has also made baseless allegations of fraud in the 2018 race, stirring concerns that he may not accept the results of the October election, reports Reuters.
Bolsonaro is under fire in the midst of revelations that the country's armed forces purchased tens of thousands of Viagra pills, supposedly to treat pulmonary hypertension. Political opponents are particularly emphasizing the purchase -- in doses reportedly more appropriate to treat erectile dysfunction -- in light of the Bolsonaro administration's foot dragging over purchasing Covid-19 vaccines, reports the Guardian.
Reforms to El Salvador's penal code passed last week suffer, in general, "suffer from unconstitutionality due to procedural defects, according to an analysis by Cristosal. (See last Wednesday's post.)
Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele's crackdown on street gangs goes against the human rights treaties El Salvador has committed to uphold, wrote Carolina Jiménez (WOLA) and Katya Salazar Luzula (DPLF) in the Washington Post last week. The country's security crisis needs urgent responses, but the state of emergency suspending constitutional guarantees won't work, they warn. (See March 28's post.)
The current state of emergency is only the latest of multiple violent crackdowns on basic civil liberties across El Salvador during Bukele's tenure, writes Hilary Goodfriend in Jacobin.
CBS's "60 Minutes" traveled to El Zonte in El Salvador, the 3,000 person surfing village known as "Bitcoin Beach." (Axios)
A Haitian-led solution to the country's political crisis might consist in an agreement between the Montana Accord coalition -- a broad group of organizations of civil society -- and interim Prime Minister Ariel Henry's forces. "Forging such an agreement should be high on the Biden administration’s agenda. But there is little sign Washington is paying attention to events in the impoverished country," argues the Washington Post editorial board.
A U.S. judge will hear oral arguments this week to determine whether a lawsuit brought by the Mexican government against US-based gunmakers and wholesalers can continue. Mexico's government argues that the "flood" of illegal guns in Mexico "is the foreseeable result of the defendants' deliberate actions and business practices". (BBC)
Mexican drug cartels appear to be shipping high-powered weapons to Colombia to purchase shipments of cocaine. Colombian authorities say this is fueling the deadly struggle between rival traffickers for control of the nation's drug routes, reports Reuters.
An estimated 20,000 people have fled violence related to criminal groups in Mexico's Michoacán state in the past year. Thousands more have abandoned their homes in Zacatecas and Guerrero, part of an increasingly visible population of displaced people in towns near the U.S. border, reports the Washington Post. The dynamic reflects changing cartel wars, which increasingly sweep entire villages into fighting.
The Mexican town of Zipolite has become an oasis for the queer community, butr some fear surging popularity will wash out the town's spirit, reports the New York Times.
Chile has announced an unprecedented plan to ration water for Santiago, as a punishing, record-breaking drought enters its 13th year. The plan features a four-tier alert system, reports Reuters.
Boz shares impressions from Ciudad del Este -- beyond the expected illegal activity, he found a tri-border area that could be enormously consequential in terms of legitimate trade and tourism as well as gray market activities created by Argentina and Brazil’s protectionist economic policies. (Latin America Risk Report)
Banana growers from three provinces in Ecuador blocked main roads across the country yesterday to demand government action to boost prices they say are too low for them to meet production costs, reports Reuters.
The number of alleged war criminals from Central America, absconding after civil wars in El Salvador and Guatemala in the 1980s, dwarfs any other population of human rights abusers living in the United States. Many were Cold War-era allies of the United States. The Washington Post profiles Ann Schneider, a Latin American historian who works in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to track down people accused of human rights crimes.
Folha de São Paulo inadvertently announced the death of Queen Elizabeth “at the age of XX” -- an error it attributed to a technical issue, but which has attracted mortifying ridicule, reports the Guardian.
Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take? Let me know ...Latin America Daily Briefing