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Brazilian elections spur violent attacks (Oct. 12, 2018)
It's tempting to draw comparisons between Brazil now and in 1964, when the military overthrew a leftist president. But presidential front-runner Jair Bolsonaro is a threat not because he is likely to actually implement authoritarian government, but because he espouses extreme views, argues the Economist. "... It is the quality of Brazilian democracy, rather than its survival, that is at more immediate risk."
For NACLA: "Brazil is unquestionably at a crossroads. If a pro-democratic front led by the Workers’ Party doesn’t hold back the conservative wave, Brazil will be the next victim of the reactionary- populist international groundswell."
And in the New York Review of Books, Vincent Bevins hazards that Bolsonaro "would reintroduce the dictatorship’s political ethos, preserved and intact, into modern Brazil."
Brazilians overwhelming opted for Bolsonaro, in rejection of scandal tainted political establishment parties and drawn to his tough on crime promises, reports the Economist separately. With a conservative leaning congress, Bolsonaro will likely be able to pass laws loosening gun ownership and lowering the age of criminal responsibility. But it's less clear he'll succeed at pension reform, warns the piece. In order to beat him in Oct. 28's second-round, Workers' Party candidate Fernando Haddad must convince voters that he is more of a centrist than a classic PT leader.
An Agência Pública investigation found a shocking level of electoral violence over the past 10 days -- at least 70 violent attacks. Though both candidates condemned the violence, most (50) were committed by Bolsonaro supporters against PT supporters, journalists, and members of the LGBT community. Activists say online threats have multiplied over the course of the campaign, and prosecutors have launched an investigation into an online game featuring a cartoon Bolsonaro who attacks feminists, leftists and political opponents, reports the Guardian.
The Bolsonaro campaign denied to former White House strategist Steve Bannon, contradicting claims by one of Bolsonaro’s sons, reports the Associated Press.
But it will probably surprise nobody that Bolsonaro is a Trump fan. (AFP)
Former dictator Alberto Fujimori was rescued from returning to prison to serve a human rights violations sentence by his party's lawmakers, who yesterday approved a law allowing for elderly prisoners to serve out their sentences from home, reports El País. (See Oct. 4's post.)
Costa Rica granted political asylum to Nicaraguan human rights activist Alvaro Leiva. (Reuters)
The U.S. Senate is set to pass sanctions against Nicaraguan government officials and condition international lending to the country. (Rollcall)
The region needs to prepare for the arrival of even more Venezuelan migrants, as there are little signs the exodus from the country will stop anytime soon, warned the head of the United Nations refugee agency. (Miami Herald)
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accused the U.S. government of seeking to assassinate him, yesterday. (Reuters)
France's foreign ministry summoned Venezuela's ambassador to France over the death of opposition councillor Fernando Alban while in custody on Monday, reports the Associated Press. (See Tuesday's post.)
Venezuela's government shut down a radio program that questioned the fairness of the country's elections. (El País)
The new "Sistema Nacional de Búsqueda de Personas" started working this week in Mexico -- with the unenviable task of searching for at least 37,000 people officially recognized as disappeared by the government. But already the system is incomplete, reports Animal Político -- most of the state counterparts are not yet functioning, and the commission lacks the resources to carry out its work.
Mexico's incoming government will hold a four day consultation with citizens this month over whether to finish a partially built new Mexico City airport, or scrap it and upgrade an existing military base to complement the existing congested international airport, reports Reuters. Animal Político delves into the multiple issues over the various alternatives.
Mexico's outgoing Secretary of National Defense Salvador Cienfuegos joined a growing chorus of calls to legalize opium for medical purposes. (UPI)
InSight Crime has a podcast on CICIG head Iván Velásquez -- "giant-slayer."
In Guatemala, indigenous women are twice as likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth as non-Indigenous women, and Indigenous infants are two-thirds more likely to die than non-Indigenous infants, reports Al Jazeera in a piece on the shrinking presence of indigenous midwives.
The Israeli Embassy in Guatemala has urged mayors to name streets, squares and parks throughout the country with the name "Jerusalem the capital of Israel." (YNet)
The Guardian has a photo-essay of Mexico City's open-air markets pictured from above.
Correction: in yesterday's post I mistakenly said Keiko Fujimori was detained for allegations of money laundering in her 2011 and 2016 presidential campaigns. The charges relate solely to the 2011 campaign.
Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take? Let me know ... Latin America Daily Briefing