Bukele to escalate crackdown
(June 30, 2022)
Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele vowed to escalate his harsh crackdown on street gangs, after three police officers were killed yesterday. El Salvador’s government instituted a state of exception in March, following a gang killing spree, and has since detained more than 43,000 people.
Human rights groups have objected to the mass arrests. Quotas imposed by police superiors have led to mass detentions and the arrest of innocent people, reports Reuters. More than 50 prisoners have died behind bars in mysterious circumstances, reports the Guardian.
Bachelet delivers final human rights report on Venezuela
Venezuela has progressed moderately in strengthening the rule of law, but the lack of independence of its legal system remains concerning, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said in a new report, yesterday.
Bachelet highlighted the restructuring of the national police and the official "dissolution" of the Special Action Forces (FAES) which had been accused in previous reports of torture and killings, reports Reuters.
She emphasized the need to strengthen judicial independence in Venezuela and separation of powers, and called on Venezuela to carry out independent, exhaustive and opportune investigations into human rights violations. (United Nations)
Chavista leader Diosdado Cabello celebrated Bachelet’s imminent retirement from her U.N. post, saying she has a fixation with Venezuela. (EFE)
Mexican journalist Antonio de la Cruz was killed yesterday, the twelfth press worker killed so far this year in one of the most dangerous countries in the world for reporters. Attacks on the press have increased 85% in the three years since president Andrés Manuel López Obrador took power in 2018, reports the Guardian.
Ecuador’s government says it will restart talks with Indigenous leaders spearheading protests against the soaring cost of living in the country, even as it issued a new state of emergency, reports Al Jazeera. (See yesterday’s briefs.)
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro would be unable to control supporters’ actions in the event of an electoral loss, though he would not instruct them to carry out a Jan. 6 style riot, said the president’s son, Senator Flavio Bolsonaro. The comments only add to unease regarding potential upheaval, reports Bloomberg.
A military coup is unlikely in Brazil, according to Raul Jungmann, the country’s most recent civilian defense minister. He points to lack of support from other areas — including media, political parties and the private sector — as well as a lack of appetite among military top brass. (Americas Quarterly)
Brazil’s Supreme Court is a bulwark against Bolsonaro’s excesses and alleged crimes. But some say judges have overreached in their efforts to protect the country’s democratic institutions, according to Bloomberg.
The latest issue of NACLA Report looks at contemporary Brazil through the lens of racial justice and highlights the effects of racism, sexism, patriarchy, and exclusionary policies on Afro-Brazilian populations.
Brazil’s unemployment rate hit single digits for the first time since 2016, adding to signs of growth ahead of October’s presidential election, in which economic issues are expected to play a critical role. (Bloomberg)
Journalist Patrícia Campos Mello won a lawsuit against Bolsonaro for moral damages. (Metropoles)
Pedro Guimarães, the head of Brazilian state-run bank Caixa Economica Federal and a close ally of Bolsonaro, resigned yesterday amid sexual harassment allegations. (Fox News)
The trajectory of access to abortion pills in Brazil may offer insight into how medication abortion can become out of reach in a post-Roe v Wade United States, and what can happen when it does, reports the New York Times.
Honduras has some of the strictest abortion laws in the world — abortion is prohibited in all circumstances, including rape, risk to woman’s life and fetal viability. With an estimated 40% of pregnancies unplanned or unwanted, an illegal abortion industry thrives, carrying out between 50,000 and 80,000 clandestine terminations each year, reports the Guardian.
The Washington Post looks at the roots of the green neckerchief, which started in Argentina and has become the emblem for abortion activists throughout the region.
The deaths of over 50 migrants traveling by truck in terrible conditions in Texas has cast a spotlight on the immense risks people are willing to take to cross the U.S. border in search of a better financial life or escaping violence in their native countries, reports the Guardian.
The suspected driver of a truck found abandoned in Texas with dozens of bodies inside has been charged with migrant smuggling resulting in death. (BBC)
It is likely the deadliest human smuggling event on U.S. soil, but the deaths in San Antonio were far from an isolated occurrence, as the numbers of migrants attempting to cross in more dangerous and remote areas spikes, reports the Washington Post. (See Tuesday’s post.)
Colombian president-elect Gustavo Petro named Jose Antonio Ocampo as his finance minister, a market-friendly choice, reports Reuters.
Fuel price increases are reverberating in South American countries, including Argentina and Peru, adding to already high political tensions, reports the Associated Press.
In Brazil the Bolsonaro administration proposed a massive aid package for self-employed truckers and others, that allies say is justified by high fuel prices resulting from the Ukraine war. (Reuters)
COVID-19 cases in the Americas rose about 14% last week from the previous one, with 1.3 million new cases and 4,158 new deaths reported, according to the Pan American Health Organization. (Reuters)
Baroness Patricia Scotland narrowly defeated challenger Kamina Johnson Smitt to remain Commonwealth Secretary General in a vote last week. The Dominica-born lawyer has been secretary-general of the Commonwealth since 2016. She has been repeatedly dogged by scandal, reports Reuters.
Jamaican Foreign Minister Kamina Johnson Smith lost by just three votes, though her nomination caused a rift among some CARICOM member states who favored Scotland's continuity. (Caribbean National Weekly) The issue was less about the candidates and more about presenting a united Caribbean front, according to some analysts. (Jamaica Gleaner)
A landmark ruling from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) found that the rights of the Indigenous people living in Guyana's Isseneru were violated. Guyana’s government is tasked with informing the rights commission of the measures it intends to adopt to provide recourse to the villagers in about two months’ time. (See this week’s Just Caribbean Updates.)