Chile and Costa Rica added to UN Human Rights Council while Venezuela loses reelection bid
The United Nations Human Rights Council held elections for 14 of the council’s 47 seats this week, with the majority of General Assembly members voting for council members via secret ballot. Eight spots in the council are reserved for Latin America and the Caribbean, with two of those spots having been up for grabs this week. Chile and Costa Rica were elected to join the council, while Venezuela lost its reelection bid. Despite numerous human rights violations (for example, see LADB 9/22/22 on the International Fact-Finding Mission on Venezuela), Venezuela had been a member of the council since 2019, also joined by “countries with spotty human rights records, including China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and Russia (Moscow was suspended from the council following its invasion of Ukraine in February),” according to CNN. Venezuela’s removal from the council is a diplomatic loss for Maduro, who has been vying for increased international support in recent months. The move has received plaudits from civil society actors and human rights defenders, and “Miguel Pizarro, who represents Venezuela’s political opposition at the UN, told CNN that the lost seat meant criticisms of Maduro’s regime had finally been heard.” (La Prensa Latina, CNN, Crónica Uno, UN News)
As a result of the election, the Latin American contingent at the UN Human Rights Council will now be composed of: Argentina (current head of the council), Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Honduras, Mexico, and Paraguay. (La Prensa Latina)
A new R4V Refugee and Migrant Needs Analysis finds that “Three quarters of refugees and migrants from Venezuela struggle to access basic services in Latin America and the Caribbean.”
“Argentines are leaving the country in waves as the deepening economic crisis pushes thousands of people to emigrate for the first time in a generation… Requests to obtain Spanish or Italian citizenship reached a record last year. Between January and September 2021, more than 55,000 applications were submitted for a certificate of “non-naturalization” issued by the Argentine electoral chamber, a mandatory requirement when applying. That surpassed the highest peak of the previous economic crisis of 2001-2002, when 39,000 applications have been made,” reports The Financial Times.
“A State Department report obtained by The Intercept shows the Biden administration continuing to embrace claims of electoral fraud that opened the door for a right-wing takeover of the Bolivian government in 2019. Mandated by the most recent omnibus spending bill, the report delivered to Congress mirrors the posture the Trump administration pushed three years ago, when it sought to cement the replacement of Bolivia’s Indigenous socialist president Evo Morales with the country’s right-wing Christian senator Jeanine Áñez,” says The Intercept.
The ruling MAS party finds itself split between former president Evo Morales and detractors, with President Luis Arce electing to distance himself from these conflicts and not comment on them, reports The Brazilian Report, adding the Vice President David Choquehuanca “said that ‘times of need’ demand ‘new leaders,’ and that ‘only cowards run away,”” a statement targeted against Morales.
BBC explores the orçamento secreto (“secret budget”), which Transparency International has dubbed the largest institutionalization of corruption in Brazil’s history.
The Lula campaign will swap out the PT’s traditional red for white in a move to reduce rejection, an initiative suggested by Simone Tebet (MDB), who endorsed Lula after coming in third-place during the first round of presidential elections. (Globo)
The President of the House of Representatives, Arthur Lira, has proposed a bill to criminalize “incorrect” electoral polls, but has received pushback, reports Folha.
“Chile's congress voted to approve the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade deal on Tuesday after four years of legislative debate,” reports Reuters.
The European Union will provide Colombia with 34 million euros in humanitarian aid, announces the Delegation of the European Union to Colombia.
US company Intel’s only “semiconductor chip assembly and test operations facility” in the Western Hemisphere is located in Costa Rica, an important location as the company attempts to become less dependent on its Asian operations, and as the US prioritizes local semiconductor production, reports El País.
Amnesty International writes that one of President Guillermo Lasso’s proposed referendums to allow the armed forces to work jointly with police forces—currently prohibited by law—poses a risk for human rights.
“Although campaigning for Guatemala’s presidential election in June 2023 is prohibited until January, some candidates are getting an early start. The electoral tribunal which oversees campaigns and the electoral process has made no effort to interfere with early campaigning being conducted by President Alejandro Giammattei and other conservative allies. The 2023 campaign is set to be a crowded contest with neither the conservatives nor progressives expected to rally behind a single candidate,” writes Lucy Hale at the Latin America Risk Report.
Moises Humberto Rivera Luna, alias “Viejo Santos,” is widely regarded by the US as one of the top members of the MS-13 gang. Currently being held in a Guatemalan prison, Rivera Luna asserts that he is no longer involved with gang life, says InSight Crime.
The Washington Post Editorial Board argues that international intervention in Haiti is necessary, but any involvement should not be coordinated with Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry, whom they see as an illegitimate leader. On the contrary, in the New Republic, James North argues that “International interventions in the nation of Haiti have never benefited actual Haitians.”
In the New York Times, Lydia Polgreen argues that the Montana Accords, a framework for a political transition created by rival political parties, trade unions, grass-roots community groups, and human rights activists, should be considered as Haiti attempts to restore democracy free from foreign intervention.
The State of Mexico, Mexico’s largest state, approved same-sex marriage this week, leaving the states of Tamaulipas, Tabasco, and Guerrero as the only states in Mexico without such a law, reports AP.
The head of the Secretariat of National Defense is requiring that representatives of the National Defense Commission meet with him at his office, instead of him going to them, as per the usual manner of business, reports Reforma.
Several NGOs have written to the Biden administration about today’s US-Mexico High-Level Security Dialogue, calling for “evidence-based actions,” and expressing concern over an increasingly militarized approach to policing in Mexico, among other issues.
“Peruvian President Pedro Castillo is facing a fresh legal battle after the country's attorney general filed a constitutional complaint against the left-wing leader,” reports the BBC.
“Peru is on the brink of constitutional crisis & presidential vacancy - again. Yesterday, the Attorney General's office (Ministerio Público, MP) filed a constitutional complaint against Pres. Castillo. Now Congress could remove him in short order,” writes Will Freeman in a Twitter thread, diving into the case’s context and potential outcomes.
About 40,000 Puerto Ricans remain without power over three weeks after Hurricane Fiona made landfall, destroying much of the island’s energy infrastructure, says the Guardian. (See LADB 9/20/22)
In an interview with InSight Crime, Nicolás Centurión, Uruguay crime observer and analyst at the Latin American Center for Strategic Analysis (Centro Latinoamericano de Análisis Estratégico - CLAE), offered his views on Uruguay’s growing criminal problem, including transnational drug trafficking.
The humanitarian parole plan for Venezuelans to enter the US covered in yesterday’s LADB will reportedly be available for “up to 24,000 Venezuelans,” reports the New York Times. Those not accepted, though, will be expelled at the border through Title 42, which has previously not been used for Venezuelans.
Cliver Alcala, a former Venezuelan general currently being held on drug charges in the US, claims his involvement in a plot against Maduro is “exculpatory” for the charges he is facing, says Reuters.
Proyecto Migración Venezuela writes that baseball is the country’s most popular sport—not soccer—due to two reasons: 1) young Venezuelans who went to the US to study and brought the sport back with them, and 2) US businesses that came to Venezuela brought baseball equipment with them.