Colombian attorney general's trip to Ecuador questioned (Feb. 16, 2021)
Colombian attorney general Francisco Barbosa travelled to Ecuador on Saturday, reportedly to share information allegedly linking Ecuadorean presidential candidate Andrés Arauz with the Colombian ELN guerrilla force. But the move raised hackles on both sides of the border, and questions over how the accusations could affect the runoff vote to be held in April. Arauz won first place in Feb. 7's presidential election, and categorically rejected reports accusing his campaign of receiving ELN funding. (AFP, El Espectador)
Ecuador's electoral council abruptly suspended a meeting scheduled for yesterday evening, that was supposed to set a protocol for vote recounts in 17 provinces. (El Comercio) The second-place winner of Feb. 7's presidential election has not yet been determined. (See yesterday's post.)
Regardless of which candidate makes it to the runoff -- environmentalist Yaku Pérez or conservative Guillermo Lasso -- they should unite forces to defeat Arauz and the Correísta project he represents, argues Soraya Constante in a New York Times Español op-ed
Honduras' National Party, which has governed the country since 2010, has become a federation that welcomes politicians and officials involved in criminal businesses ranging from timber to drug trafficking to the misappropriation of public funds. An Insight Crime investigation delves into the intricate particulars, involving President Juan Orlando Hernández, his family, and high ranking politicians.
Reducing inequality and improving regional coordination are key factors for Latin America to control the coronavirus epidemic. Vaccines should be deployed in such a way to maximize social benefits, even for those who remain unvaccinated, by prioritizing vulnerable populations. This means taking into account socio-economic factors as well as others like age and occupation, write Miguel Lago and Anna Petherick in New York Times Español. Poverty is a key factor of Covid-19 mortality, and must be considered in vaccination schemes, they argue.
Though vaccine negotiations between governments and pharmaceutical companies are confidential, a few clauses that have been leaked provide a troubling view of how multinational corporations deal with developing nations, writes Víctor Báez Mosqueira in El Faro.
International pressure to democratize Venezuela must be unified behind a single objective: "the holding of free presidential elections," writes Leopoldo López in Americas Quarterly. He writes that Juan Guaidó is Venezuela's legitimate president, and argues that while sanctions are not responsible for Venezuela's humanitarian crisis, they provide a scapegoat for Nicolás Maduro's government.
Many believe that OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro followed instructions from the U.S., but in reality his views on Venezuela marked the Trump administration's hawkish path, according to Gonzalo Ferreira in the Post Opinión.
Haitian political turmoil has become one of the U.S. Biden administration's first foreign policy tests. There "are worrying signs that President Jovenel Moïse is becoming Latin America and the Caribbean’s newest strongman," writes Jacqueline Charles in the Miami Herald. "Many in Haiti still vividly recall the years of the father-son Duvalier dynasty, whose brutal repression resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people and forced many more to flee. And they have watched with concern, and fear a return to dictatorship, as Moïse modifies decrees on life in Haiti and weakens state institutions."
There are hopes the U.S. Biden administration could launch a regional anti-corruption commission that would help Central American prosecutors investigate major corruption cases. But creating a "regional CICIG" will be complicated, and InSight Crime reports that experts believe the Biden administration will first resort to other strategies, like restructuring cooperation efforts with the local Attorney General’s Offices and revoking the visas of corrupt officials so as to put pressure on the governments of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announced four presidential decrees designed to facilitate legal access to weapons on Saturday. Some critics said the move, which makes guns easier to acquire and increases the amount each person can own, is a threat to Brazilian democracy. Experts say the relaxation of gun laws would help organized crime groups to expand their arsenals and increase violence in what is already one of the world’s most violent countries. (Guardian)
A working group established by the Bolsonaro administration to revise Brazil's human rights policies does not include any representatives of civil society, Congress or the justice system, and all its discussions are secret, denounced Human Rights Watch.
U.S. officials and companies have pressured Mexico to abandon plans for a glyphosate ban, reports the Guardian. Industry executives told U.S. government officials that they feared restricting glyphosate would lead to limits on other pesticides and could set a precedent for other countries to do the same.
The U.S. Biden administration's pick for ambassador to Mexico will have to navigate a difficult path, writes León Krauze in the Washington Post.
Gender violence in public spaces in Ciudad de México often involves vehicles, which are either a weapon of attack, or a space where attacks occur, according to a Post Opinión piece arguing for gender perspectives in urban transit policies.