Colombian protests continue (May 11, 2021)
Colombian President Iván Duque met with protest leaders yesterday, but no advances were made towards deactivating demonstrations that have been ongoing for two weeks. The National Strike Committee, made up of major unions and student groups, attended the meeting with Duque, other government officials and representatives from the United Nations and the Catholic Church, reports Reuters. "There was not empathy from the government with the reasons, with the demands that have taken us to this national strike," said Francisco Maltes, president of the Central Union of Workers (CUT).
Critics say that the president is as adverse to dialogue now as he was during the 2019 negotiations and that there are no safety guarantees for protestors, reports The Nation.
Duque made a rapid visit to Cali, which has emerged as the epicenter of unrest, with clashes between armed civilian groups as a new worrisome trend. (Al Jazeera, Guardian, see yesterday's post.)
Social unrest threatens to make the country ungovernable during Duque's last year in office, reports El País. He is increasingly facing criticism even from within his own Centro Democrático party.
Another national strike day is being planned for tomorrow, in what will mark the third week of ongoing protests. The dialogue between the government and the national strike committee faces the same difficulties as earlier efforts to address discontent in 2019, notes La Silla Vacía, which reviews proposals from diverse areas and notes there are few fresh approaches.
In the midst of protests and government repression, the gulf between popular needs and establishment practices is more evident than ever in Colombia, write María Fernanda Valdés and Kristina Birke in Nueva Sociedad. (In English at Nacla.)
A deadly police raid in Jacarezinho last week resembled all out urban war, stunning even the veterans of countless gunfights and police incursions into favelas, reports the Guardian. (See last Friday's post.) The operation was the most violent ever, and claimed 23 lives, one a police officer.
Police said the raid was the result of 10 months of intelligence gathering, and that 21 arrest warrants were issued. But only three people were actually arrested, and Brazilian supreme court judges questioned the raid. Supreme Court justice Marco Aurélio Mello said that the action in Jacarezinho cannot be classified as “intelligence work,” given how many deaths it produced. He said an investigation should be brought to the federal level, reports the Associated Press. Supreme Court Justice Edson Fachin requested investigations and said there were “indications of arbitrary execution.” (See last Friday's post.)
Several Brazilian Supreme Court justices said a ruling last year that banned police raids into Rio de Janeiro favelas must now be reviewed, as the pandemic context has stretched out longer than initially expected, reports the Associated Press. (See last Friday's post.)
Indigenous leaders in Brazil’s Amazon said that five people were wounded in a half-hour shootout that erupted after miners entered their land in Roraima state near the border with Venezuela. The report from the Yanomami-Yek’wana group sent to Brazil’s indigenous agency FUNAI, and obtained by The Associated Press said four miners and one Indigenous person were wounded.
Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon surged during the month of April, ending a streak of three consecutive months where forest clearing had been lower than the prior year. (Mongabay)
A new poll shows Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's approval rating increased slightly this month, and his disapproval decreased slightly. (El País)
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris "would do well to acknowledge our country’s responsibility for the furnace of violence that Central America has become and adopt a humble posture with social movements there, which are clear on needed policy changes," writes Jean Stokan, justice coordinator for immigration for the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, regarding the U.S. goal of addressing root causes of migration from Central America. (Washington Post, see yesterday's briefs)
Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández is one of the difficulties the U.S. effort faces in coordinating new policies for Central America (see yesterday's briefs). The BBC reviews evidence from U.S. courts linking JOH to drug cartels and asks "Is Honduras a Narcostate?"
The U.S. is undertaking a review of its policy to Venezuela, examining the sanctions to make sure they are in line with its objectives and waiting to see concrete steps from Maduro, reports Bloomberg. (See last Wednesday's post.)
U.S. labor unions filed a complaint with the U.S. Biden administration over claims of labor violations at a group of auto parts factories in Mexico. The move will pose an early test of the new North American trade deal and its labor protections, reports the New York Times.
The United States deported back to Guatemala a former "kaibile" soldier suspected of participating in the killing of more than 200 people in the village of Las Dos Erres in 1982. (Associated Press)
Argentine President Alberto Fernández is visiting Europe this week, lobbying for support in the country's debt renegotiation with the IMF, reports Reuters.
Very few people in Haiti speak English, but many Haitian protesters are using English to make their demands known, with viral Twitter protest hashtags like #FreeHaiti and protest signs reading “Jovenel is a dictator.” They "are using English not only to draw Western attention to the crisis there, but also to indict the U.S. for its role in creating that crisis," argues Tamanisha John in The Conversation.
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