Cuba accuses U.S. of excluding from Summit (April 26, 2022)
Cuban officials accused the U.S. of excluding the island's government from the upcoming Summit of the Americas, which will be held in Los Angeles in June. Cuban foreign affairs minister Bruno Rodríguez said the U.S. Biden administration is also putting pressure on countries in the hemisphere who oppose excluding Cuba from the largest regional gathering of hemispheric leaders, reports the Miami Herald.
Rodríguez said US officials were already leaving Cuba out of pre-summit conversations on such issues as a regional health strategy and migration, both of vital interest to the island’s leaders, and noted that Cuba has attended the past two Summit of the Americas meetings. (Al Jazeera)
The U.S. said no invitations have been issued for the Summit from the White House at this time.
The statements came after the U.S. and Cuba held migration talks in Washington, D.C., last week amid soaring Cuban migration to the U.S. 80,000 Cubans were apprehended at the border between October and April, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Last week’s meeting amounted to the highest-level talks between the two countries in over four years. While Rodríguez celebrated the meeting as a positive sign, U.S. policy toward Cuba is "incoherent" and "contradictory" because, he said, the U.S. tightens the embargo "and at the same time restricts migration." (NBC)
More Regional Relations
U.S. State Department officials held their first high-level talks with the Brazilian government since 2019 yesterday. The meeting comes despite the two governments' differences over the Ukraine war, reports Reuters. Asked about President Jair Bolsonaro’s criticism of the Brazilian voting system ahead of his re-election campaign this year, the U.S. said the United States had confidence in Brazil’s strong democratic institutions.
Former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's lead in Brazil's presidential race narrowed again, according to a new FSB Pesquisa poll that gives Lula 41 percent compared to 32 percent for incumbent Jair Bolsonaro. (Reuters)
Mexico's Michoacán state was the original focus of the country's war on drugs, and demonstrates the failure of the policy, according to a new Crisis Group report that delves into the Tierra Caliente heartland of the state's organized crime. Over the past fifteen years, "at least fourteen illegal armed outfits have carved up power, political sway and territories among them, each one digging in too deep for its competitors to oust it completely. The result has been a state of perpetual low-intensity armed violence. A viable strategy to reduce this violence has yet to be found."
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he will present a plan aimed at buffering Mexican food prices from global price swings that caused soaring inflation this year, reports Bloomberg.
Perceptions among Chileans that Chile is on the wrong path rose 18 points between March and April, according to a new Cadem poll. Citizens are increasingly dour on the new constitution, which will be put to plebiscite on Sept. 4. For the fourth consecutive week, the poll found that more respondents would reject the new magna carta than approve it. (CNN)
Experts have cautioned, however, that negative perceptions about the new magna carta could dissipate after the Constitutional Convention finishes drafting the new text. Last week delegates adopted a series of “fundamental rights” into the text of the proposed constitution, including, among others, the right to health care and social security, the right to unionize, strike and collectively bargain and “the right to a dignified and adequate home.” This could counter some criticisms that the convention has failed to tackle the problems underlying broad social unrest that led to the drafting process in the first place, reports La Bot Constituyente.
If the articles approved last week make it to a successful magna carta, it would be the first time positive social rights will be included in the Chilean constitution, writes Nicholas C. Scott in the Washington Post. "The invocation of “dignity” is important and it signals that the vote in the convention forms part of a much longer history of Chileans’ struggle to achieve a dignified life."
Just six weeks in office, President Gabriel Boric faces his own political problems, his disapproval rating has shot way up, in part due to gaffes from a team with little governance experience, according to Bloomberg. Boric is under fire from both the left, where communists say he isn't serious about dismantling the country's neoliberal system, and from the right, concerned about the country's status with investors.
Colombian vice presidential candidate Francia Márquez is the major revelation of this year's campaign, according to the Financial Times. If leftist Gustavo Petro's bid is successful, Márquez would take an additional role heading a new ministry dedicated to eradicating inequality of race and gender in one of Latin America’s most class-ridden societies.
Asylum seekers from around the world, including Latin America, are increasingly entering Canada after the country lifted Covid-19 restrictions in December. (Guardian)
Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda plans on pursuing, eventually, plans to become a republic, Prime Minister Gaston Browne told visiting British royals the Earl and Countess of Wessex this week. The country is the latest in the Caribbean to announce intentions to possibly split from the British monarchy, reports the BBC.
Former Ecuador president Rafael Correa said the political asylum he has been granted in Belgium is proof he is persecuted by his country’s authorities and did not rule out a return to politics in an interview with the Associated Press.
Governments in Latin America should provide targeted and temporary fiscal support to help poor families cope with higher food and energy prices and reduce the risk of social unrest from soaring inflation, according to the International Monetary Fund. (Bloomberg)
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