Discover more from Latin America Daily Briefing
Cuba and Nicaragua abstain from UNGA vote (March 3, 2022)
141 nations voted in favour of a U.N. General Assembly motion condemning the invasion of Ukraine, while just five – Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea, Syria and Russia – opposed it. (See yesterday's post.) Thirty-five countries abstained from voting on the resolution that demands the immediate and complete withdrawal of all Russian forces from Ukrainian territory. Abstaining countries in Latin America include: Bolivia, Cuba, El Salvador and Nicaragua. Venezuela was unable to vote due to unpaid dues.
Amid the crisis, Russia increased diplomatic efforts to ensure it had the support of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Several Russian officials traveled to the three countries, and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with the three leaders, reports the Miami Herald. Cuba's government has sought to balance its Russia alliance and at the same time avoid a full endorsement, wary of damaging its relationship with valuable European trading partners.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro criticized the barrage of Western sanctions slapped on Russia, yesterday. "What they are doing against the Russian people is a crime, an economic war," Maduro said as he reiterated support for President Vladimir Putin in what Maduro called the "conflict with Ukraine." (AFP)
Colombian President Iván Duque will meet with U.S. President Joe Biden next week on a visit to Washington, during which the two leaders will discuss regional and global issues including Russia's invasion of Ukraine, reports Reuters.
Brazil reaffirmed its position in favor of an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine in the United Nations General Assembly meeting yesterday, but said the indiscriminate application of sanctions on Russia does not lead to the reconstruction of dialogue. On Tuesday President Jair Bolsonaro said Brazil would remain neutral in the conflict, citing Russian fertilizers which are crucial for the country's agribusiness sector, reports Reuters.
Bolsonaro said the Ukraine conflict could cause potassium shortages in Brazil, and used the opportunity to support a 2020 bill that would permit the "extraction of minerals, water and organic resources" from Indigenous protected land in the Amazon rainforest. The legislation was shot down by the public prosecutor's office in 2021 for being unconstitutional, reports EFE.
A new generation of cosmopolitan Venezuelan officials has allowed President Nicolás Maduro to halt the economic collapse and remain in power, at the cost of fostering potential future challenges to his rule, reports the New York Times.
Venezuela's opposition faces a marked lack of enthusiasm, after losing momentum in efforts to oust Maduro in recent years, reports the Associated Press. Guaidó’s popularity has dropped from about 60% three years ago to under 15% in February, according to the the Venezuela-based polling firm Datanalisis.
Wall Street firms and other U.S. investors are seeing an opening to press the Biden administration to lift sanctions against Venezuela, due to soaring energy costs linked to the Ukraine war, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Honduran lawmakers repealed legislation known as the "official secrets law" for classifying public documents on national security and defense. It is one President Xiomara Castro's first efforts to curb corruption, a major campaign promise, reports Reuters.
An estimated 140,000 refugees and migrants transited through Panama in 2021 in an attempt to reach North America -- the unprecedented number of people transiting through the country emerge from the jungle of the Darién Gap, a journey fraught with violence and hardship including robbery, sexual violence, and death, explains Center for Democracy in the Americas in an issue brief.
Dominican Republic authorities deported former Haitian police officer linked to the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. Tanis Philome is the latest suspect arrested in a crime still not solved after seven months, reports the Associated Press.
Guatemala’s malnutrition crisis, which stems from structural inequalities across the country, has been worsened by the pandemic and the aftermath of hurricanes Eta and Iota in 2020, reports Al Jazeera.
Chile sold $2 billion in dollar-denominated, sustainability-linked bonds, the first nation in the world to do so, reports Bloomberg.
Deliberations Chile's new constitution have entered a critical phase, and it has become increasingly clear that the foundational spirit of the convention represents a risk to Chilean governance, argues Patricio Navia in Americas Quarterly. The process looks likely to produce a long, comprehensive and extremely detailed constitution, he writes. "Indeed, every political institution in Chile is under threat of elimination or deep redesign."