Ecuador suspends vote recount (Feb. 17, 2021)
Ecuador's electoral council (CNE) suspended a vote recount in 17 provinces requested by presidential candidate Yaku Pérez, after Feb. 7's election. The CNE could not reach a majority on the request for a recount, Pérez alleges fraud was committed to keep him out of the April runoff against first-place winner Andrés Arauz. Guillermo Lasso narrowly displaced Pérez to third in the middle of last week's count. Without a recount, the CNE said Pérez can challenge the results once the winners are proclaimed, later this week. (El Comercio, Al Jazeera, see Monday's post.)
Residents of Ecuador's city of Cuenca overwhelmingly voted to ban future large-scale mining activities in five nearby watershed zones in a Feb. 7 referendum. There are over 4,000 large and small bodies of water in the sensitive Páramo ecosystem, which acts as a reservoir in the Andes. The land, which is directly adjacent to a national park, has been declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO, writes Miriam Lang in Open Democracy.
The result of the referendum is legally binding under the constitution, which means whoever wins the presidential election will have to implement it. But how exactly the vote results will be applied remains in dispute, as pro-mining unions and the city are deadlocked over what to do about mining projects that have already received the go-ahead, reports Al Jazeera.
Colombian President Iván Duque's decision to grant legal status to the Venezuelan refugee population in Colombia, justified by humanitarian concerns, is a brave move, according to the Financial Times editorial board. "In a world where nationalist sentiments have all too often been stoked against refugees and migrants, Colombia’s gesture stands out as an example." (See last Thursday's briefs.)
"An often overlooked aspect of climate change is the way it exacerbates the suffering of existing migrant and refugee communities," reports the New Yorker. "One danger is that migrants and refugees often settle in locations that are highly exposed to the elements, often because they are pushed there by their host governments." Another danger is that migrants are increasingly afraid to seek help from authorities, in the midst of growing nationalist rhetoric around the world. The piece focuses on how Haitian migrants in the Bahamas were affected by 2019's Hurricane Doria. After the storm, though it had promised that migrants would be safe, the government pursued a program of mass deportation.
One of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse's strategies for repression is what can be termed the "gangsterization" of Haiti, Nixon Boumba told Open Democracy: The government supports criminal gangs to terrorize people and limit participation in protests. (See Monday's briefs.)
The United Nations voiced concern over aggressions towards journalists covering anti-government protests in Haiti. (See Monday's briefs.)
A former mayor of Port-au-Prince and three political opponents of President Jovenel Moïse have sought refuge in the Dominican Republic and say they are targets of political persecution in Haiti. (Dominican Today)
Chinese Covid-19 vaccines are the best hope for many Latin American countries hoping to inoculate their populations. It's a possible double win for Beijing, according to the Washington Post, new markets for pharmaceutical products and good will in the region. But many feel that countries in the region have been forced to turn to less effective vaccines after wealthier nations locked up supplies of Western developed jabs, yet another disparity in global vaccination efforts.
Brazil is only a month into its vaccination campaign against Covid-19, but there are already thousands of reports of people who circumvented the rules to get immunized ahead of their turn, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Experts say Venezuela’s deteriorated health system and collapsed economy will make the country one of the toughest places in the region to conduct a coronavirus vaccination campaign, reports Reuters.
Venezuela's opposition is locked into a failed strategy, insisting on an "all or nothing" strategy of negotiating free and fair elections with Nicolás Maduro's government, writes Phil Gunson in World Politics Review. (See Leopoldo López's Americas Quarterly piece, yesterday's briefs, for example.) But "an important segment of Venezuelan civil society believes that it is possible and indeed essential to negotiate partial agreements with the government, with the aim of alleviating Venezuela’s still-nosediving economy ... and with it the humanitarian emergency, while improving conditions for elections," according to Gunson.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's nationalistic energy policy — a push to re-establish state control over energy markets — will not produce the self-sufficiency he seeks,writes Vanessa Rubio in Americas Quarterly. "It will instead deepen the country’s dependence on international inputs and pollutive energy sources, further hindering the efficiency of an already strained domestic energy market operation." (See Monday's briefs on the negative climate impact of the "energy sovereignty" policies.)
In good times and bad, Rio de Janeiro’s famously boisterous Carnival has endured, often thriving when the going got particularly tough -- which is why this year's Covid-19 cancellation hits particularly hard, reports the New York Times.
How a Rio de Janeiro community leader protected Afro-Brazilian music and traditions from persecution a century ago, creating the traditions that now form the city's samba in the Guardian.
The Argentine government’s first ever national director of gender, equality and economy, Mercedes D'Alessandro, says all economic policy in Argentina needs to account for gender. "Thanks to her, it likely will," according to Time Magazine, which selected her for its 100 Next list.
Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take? Let me know ... Latin America Daily Briefing