El patriarcado es un juez ... (Feb. 19, 2020)
Women's rights activists are doggedly calling attention to entrenched and growing gender violence in Latin America -- oftentimes clashing with leaders who seem determined to exemplify the machista perspectives that permit and foment such crimes. (Yeah, I know, that's a rough sentence.)
Mexicans are up in arms over a spate of particularly gruesome femicides -- in a country where gender killings are already common -- and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's tone-deaf response to reporters has added fuel to the fire. The body of 7-year-old girl -- Fátima Aldrighett -- who disappeared in Mexico City last week was found naked in a plastic bag. Last week a 25-year-old, Ingrid Escamilla, was stabbed to death, cut to pieces and partially skinned. Rather than discussing gender violence, AMLO lumped femicides into a larger crime context. At a press conference on Monday, he said that femicides are a product of the “selfishness and accumulation of wealth in a few hands left by neoliberal policies.” He further incensed activists by criticizing protesters who threw red paint at the National Palace in reference to femicides, and by chastising a reporter who asked about gender violence when he was discussing the sale of a presidential plane. “I don’t want femicides to distract from the raffle.” (Washington Post, Associated Press, El País, Infobae, see Monday's briefs.)
The attitude horrifically misguided for Mexico's context, argues El País in a scathing editorial. "Gender violence in Mexico is a problem of such magnitude that it urgently needs an integral strategy. An average of ten dead women a day and 90 percent impunity are such hair-raising statistics that the government must react immediately with effective measures to stanch this bloodbath." Indeed, the depth of AMLO's insensitivity is opposite to his ideological stance, and cruel to victims, writes León Krauze in El Universal.
In contrast, Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum -- of AMLO's Morena party -- called Fátima's assassination “outrageous, aberrant, painful” and vowed the crime would “not go unpunished.” On Monday she accompanied Fátima’s mother to file charges.
In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro surpassed his own bar for inappropriate commentary: reiterating debunked allegations that Folha de S. Paulo reporter Patrícia Campos Mello exchanged sex for a scoop. Bolsonaro leeringly echoed a witness who last week testified in a congressional hearing that Campos Mello had insinuated an offer of sex in exchange for help with a story that triggered an investigation of Bolsonaro's campaign by Brazil's top electoral court. Folha quickly debunked the assertion by releasing transcripts, screenshots and recordings of their conversations. The Brazilian Press Association said Bolsonaro's "misogynous behavior is undeserving of the office of the President and an affront to the Constitution." (Folha de S. Paulo, El País, Associated Press)
But the anger in the streets isn't going away. Argentine activists are relaunching the bid to legalize abortion today, with a demonstration in front of Congress, which will vote on the issue this year. Activists are energized by support of Argentina's president, Alberto Fernández, who has stated that abortion should be considered a public health issue, and many prominent members of his government who sport the green handkerchief of the movement. However, early polls show that they will have to win over several senators, at least, in order to legalize abortion -- which lost in the senate in 2018.
The Chilean feminist group, Las Tesis, will perform at the demonstration, with an adapted version of "Un violador en tu camino," which spread from Chile's protests last year to become an international feminist chant against gender violence. (Página 12)
“El patriarcado es un juez,
que nos obliga a parir
y nuestro castigo
es la violencia que ya ves.
Maternidad como destino.
Es aborto clandestino.
Y la culpa no era mía,
ni dónde estaba, ni cómo vestía.
Y la culpa no era mía,
si me cuidaba, ni cómo vivía.
The United States levied tough new sanctions against a subsidiary of Russian oil giant Rosneft, in an attempt to further pressure Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro. Venezuela is exporting about 70 percent of its oil through Rosneft in what U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin described as the “looting of Venezuela’s oil assets by the corrupt Maduro regime.” (New York Times) Russia said yesterday that the new sanctions were a violation of international law and that they would not affect Moscow's ties with Caracas. (Reuters)
Venezuela's Special Action Force of Venezuela’s National Police has been widely linked to extrajudicial executions and torture. Now a new Reuters investigation found that its ranks include convicted criminals. Two of the FAES officers accused of killing two men last March served prison terms before joining the force, according to hundreds of sealed documents submitted by prosecutors in the case. It is both illegal and against national police policy for criminals to belong to the FAES.
Colombia is struggling to cope with the ongoing influx of Venezuelan migrants fleeing the country's economic crisis -- and it's only getting worst, reports the Financial Times. It is “the world’s largest forced migration crisis you have never heard of”, says Andrew Selee, president of the Migration Policy Institute in Washington.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and his eldest son, Senator Flavio Bolsonaro, criticized the investigation into the death of a hitman killed in a police shootout in Bahia state, which is governed by an opposition party. Flavio Bolsonaro suggested alleged "militia" leader Adriano Magalhães da Nóbrega was tortured, while Jair Bolsonaro called for an "independent" forensic investigation on Twitter. The Bolsonaro family has been under growing pressure to explain its ties to Nóbrega, who authorities sought in relation to the 2018 assassination of Rio de Janeiro councillor Marielle Franco. (Reuters, see Feb. 10's briefs.)
Al Jazeera reports on "the militia," the paramilitary groups that rival drug gangs in Rio de Janeiro's criminal underworld.
Bolsonaro is pushing a bill to allow commercial mining and agriculture on protected indigenous lands, and announced a credit line to support indigenous farmers who have developed soy plantations on their reservations. (Reuters)
Bolsonaro's ultra-conservative agenda is politically profitable -- a recent poll showed his approval rating jumped to almost 48 per cent from 41 per cent in August and Brazilians’ views on a spectrum of social issues, from abortion to gay marriage and the death penalty, have grown more conservative, reports the Financial Times.
Members of Haiti’s U.S.-backed and United Nations-trained police force are venting frustration over poor pay and work conditions by illegally firing their weapons in the air, vandalizing government property and reportedly setting fire to viewing stands ahead of this weekend’s three-day Pre-Lenten Carnival celebration, reports the Miami Herald. Police officers marched, on Monday, demanding the right to unionize while decrying the lack of pay, poor treatment and health insurance.
Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele deployed 1,400 additional soldiers to fight street gangs, in the midst of controversy after he attempted to strong-arm lawmakers into approving a loan to finance his security plan. The troops will join about 8,600 soldiers already battling crime, an increase of about 16 percent, reports Reuters.
Families of men killed in Colombia's 'false positives' extrajudicial killings scandal accuse former army chief Mario Montoya of withholding information in a transitional justice court hearing that started last week. (Al Jazeera)
Right-wing Bolivian presidential candidate Luis Fernando Camacho called on rivals to form a unified block to oppose former president Evo Morales' MAS party in May's election, reports AFP. (See yesterday's briefs.)
Mexico’s lower house of congress approved an increase in prison sentences for crimes of femicide and sexual abuse of minors, yesterday, reports Reuters. (See main post.)
Amnesty International sent an open letter to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador expressing concern about the president’s statements against civil society and human rights defenders in Mexico, the role of the National Guard in issues related to migration and the violation of the right to asylum, the lack of results in terms of violence against women and femicides, and the need to protect human rights in the public security field.
Argentine creditors are increasingly concerned about a messy default -- and the government's saber-rattling is only making them jumpier, reports the Financial Times.
A dispute between Chinese mining consortium Ecuagoldmining and Ecuador's government over a gold mining project that has been halted by objections from community activists could lead to a $480 million arbitration fight, reports Reuters.
El Estado opresor es un macho violador,
El Congreso opresor es un macho violador.
El violador eras vos,
el opresor sos vos.