Guaidó, a year later (Jan. 23, 2020)
Efecto Cocuyo reviews the year since opposition leader Juan Guaidó proclaimed himself Venezuela's interim-leader, and rapidly obtained widespread international recognition but little more in terms of concrete power.
The Venezuelan opposition challenge to Nicolás Maduro's government has fizzled in the past year, leaving Venezuelans with the scourge of living with "two parallel States, different in essence, but identical in their absence and incompetence to resolve people's problems," writes Melanio Escobar in Post Opinión. "What was supposed to be the search for solutions before a human rights crisis, has become a power game, a continuation of the fight for the political over the human."
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to Jamaica yesterday demonstrated a schism between Caribbean countries with regard to the U.S., particularly its efforts to oust Venezuela's Maduro government, reports the Wall Street Journal. Barbados, which chairs the 15-country bloc of Caribbean countries known as Caricom, decided to skip the meeting, and denounced that some members of the bloc had not been invited. (See yesterday's briefs.)
Cuba and the U.S. are sparring over the the prolonged detention of a Cuban dissident -- but the story of José Ferrer is less obvious than it seems, reports the Conversation. The piece looks at Ferrer's story, but also how categories we use for Cuba such as "opposition" or "dissidents" are more nuanced than the Cold War terminology we rely on.
Polling in Peru suggests a broken political system, with no one party predicted to get more than 10 percent of the vote in Sunday's legislative elections, according to the Latin America Risk Report. In fact, the latest Ipsos poll found 43 percent of people plant to cast a blank or spoiled ballot.
Gunmen attacked Guadalupe Michel Lima in Mexico City yesterday, when she was on her way to testify regarding her sister's assassination. Lima is the daughter of a well-known activist, and the main witness of her sister's femicide. (Animal Político)
Members of the LeBarón family -- relatives of the nine women and children killed last year by gunmen -- have embarked on a quixotic quest for justice not just for the massacre victims, but also the many thousands of people murdered or vanished amid Mexico’s cartel violence, reports the Guardian.
A New York Times video shows the clash between Mexican National Guard troops and Central American migrants attempting to cross the Guatemalan border irregularly. (See Tuesday's post.)
El Faro has launched in English (for now in newsletter format, sign up here), bringing its in-depth investigative reporting to a broader audience. Check out this article by Carlos Martínez on how "the wall at Mexico’s southern border swallowed the last caravan in one fell swoop, leaving no trace." (See Tuesday's post.)
A new novel about a Mexican immigrant and her child fleeing violence at home -- American Dirt -- has raised controversy among critics who say the portrayal is inaccurate or question the writer's aptitude for the topic. (Guardian)
Also from El Faro's new English section, coverage of testimony by former soldiers against their superiors in the ongoing El Mozote case, by Nelson Rauda. "The direct naming of the suspects is an inflexion point in the case, which was reopened in 2016 and has been in the discovery phase for three years already. During this phase, the court will receive evidence and determine whether it is sufficient to take the case to trial."
Mass mobilizations are nothing new in Latin America, but "the depth and ferocity of the rage that spilled into the streets in 2019 in Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, and Venezuela surprised leaders and long-time observers. The causes of this new wave of protests were diverse, defying easy generalizations," explains a new article from the Wilson Center -- Postcards from the Edge. "If 2019 will be remembered as the year the Latin American street exploded in anti-incumbent indignation, 2020 will be marked by efforts to put the genie back in the bottle, or at least constructively direct public anger to promote meaningful change."
Street protests in Latin America last year -- ongoing in some countries this year -- respond to government failures to address inequality, but also a "widespread perception of a lack of fairness," writes Michael Shifter in a New York Times op-ed. He calls for "sustained efforts to create paths of social mobility that are secure and stable," which "demands not only sound growth and redistribution policies, but also the opening up of greater access to economic and political power, breaking the nexus between private interests and the political class, and attaining equal justice under the law."
Chile's government might postpone regional elections, scheduled for October, after local governments said they are unprepared to hold votes, reports La Tercera.
Latin America's trend towards decentralization is driven by demands for increased government efficiency, but the evident benefits should not overshadow one big risk involved: a surge in corruption, write Roberto Simon and Emilie Sweigart in Americas Quarterly.
Brazil is teetering on the edge of authoritarianism -- a trend that precedes President Jair Bolsonaro, but which has been exacerbated greatly under his government, writes lawmaker David Miranda in the Guardian. (See yesterday's post.)
The Real Academia Española has spoken, and ended the endless debate over how female presidents should be referred to in Spanish. "Presidenta." (Página 12)
Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take? Let me know ...