Guatemala detains former prosecutor
March 20, 2023
Guatemala’s government arrested former prosecutor Orlando Salvador López on abuse-of-authority charges last week. It is the latest in a series of prosecutions against former prosecutors and anti-corruption investigators under President Alejandro Giammattei. López is best known for having brought to trial late dictator José Efraín Ríos Montt in 2013 for genocide committed against Indigenous Guatemalans. (Associated Press)
The Dominican Republic has stepped up deportations of Haitians, explusing thousands of people back to the crisis-racked country. Haitians say they are also often subjected to physical abuse by Dominican law enforcement amid an increasing climate of anti-Haitian prejudice in the DR, reports the Miami Herald. (See last Thursday’s briefs.)
A new Plan International report finds that “Gender-based violence is driving adolescent girls from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Mexico to embark on journeys along one of the world’s most dangerous migration routes… The report found that sexual and gender-based violence was seen as a common reason for migration by one in five (19.1%) adolescent girls. Social violence was cited by a further 11,7% of the adolescent girls interviewed.” — Americas Migration Brief
Five years after Nicaraguan security forces brutally repressed anti-government protests in April 2018, there has been no effort by the Ortega regime to investigate abuses, reports Confidencial.
A 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck the Ecuadorian coastal province of Guayas on Saturday, with strong impact in Peru as well. At least 15 people were killed and hundreds injured. (Reuters, Washington Post, Associated Press)
The increasing popularity of “mano dura” policies in Latin America is not the result of “ignorance or fanaticism,” rather a response to impunity for criminal violence and cooptation of regional governments by illicit interests, writes Jorge Mantilla in a Twitter threat.
Members of the international community — governments and financial institutions — pledged $855 million Friday for humanitarian and development projects to address the urgent needs of Venezuelans at home and abroad. The U.S. government offered more than $171 million, part of which will go for basic needs in the crisis-wracked country, and also for aid for Venezuelans who have migrated to other countries in South America. (Associated Press)
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador proposed a series of regional strategies to tackle inflation, including "getting rid of tariffs, eliminating red tape for imports, exports, with the purpose of ensuring sufficient supply and fighting shortages." The measures will be discussed at a virtual leaders’ anti-inflation summit that will include Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Honduras, Belize, Bolivia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. (La Jornada, Reuters, Forbes Mexico, La Jornada)
AMLO said the U.S. fentanyl crisis was caused by “a lack of hugs, of embraces,” the latest in a series of controversial statements on the opioid crisis, reports the Associated Press.
AMLO held a massive rally in CDMX, commemorating the 1938 expropriation of Mexico’s oil industry. Attended by tens of thousands of people, observers say it was the de-facto opening to the 2024 campaign season, reports the Associated Press.
Fulfilling the Mexico’s emissions reduction commitments will be a critical task for the next administration — the country has pledged to reduce its emissions by 35% in 2030. A plan on how to fulfill the promise is up to the next government, reports Americas Quarterly.
Trinidad and Tobago
Over 90 nationals of Trinidad and Tobago, including at least 56 children, are unlawfully detained in life-threatening conditions as Islamic State (ISIS) suspects and family members in northeast Syria, Human Rights Watch said today. The government of Trinidad and Tobago has taken almost no action to help them return, denounced Human Rights Watch, last month.
Brazil's government will investigate whether the country's intelligence agency illegally spied on Brazilians through their cell phones, Justice Minister Flavio Dino announced last week, following a media report that the agency bought and used Israeli software that allowed it to track the movement of up to 10,000 people for a year through their cellphone numbers, reports Reuters.
Scientists in Brazil have found two new species of fermenting yeasts and named them after journalist Dom Phillips and activist Bruno Pereira, who were killed in the Amazon last year. (Guardian)
Protesters are blocking access to a key lithium processing plant in Bolivia's Potosi region, demanding legislation that guarantees better benefits for local communities and larger royalties from extraction of “white gold,” reports Reuters.