Guatemala's justice under attack (July 17, 2020)
Guatemala's fragile justice system is increasingly in peril, as corrupt interests take advantage of a population distracted by the health crisis to revert anti-impunity gains of recent years, reports the Associated Press. (See last Friday's post and Monday's briefs.) Prominent anti-corruption crusaders have faced various forms of harassment and retaliation. United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers Diego García Sayán has asked Guatemala’s Congress and government to respect judicial independence. Moves against independent judges are “a clear attempt by criminal and corrupt networks to take control of the justice system to obtain impunity and protection for themselves,” said WOLA's Adriana Beltrán.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro deserves to be recognized as the world's worst pandemic president, argues Felipe Neto in a comic (but sad because it's true) New York Times video op-ed.
Anger is mounting against Bolsonaro, as the country's caseload continues to climb at a dizzying pace, reports Reuters. The share of Brazilians that see his government as bad or terrible has risen to 44% according to a late June survey by pollster Datafolha. That was up from 38% in April and 36% in December.
Bolsonaro often posits a dichotomy between environmental protection and economic development -- but voices from Brazil's private sector are clamoring for the government to clamp down on illicit Amazon activity, writes Pualo Hartung, the executive president of Ibá (the Brazilian Tree Industry) in Americas Quarterly.
Pandemic responses in Latin America are hampered by structural limitations and political demagoguery, argue health experts José Gomes Temporão and Miguel Lago in a New York Times Español op-ed. They recommend three essential actions: prolong social distancing measures, establish adequate emergency payments, and intelligent use of primary health attention to effectively isolate symptomatic cases.
Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said he met with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro yesterday, but was unable to win the release of several Americans detained by the government, reports the Associated Press.
The pandemic is further eroding political stability in Bolivia, reports the Associated Press. Political tensions between the interim-government and the legislature, controlled by the MAS party of ousted president Evo Morales are high, and the human cost of Covid-19 is too.
A nine-year-old girl was killed in crossfire between the Gulf Clan and the ELN in Colombia's Chocó department, reports El Tiempo. The community affected by the territorial dispute had moved to the area two months ago, displaced by combat between armed groups.
Colombian authorities reported the capture of six suspects involved in the murders of social leaders in the Chocó department, reports Telesur.
The June murder of a 12-year-old Paraguayan girl, found with signs of sexual abuse, is just the latest in a series of cases of extreme violence towards indigenous girls that has promted large protests demanding justice, reports the Guardian.
Nicaraguans are being stigmatized in Costa Rica after a spike in Covid-19 infections among workers at agricultural facilities near the northern border, reports Nacla.
Pandemic is hitting Chile's already battered social system -- ratifying protest demands last year for better education and health policies from the government, reports the Economist. "Calls for a more active state by the left are now echoed by politicians on the right ... In their support for sical benefits, like low-income housing, they sound more like European Christian Democrats than laissez-faire liberals."
Former Pemex head Emilio Lozoya was extradited from Spain to Mexico yesterday, where he reportedly has a deal with prosecutors to turn over evidence that politicians were bribed to support an energy reform championed by former Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto. (Washington Post)
Panamanian authorities arrested 19 people who allegedly formed part of an arms trafficking group, including officials and former high-ranking security officers, and recovered 34 weapons from a batch of 86 under investigation, reports EFE.
Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra reshuffled his cabinet this week -- he replaced more than half his cabinet amid dropping popularity ratings, reports Reuters. He appointed lawyer Pedro Cateriano as prime minister, and appointed economist Rafael Belaunde to the energy and mining ministry. Rock-star economy minister María Antonieta Alva remains.
Peru reopened domestic air travel this week, reports AFP.
Latin America is likely to triple car ownership by 2050, and that growing market is an opportunity for the region’s policymakers to expand electric vehicle ownership and production, according to the Wilson Center's Weekly Asado.
Argentina has suspended exports to China from eight meatpacking plants after cases of the novel coronavirus were found among their employees, reports Reuters.
China said it was suspending imports from three Ecuadorean shrimp producers after detecting coronavirus in recent shipments, reports Reuters.
I hope you're all staying safe and as sane as possible, given the circumstances ... Comments and critiques welcome, always.