Honduran military police fire on students, wound five (June 25, 2019)
Honduran military police opened fire on hundreds of protesting students. They wounded at least five students at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras (UNAH) -- some reports say eight. Forty military police officers, with about 300 police, clashed with about 2.000 students who blocked a road with the Tegucigalpa campus, demanding President Juan Orlando Hernández's resignation. Security forces said they responded to a hostage situation and that students threw Molotov cocktails.
The incursion represents a violation of university autonomy, said UNAH rector Francisco Herrera. The University decided to suspend academic activity until further notice.
Hernández, often referred to as JOH, said an investigation into the episode was already underway, but downplayed its gravity: saying the clash originated between protesting students and others wishing to attend classes.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Honduras expressed its "deep dismay over the consequences of the operation of the military forces".
Conflict in Honduras has been growing for nearly two months. Though it originated with austerity reforms for education and health sectors, the protests have morphed into calls for JOH's resignation and increasingly involve broader swathes of society. (See Friday's post.)
(El Heraldo, AFP, BBC, Infobae, Deutsche Welle, La Prensa)
Former Venezuelan intelligence chief Gen. Manuel Ricardo Cristopher Figuera, who played a key role in the failed April uprising against Nicolás Maduro, arrived in the U.S. yesterday, after two months in hiding in Colombia. The Washington Post reports in depth on the conspiracy -- the timetable was moved up by Figuera -- and how a Chavista stalwart switched sides. Figuera said his investigations while in Venezuela uncovered evidence of extensive illicit activity by key government officials and family members, including illegal gold trade, money laundering, and apparent government protection of illegal groups operating in Venezuela.
Months into Venezuela's legitimacy crisis -- and with Maduro still firmly in power -- citizens of liberal democratic countries have shown a romantic misconception of how dictatorships are toppled, argues Raúl Gallegos in a New York Times op-ed. International policy makers must prepare for worst-case scenarios, including who might take control if the government does eventually fall.
Last week Mexico's new immigration chief -- the last one quit after the migration deal with the U.S. -- promised to reduce migrants entering the country by 60 percent. Over the weekend newly deployed National Guard troops stepped up containment efforts at Mexico's southern border -- on Saturday alone they reportedly detained nearly 800 migrants heading north. (Guardian)
The deployment has been less dramatic than some expected, but has, nonetheless, scared would-be migrants -- at least temporarily, reports the New York Times.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador admitted the National Guard may have committed "excesses" in the detention of migrant women in Ciudad Juárez. (Reuters)
Mexico's migration concessions to the U.S. were made without an integrated strategy or budget allocation, writes Alexandra Delano in a critical Aula Blog post. Conceding to U.S. President Donald Trump's demand was a strategic error for Mexico, she argues, and leaves the country in a weakened position for future negotiations.
In any case the joint U.S.-Mexico repressive strategy is unlikely to work because it ignores the significant pull and push factors driving migration, writes Sandra Weiss in IPS.
U.S. border patrol agents in south Texas discovered the bodies of four people near the Mexican border. A woman in her 20s, a toddler, and two infants, they are believed to have died of dehydration and heat exposure after crossing the Rio Grande. (Associated Press)
In a separate case, a Salvadoran migrant and his toddler daughter drowned crossing the Rio Grande. (La Jornada)
A New York Times series features "op-eds from the future." In one, Malka Older sketches out a future in which 20 Latin American countries plan a supranational political and economic union. "Latinamérica Unida," which will have a common currency pegged to the yuan, is vehemently opposed by the U.S. in this hypothetical scenario. But the piece is relevant for today, particularly Older's argument that economic union -- and the prosperity it would likely encourage -- would reduce the benefits of undocumented migration to the U.S.
In an opinion piece from the present, former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden lashes out at Trump's Latin America policies -- particularly the vilification of immigrants in conjunction with policies, such as slashing aid to Central America, that seem likely to increase undocumented migration. (Miami Herald)
The United States and Canada slapped new sanctions on Nicaraguan officials close to President Daniel Ortega on Friday. They are accused of repressing dissidents and the press, enacting repressive laws, and denying people medical care, reports AFP.
The Bolsonaro administration has basically taken a wrecking ball to Brazil's highly regarded foreign office, Itamaraty, reports the Guardian. President Jair Bolsonaro has jettisoned decades of soft-power policy: cozying up to right-wing nationalists, giving up climate leadership, and irking China. The country's foreign relations head believes global warming is a Marxist conspiracy and that Nazism is a leftist movement.
A Brazilian Supreme Court judge suspended Bolsonaro's plan to transfer power over indigenous land to the country's agriculture ministry, reports Al Jazeera. (See last Thursday's briefs, and yesterday's.)
Another Supreme Court judge postponed a habeas corpus request from former president Luis Inácio Lula da Silva that was scheduled for today. (Globo)
Remember Bolsonaro's "golden shower" porn video tweet during Carnival? (See March 6's briefs.) The alleged debauchery was actually performance art by a provocative collective with solid philosophic underpinings. The artists fled São Paulo after the president's Tweet, afraid of increasing violence against LGBT people, reports the Guardian.
Italian mob boss Rocco Morabito, better known as "the cocaine king of Milan" escaped from a Uruguayan prison, along with three other foreign prisoners. (Guardian)
The drug route you've never heard of goes from South America to Australia, passing through South Pacific islands better known for tourism than trafficking, reports the Guardian.
Latin America faces a grave obesity health crisis, in large part related to processed foods. Clear food labels could help citizens discern what they are eating, but industry lobbyists have systematically campaigned in favor of disinformation, writes Soledad Barruti in a New York Times Español op-ed. Chile implemented a paradigmatic warning system for junk food, but attempts to replicate it in other countries have foundered under industry opposition.
Small-scale fishermen in Peru have turned into avid conservationists of the giant manta ray, as eco-tourism provides better economic opportunities than declining fish stock. (Guardian)
Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take? Let me know ...