Impeachment proceedings against Lasso
May 10, 2023
Ecuadorean lawmakers voted to move forward with impeachment proceedings against President Guillermo Lasso, yesterday. He is accused of embezzlement, though his lawyers say the accusations are politically motivated.
Yesterday’s vote means that both sides will be allowed to present evidence before the National Assembly. To remove the president, at least 92 of the Assembly’s 137 members — more than two-thirds — would have to vote in favor later this month, reports the Associated Press.
The vote comes despite a report from the assembly's oversight committee, which heard witnesses last month and concluded there is no cause for Lasso's trial or removal, reports Reuters.
Ecuadorean legislation permits so-called “muerte cruzada:” the president could dissolve the Assembly and govern by decree for up to six months, after which he would have to call for new presidential and legislative elections.
However, the country’s largest Indigenous federation, the CONAIE, would respond to that scenario with mass protests, which would pose a significant governance challenge, reports the Washington Post.
Leonidas Iza, the head of the CONAIE, said the impeachment process aims to “provide the country with an exit door, with the dismissal of a president that has deepened the crisis in 24 months and has put the state in the hands of the mobs, as he has sunk the people into poverty and terror.”
Ecuador announced the world's largest "debt-for-nature" swap yesterday, selling a new "blue bond" that will funnel at least $12 million a year into conservation of the Galapagos Islands. (New York Times, Reuters)
Biden administration seeks to restrict asylum access
The U.S. Biden administration plans to drastically restrict access to asylum, a regulation aimed at rapidly deporting migrants who cross the country’s border with Mexico starting tomorrow. The new regulation was published today, and hundreds of U.S. asylum officers were trained on how to enforce the restriction yesterday, as officials brace for a surge in border crossings when Title 42, a pandemic-related health policy permitting rapid deportation, expires, reports CBS News. (See Monday’s post.)
The new policy — which requires migrants to apply for refugee status in countries they pass through on the way to the U.S., like Mexico — will likely be challenged in court, and represents “a growing bipartisan rejection of the asylum laws that Congress enacted in 1980 to conform with international treaties designed to prevent nations from turning away refugees to places where they could be persecuted,” reports CBS.
Administration officials insist the government is advancing on a more humane immigration enforcement model. But rights advocates say U.S. President Joe Biden has failed to follow through on campaign promises to honor asylum commitments — indeed, more than 2 million migrants have been turned away at the border under Title 42 over the past two years, reports the Washington Post.
A group of Democrats, led by lawmakers from border states, are urging Biden to end Trump-era sanctions on Cuba and Venezuela, which have battered those countries’ economies, contributing to the current surge of migrants. (Washington Post)
Thousands of migrants from Venezuela, afflicted by uncertainty over what regulations will be like after Thursday, have tried to cross into the U.S. illegally this week, reports AFP.
Lenca indigenous and peasant women in western Honduras are leading efforts to defend their lands and human rights in their communities, standing up to large construction and resource-extraction projects, despite threats, reports EFE.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said his country's judiciary is "rotten," after the Supreme Court invalidated a part of an electoral reform he championed, reports Reuters. (See yesterday’s briefs.)
Mothers Day, celebrated May 10, has always been a key Mexican holiday. “But in recent years, as cartel-fueled violence has overwhelmed the nation, the holiday has taken on a more sinister tone: more than 100,000 people have disappeared in Mexico since 1964, according to government figures, leaving tens of thousands of mothers across the country bereft,” reports the Guardian.
Telegram doubled down on a tech company campaign against a bill aimed at combating digital disinformation. The messaging app warned, yesterday, that "democracy is under attack in Brazil," a week after President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's government accused Google of "deceitful and abusive propaganda" against the bill, reports AFP. (See yesterday’s briefs.)
Rita Lee, the legendary Brazilian musician, composer and founder of the trailblazing band Os Mutantes, has died at 75. (Guardian)
David Miranda, a former Brazilian congressman and activist, died aged 37. (Guardian)
The Petro administration’s health care reform proposal sparked controversy for, among other things, including “ancestral medicine.” But “Ttaditional Afro and Indigenous medicine is nothing new. It is part of national and international medical standards, and it is practiced daily in cities like Bogotá,” reports El País.
Colombia wants to rebuild industrial production in areas such as textiles, fertilizers, metalworking and pharmaceuticals, part of an effort to reduce its account deficit and dependency on oil and mining, according to the Petro administration’s new finance minister, Ricardo Bonilla. (Financial Times)
The Chilean Senate’s finance committee approved a controversial bill that would raise taxes on the mining industry. The bill is scheduled to go to the floor of the Senate today, before heading back to the Lower House for a potential final vote. (Bloomberg)
Chevron’s renewed oil operations in Venezuela begin a new phase next month that will boost production with the goal of accelerating a plan to recover all of the $3 billion of debt owed by the country by the end of 2025, reports Reuters.