LatAm global coronavirus leader (July 27, 2020)
Coronavirus cases in Latin America for the first time have surpassed the combined infections in the United States and Canada, according to a Reuters tally yesterday. A surge of infections in Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Colombia and Argentina make Latin America the region most impacted by the pandemic globally, with 26.83 percent of worldwide cases.
Economic recession coupled with pandemic pain threaten to unleash social unrest in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to several reports. (CNN)
More than 160,000 people have died from the novel coronavirus in the region, but from Mexico to Brazil, social networks are awash with quack cures and conspiracies, a tsunami of online disinformation designed to bamboozle and deceive, reports the Guardian. (See also last Friday's briefs.)
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro brandished a box of hydroxycholorquine pills in his announcement that he is now Covid-19 free, nearly three weeks after he tested positive. Bolsonaro then met with supporters and rode a motorcycle in Brasilia, a demonstration that he will likely continue his cavalier treatment of the pandemic, reports the New York Times.
International and national backlash to Brazil's rising deforestation rates have forced the Bolsonaro administration to react, but officials are hindered by "a deep distrust of global heating, fed by a far-right ideology reluctant to admit that the climate emergency has a human cause," reports the Guardian.
New evidence appears to connect JBS, the world’s biggest meat company, to cattle supplied from a farm in the Brazilian Amazon which is under sanction for illegal deforestation, reports the Guardian.
Guatemalan migrants in Florida, often working through the pandemic, are among the hardest-hit populations in the state, reports the Washington Post.
Mexican coronavirus czar Hugo López-Gatell has lost the movie-star sheen he had at the beginning of the pandemic -- the cause is not only his own missteps, but also the failures of a government model that tends towards improvisation rather than planning, argues Diego Fonseca in the New York Times Español.
Human rights non-profit Stand Up For Jamaica has launched a campaign to cover the legal costs of prisoners incarcerated without trial in the Jamaican penal system, reports the Jamaica Gleaner. The issue, has taken on notoriety in Jamaica after an independent government report found that mentally ill people have languished in Jamaican jails for decades without trial, far beyond the maximum sentences for their alleged crimes. (Global Voices)
The Cuban government's recent announcement of market liberalization policies comes in a context of economic crisis, but many are "welcome steps that have the potential to set the country on a path to more sustainable growth," according to the Cuba Study Group. The measures aim to prioritize domestic food production, reduce imports, legally recognize micro, small, and medium-sized companies, legalize non-agricultural cooperatives, and expand self-employment. In general, there is a move to grant greater autonomy to private and state enterprises and foster a partnership between both sectors, explains the Center for Democracy in the Americas.
An extensive analysis of Cuba's recent economic moves at La Joven Cuba.
Cuba's international medical brigades are increasingly in the limelight, due to the pandemic and U.S. efforts to punish countries that receive them. (See last Thursday's post.) "Their high-profile work in wealthy western as well as poorer nations has sharpened a bitter international controversy over Cuba’s longstanding policy," reports the Financial Times.
Colombian armed groups are imposing new levels of control during the coronavirus outbreak, and enforcing some of the strictest lockdown measures in the world — with violent penalties for violators, reports the Washington Post. In part this is to protect their own ranks from contagion, but also to exert territorial control, according to experts. (See post for July 16.)
The Revolutionary Alternative Force of the Common (FARC) political party reported the murder of a former combatant of the former FARC-EP guerrilla group in a rural area of the municipality of Cartagena del Chairá in south-western Colombia, reports Telesur.
A new law allowing Chileans to withdraw funds from their pensions in response to the country's current economic malaise is just the beginning of reforms that will change the country's market-oriented system, say some activists who promise to "go for more." Reuters)
Honduran Garífuna indigenous groups protested this weekend, demanding the release of five leaders who were kidnapped over a week ago in the Triunfo de la Cruz area. Witnesses said they were taken by armed men wearing police uniforms, reports El Heraldo. (See last Thursday's briefs.)
Evangelical churches offer one of the only ways for Salvadoran gang members to defect. But research suggests"that the crucial point might not only be the religious orientation of churches, but their ability to share the social spaces that the gang inhabits. To the extent that other NGOs can also access those spaces and being accepted by the community, they may give gang members some additional opportunities for disengagement," write José Miguel Cruz and Jonathan D. Rosen at the AULA blog.