Discover more from Latin America Daily Briefing
Latin America and the Caribbean at COP27
Nov. 9, 2022
Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley delivered a blistering attack on industrialized nations for failing the developing world on the climate crisis, at the COP27 U.N. climate talks in Sharm el-Sheikh. She said poor nations made rich countries' development possible, and now also pay the prices as victims of climate change they have not caused. (Guardian)
Mottley called for a trust focused on climate mitigation to unlock trillions of private sector financing and for the use of $500 billion in Special Drawing Rights — an international reserve asset that can provide countries around the world with liquidity — to unlock private sector capital to address the problem. (Devex, Washington Post)
Climate negotiators at COP27 agreed to put funding to address "loss and damage" on the negotiating agenda, in response to sustained pressure from small island states and other vulnerable nations, reports Reuters.
The presidents of Colombia and Venezuela, Gustavo Petro and Nicolas Maduro, launched at the summit, yesterday, for a wide-ranging alliance to protect the Amazon. Petro said Brazilian president-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will be key to such an alliance. (AFP)
Petro pledged, earlier in the summit, to set aside $200 million per year over the next two decades to protect the Amazon. (AFP)
Mexico’s government is expected to make a major announcement at COP27, but critics doubt the veracity of its likely climate pledges, which they say are old, inadequate and undeliverable, reports the Guardian. According to the carbon action tracker, a nonprofit science group tracking government climate action, Mexico’s climate policies under Amlo “continue to go backwards, as fossil fuel use is prioritised and climate-related policies and institutions dismantled.
"Even under the best case scenarios of mitigation and adaptation, hundreds of thousands of people will be forced from their homes in the coming decades due to climate change, adding to already strained systems of migrants and refugees. Preparing for that wave should be a regional priority at this week’s meetings and beyond," writes James Bosworth at the Latin America Risk Report.
The Indigenous Guna residents of Panama's Gardi Sugdub island will become the first residents in Latin America to be moved pre-emptively by their government from a territory that is likely to fall prey to rising sea levels within coming decades, reports the Wall Street Journal.
An Insight Crime and Igarapé Institute investigation reveals how wildlife trafficking, illegal logging, illicit gold mining, and slash-and-burn land clearance are spreading across five Amazonian countries: Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, Guyana, and Suriname.
These countries account for some 20 percent of the Amazon Basin and have collectively lost 10 million hectares of forest over the last two decades. “This in-depth report traces the chain of actors involved in the plunder, from the labor force harvesting trees and digging up gold to the brokers and corrupt officials that launder the ill-gotten materials. It also uncovers the land trafficking schemes that serve settlers who invade forests to sow palm oil and soy, as well as raise cattle, for the benefit of large-scale agribusiness.”
Debt-for-climate swaps have been around since the 1980s, and entered the mainstream with the coronavirus pandemic as countries were forced to take on new debt at a record pace. But the blue bond model pioneered by Belize is novel because it marshals the resources of global financial markets to unlock new conservation funding, reports the New York Times. Supporters say "debt relief initiatives could contribute to climate action by aligning the financial interests of international investors and small nations, giving them more resources for public spending and incentives to grow in a more sustainable way." (See post for Sept. 21, 2021)
The Darién gap passage “has grown into a multimillion dollar migrant business increasingly organized to move a maximum number of people — with guides who have assembled into cooperatives, locals who have marked the route with blue flags and trafficking operations that ply their services openly on Facebook and TikTok,” reports the New York Times. “As a result, tens of thousands of people are entering the harrowing jungle knowing the biggest barrier still lies ahead — finding some way into the United States.”
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador plans to host a meeting of regional leaders, including the presidents of Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru and Colombia. López Obrador has expressed hopes in the past of reforming the Organization of American States, and this month’s meeting may be part of that plan, reports the Associated Press.
French President Emmanuel Macron faced accusations of a major foreign policy about face after an apparently cordial encounter with his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro on the sidelines of COP27. (AFP)
Two-dozen of the most prominent journalists from Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Costa Rica announced the creation of the Network of Central American Journalists, an unprecedented regional association that plans to create mechanisms and channel resources to protect and support independent journalism and news media. (El Faro)
El Faro editor-in-chief Oscar Martínez writes about the difficulties and dangers Central American journalists confront: “I believe that we change things. I believe that we are an obstacle. But I also know that we don’t change anything as much as we would like to, as much as our demands; and that the obstacle we’ve been —and continue to be— is one that the corrupt routinely overcome.
China offered El Salvador help to refinance its foreign debt, according to Vice President Felix Ulloa. Bloomberg says “it’s an indication that the nation continues to look for ways to avoid defaulting on its dollar-denominated debt outright.”
The 2018 conflagration that destroyed Rio de Janeiro’s renowned natural-history museum and most of its 20 million artifacts has become an opportunity to rebuild the museum’s ethnology and ethnography division with the collaboration of Indigenous groups, reports the New York Times.
Mexican authorities are investigating businessman Martin Mobarak, who claims to have burned an authentic Frida Kahlo drawing in a bid to sell NFTs. Mexico classifies Kahlo’s artworks as national monuments, so if he did destroy it, he faces prison time, and if he didn’t, he might be accused of fraud, reports the New York Times.