Lula bows out (Sept. 12, 2018)
Former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva officially stepped down from October's presidential race, passing the baton on to his VP candidate, Fernando Haddad. In an open letter read to supporters yesterday, Lula denounced his imprisonment for corruption as a "judicial farce" and "political revenge." (See yesterday's briefs and Monday's.)
Lula is the voter favorite, but it remains to be seen whether he will be able to transfer his popularity to Haddad, a former São Paulo mayor. Some pollsters point to Haddad's steady growth in polls, from 2 percent in June to 9 percent in the latest Datafolha poll. (Guardian) And a Datafolha poll from earlier this year found that about 30 percent of those surveyed would vote for whomever Lula picked to replace him, notes the Wall Street Journal.
The poll, published Monday, shows far-right wing candidate Jair Bolsonaro firmly in the lead without Lula's participation. But he did not receive an expected bump in support after a stabbing at a campaign event last week, notes Reuters. Leftist Ciro Gomes is in second place, at 13 percent.
It is unlikely that any candidate would win outright on Oct. 7. The Datafolha poll found that Bolsonaro would likely lose badly against the other top candidates in a second round of voting, except for Haddad, with whom he would tie.
Market-favorite Geraldo Alckmin rose only one point, to 10 percent, despite dominating the political advertising on TV and radio over the past 10 days, notes Bloomberg.
More from Brazil
Brazil's top court rejected accusations that Bolsonaro discriminated against communities descended from escaped slaves. (Bloomberg)
Guatemalan protests intensify
Protesters blocked the entrance to Guatemala's Congress yesterday, effectively stopping a vote on a bill that would give lawmakers the power to oversee the process of stripping politicians of their immunity. (El Periódico) Over two-thousand police officers were deployed today to surround Congress, where lawmakers are expected to pass the measure. (El Periódico)
But La Hora reported a heavy military presence on the streets as well, in conjunction with a protest called by CODECA and university students against President Jimmy Morales and his measures against the U.N. anti-graft commission -- part of a week long series of demonstrations in favor of the CICIG. (See yesterday's post.) Human rights prosecutor Jordan Rodas said the army deployment was incorrect and intimidatory for anti-government demonstrators. (La Hora)
More from Guatemala
The former mayor of Quetzaltenango, Jorge Rolando Barrientos Pellecer, was detained yesterday. The Public Ministry and the CICIG said he led a graft network responsible for charging up to 40 percent kickbacks on 122 public works contracts. A total of 16 people were detained yesterday in relation to the case, despite the absence of CICIG head Iván Velásquez who was barred from entering Guatemala last week by Morales. (El Periódico and La Hora)
Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra is willing to potentially dissolve the country's opposition-led Congress if lawmakers refuse to accompany his push for a public referendum on anti-corruption measures. (Associated Press) Vizcarra's push against corruption has led to a standoff with Popular Force lawmakers, World Politics Review analyzes the case.
Venezuela welcomed incoming U.N. Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet. (AFP)
Mexico's Morena party solidified its control in Congress, negotiating its way to an absolute majority in the lower chamber a week after the current session started. Americas Quarterly characterizes the maneuvering involved as "highly controversial."
President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador has promised to implement environmentally sensitive policies -- but also to freeze oil prices and build a massive new refinery in his home state of Tabasco, reports the Washington Post.
AMLO is preparing a labor overhaul that would prohibit collective contracts signed by union leaders and employers without worker consent. (Wall Street Journal)
The mayor-elect of Cochoapa El Grande, a city in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, and his driver went missing over the weekend. (EFE)
Another social leader was killed in Colombia -- Leidy Correa Valle in Antioquia -- bringing the wave of deaths to over 80 this year. (Colombia Reports)
Colombian security forces killed the leader of a criminal group composed of dissident FARC guerrillas. Víctor David Segura Palacios, known as "David," allegedly led Guerrillas Unidas del Pacífico, and his death could potentially open up a conflict as alternate groups seek to fill the power vacuum in one of the most important drug trafficking corridors in the world, according to InSight Crime.
A Nicaraguan drug trafficker was arrested having dinner in San José with the son of a Nicaraguan Supreme Court magistrate. The episode adds to suspicions of criminal influence on Nicaragua's judicial institutions, reports InSight Crime.
An Inter-American Commission on Human Rights visit to Honduras last month didn't stop heavy handed repression of human rights defenders. Several journalists were violently attacked and threatened. A lawyer and an environmental defender were murdered, according to the latest Honduras Forum Switzerland monthly report by Daniel Langmeier. The report also has updates on the stalled National Dialogue over last year's fraudulent elections, and the Berta Cáceres trial.
The Venezuelan exodus, and increasing difficulties refugees face in entering other countries, could make the migrants easy prey for criminal networks, reports InSight Crime.
Ecuador announced it would auction eight oil blocks in the Amazonian province of Sucumbios. (Reuters)
More from Brazil
Museum studies students in Rio de Janeiro put out an appeal for photos and videos of items lost in the recent National Museum blaze. (See Sept. 4's briefs.) They have so far received 14,000 replies – including videos, photos, written recollections and even drawings -- reports the Guardian.
Yesterday marked the 45th anniversary of the 1973 coup against Salvador Allende's government. (EFE) In an interview with Jacobin, historian Marian Schlotterbeck talks about Chile's three years of socialist government before its violent overthrow.
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