Migrations & In/Stabilities in the Region (Dec 5, 2019)
Venezuelan youth in Brazil: Venezuelan children are fleeing to Brazil on their own twhere they are finding inadequate protection, according to the Brazilian Federal Public Defender’s Office and reported on by Human Rights Watch. About 90% of the 500 kids are between ages 13 and 17. "The total number is most likely higher, as some children may not stop at the border post where the public defenders conduct their interviews. No system exists to track and support unaccompanied children after their entry interview."
Venezuelans in Bolivia: Venezuelans who migrated to Bolivia live in additional fear with the new political climate and the growing xenophobia that targets them, according to DIario Las Américas. Many are opting to keep migrating to places "where there is no conflict" like Paraguay.
Haitians in Barbados: Haitian migrants face deportation and stigma in hurricane-ravaged Bahamas, writes Bertin Louis in The Conversation. Louis is the author of a 2014 academic book on the two islands.
Climate crisis forces unintended migrations with ill consequences in gender equality, writes Nitya Rao in The Conversation. "In a recent study, we found that extreme weather and unpredictable seasons disproportionately weaken the agency of women to find well paid work and rise above rigid gender roles, even when these appear to be bending after decades of reform and activism."
IN/STABILITY IN THE REGION
USA Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a little-noticed speech on Monday titled, Diplomatic Realism, Restraint, and Respect in Latin America, where he said, "we in the Trump administration will continue to support countries trying to prevent Cuba and Venezuela from hijacking those protests. And we’ll work with legitimate governments to prevent protests from morphing into riots and violence that don’t reflect the democratic will of the people. And we’ll be vigilant too. Vigilant that new democratic leaders don’t exploit people’s frustrations to take power, to hijack the very democracy that got them there." (the quote is near the end of his text). VOA News emphasized his predictions on Maduro's government while Al-Jazeera his comments on Cuba.
Brazil, Mexico and Argentina seem to be avoiding any social disruption unlike developments seen in Chile, Colombia, Bolivia and Ecuador, according to an analysis by Bloomberg. The article suggests that all three had elections in the past year and their populations are now "waiting for results."
Are Latin America's generals considering a return to governing, asks Mac Margolis in his Bloomberg column. (He was a long-time Newsweek reporter in the region.) He suggests that the presidents in Peru and Ecuador have "leaned" on their military recently; reminds that Brazil's Bolsonaro, is "a former army captain packed his cabinet with decorated retired generals"; and that generals clearly provoked the recent changes in Bolivia. In a follow-up tweet, Margolis says, "What’s in play today in Brazil and its neighbors is not a return to martial rule, but the parlous state of democracy, and lingering doubts over whether elected leaders can meet expectations of a demanding public without ringing for backup."
On Wednesday, the Organization of American States released their final report on the 2019 Bolivian elections. The 38 authors find that there was "intentional manipulation" and "serious irregularities" that make it "impossible to validate the results originally issued by the Bolivian electoral authorities". (See press release; Table of Contents; Reuters; BBC)
The Wall Street Journal goes back to analyze the growing rifts former president Evo Morales had with his military chiefs, a combination of leftist ideology by the ex-president and demands for raises in police salaries and pensions by the latter. The article notes that Morales was the Bolivia’s "only elected president to perform obligatory military service."
BRAZIL UPS & DOWNS
A swath of jungle nearly the size of Lebanon has been been razed in the past year in the Brazilian Amazon - "the highest loss in a decade" - according to a report in New York Times accompanied by haunting video, photographs and graphics. "The environmental criminals feel more and more empowered," says Carlos Nobre, a climate scientist with the University of São Paulo.
Brazil’s economy is growing at the "fastest pace" in the last year and a half, and "appears to be leaving behind years of sluggish growth that followed its worst recession on record," according to the Wall Street Journal.
National strikes started up again on Wednesday in Colombia's major cities, according to the BBC. The organzing committee has presented a list of 13 demands to Preside Duque including better access to education and promises the pension age will not be raised.
Pulzo follows up on 18-year-old Dilan Cruz, killed by police in the Nov 23 strike in Bogota. A five-minute video identifies the policeman (not by name) who fired the shot. The video was compiled by La Liga Contra el Silencio, Cerosetenta, Newsy and Bellingcat.
Ex-FARC participants "may be allying themselves" with Brazil’s Red Command, according to Las 2 Orrillas. Together they seem to have access to financial resourses and weapons.
The military program 'Guardianes de la Patria' has a lethal mix of God, country and children and has now included 12% of the population., according to Contra Corriente. (The quote is: "A lo largo de 17 años, el programa ha abarcado aproximadamente el 12% de la población infantil de Honduras.") The program has allowed the Armed Forces to whitewash some actions, permitted churches (including Protestants) to engage directly in schools. The report includes a one-minute video created by the program that explains their impact in their own words. The Honduran military has additional information from 2018 on their website.
Mexico's former presidents Felipe Calderón and Enrique Peña Nieto helped a dozen major international companies evade taxes of up to 5 billion Mexican pesos (over US$250 million), according to a report from FUNDAR, reported by El Proceso and El Financiero. The report names businesses (Hewlett Packard and Volkswagen) as well as members of the business elite.
A new poll shows that Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó and President Nicolas Maduro are in a statistical tie (10 and 9%), according to the Miami Herald. Though that poll from Meganálisis is the focus of the story, the article also reported that that "Delphos issued a survey giving Guaidó an approval rating of about 45 percent." Meganálisis, the Herald insists, "has been around for years and has been relatively accurate with its predictions in the past." (See full Meganálisis poll; email me if you have trouble downloading it).
USA policy on Venezuela is ‘incoherent’, writes former Amb. Frank McNeil in his letter to the editor in the Miami Herald. McNeil was ambassador to Costa Rica.
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof shares more of his recent visit to Venezuela. "Development experts worry even more about the lifelong effect of malnutrition on the developing brain, fearing that the result will be a generation that is at a perpetual cognitive disadvantage."
A report shows the torture endured by a friend of Óscar Pérez, the Venezluelan pilot who tried to rebel in 2018, according to Infobae. Alonso José Mora Alfonzo was detained in april of 2018 and is still imprisoned.
END OF THE DECADE
America's Quarterly decides not to go with an end of the year review but rather "a look back at the decade's biggest stories, and why they really mattered." The first two they have cited: Dilma's impeachment in Brazil and Haiti's earthquake.
(I am substituting for Jordana who returns us to our regular programming.)