Nicaragua passes "Cyber Crimes Law" (Oct. 28, 2020)
Nicaragua’s National Assembly passed the "Special Cyber Crimes Law" yesterday, mandating prison sentences for those who use online platforms to spread false information or information that could raise alarm among people. The law allows the government to define what information fits that description, reports the Associated Press.
Known as the "Gag Law" by critics, the measure aims to regulate internet content and silence adversaries of President Daniel Ortega, reports Confidencial. Press organizations say the definition of what constitutes "fake news" is completely discretional and that the bill will impede journalistic investigations. (Confidencial)
The law also penalizes those who use information systems to obtain data, documents or information about public institutions, reports AFP. The government has been accused of covering up the extent of the coronavirus pandemic's spread within the country, and
The new law is one of several such recent measures that affect press freedom, including a bill that categorizes Nicaraguans working for international organizations as "foreign agents," aimed at limiting (See Oct. 16's post.) Lawmakers are analyzing a constitutional reform that would punish "hate crimes" with life imprisonment. (AFP)
Human rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, say the measures aim at eliminating political opposition and civil society criticism. Nicaragua will hold presidential and legislative elections next year.
The Alianza Cívica split off from the Coalición Nacional this week. (Confidencial)
The U.S. and Brazilian presidents -- Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro -- undermined Latin America's defenses against Covid-19, reports the New York Times. The two share an intense disregard for the virus, exemplified by a March visit to Florida, which resulted in 22 members of the Brazilian delegation testing positive. Trump also shared his vision of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment, an approach wholeheartedly touted by Bolsonaro at home. But the two have also attacked Cuba's medical missions, leaving impoverished populations with inadequate health workers, and attacked the Pan-American Health Organization.
U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden and his team of foreign policy advisers have created plans for the region that are both a repudiation of the current administration's hardball approach and an attempt to resurrect Obama-era initiatives, writes Ernesto Londoño in the New York Times. Biden and his team of experts, which includes immigrants from Latin America, say they would take a broader approach to the immigration issue, among other things.
"In America through Foreign Eyes, academic and former Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda turns a sympathetic outsider’s eye on Americans to offer an intriguingly positive interpretation of where the country is headed," writes Gregory Weeks in Americas Quarterly.
Chileans who voted to scrap their constitution on Sunday signaled a strong rejection of the “guardian” or “protected” democracy created by the dictatorship-era 1980 charter. Many Chileans view the existing constitution as a key obstacle for undoing entrenched inequities, indeed, it was drafted to do exactly that, writes Josh Frers-String in Nacla. It is tempting to view the current moment as a continuation of Salvador Allende's interrupted political process. "But the diversity of movements involved in the last year of protest is perhaps illustrative of an even more profound and democratic process than that which occurred in the early 1970s ... Chileans today are determined to reinvent how and where democracy is practiced. The focus on refounding Chile with a new, citizen-drafted is the centerpiece of that process."
The U.S. wants Haiti to hold parliamentary elections by January, in order to to renew the entire Lower Chamber of Deputies, two-thirds of the 30-member Senate and all local offices, including mayors. The dismissal of Parliament in early January of this year has left President Jovenel Moïse ruling by decree and the end of mayoral terms this past July, means that he’s now one of just 11 elected officials in the country of 11 million residents, reports the Miami Herald.
Kanye West revealed that he's planning on helping to build a smart city in Haiti -- "a city of the future." He said President Jovenel Moïse gave him an island to develop. But, apparently the island in question, Île de la Tortue, actually belongs to a Texan lawyer. (Miami Herald, FNR-Tigg)
Haitian and Dominican authorities agreed to reopen the border between the two countries for trade. (Dominican Today)
The killing of ELN commander Uriel probably won’t have much impact on the guerrilla group as a whole, reports InSight Crime. (See Monday's briefs.)
Brazil's government will extend the military’s deployment to fight destruction of the Amazon rainforest by five months, reports Reuters.
Guatemalan health workers say they carry out duties in deplorable conditions, and face backlash for speaking out -- Al Jazeera.
A Bolivian court nullified an arrest order against former president Evo Morales on terrorism charges, reports EFE.
Screens -- our portal for books, meetings, movies, parties and newsletters -- are uniform, and lack the physical diversity of paper, actual meeting places and other people, which are key in creating memories, writes Jorge Carrión in New York Times Español.
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