Nicaragua to free political prisoners (March 21, 2019)
Nicaragua's government promised to release all protest-related detainees over the next 90 days. Freedom for political prisoners, approximately 760, is the opposition alliance's key demand in order to continue negotiations with the Ortega administration. In return, the government requested that international sanctions against the Ortega administration be lifted. (Associated Press)
The agreement was brokered by an OAS special representative, Luis Angel Rosadilla, and the papal nuncio Waldemar Stanisław Sommertag. They are monitoring and assisting talks between the government and the opposition Alianza Cívica, scheduled to continue today. The Alianza Cívica said it will demand the annulment of charges against anti-government protesters in the negotiations. Other points will include "strengthening citizens' rights" and "electoral reforms." (Confidencial, Al Jazeera, and BBC)
Negotiators said they asked the International Red Cross to monitor the release of prisoners, and that the 90 days are a maximum ceiling for liberation. It's the first time the government recognizes the existence of political prisoners, reports Artículo 66.
Earlier this week the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights emphasized that political prisoners must be freed in order for the dialogue process to continue -- the IACHR documented 647 cases of arbitrary detention in Nicaragua since April 18, 2018. (Confidencial) Women political prisoners have suffered grave human rights violations in detention, including physical and sexual torture, writes activist and former detainee Yaritza Rostrán Mairena in a letter to Michelle Bachelet, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. (Confidencial)
More from Nicaragua
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Nicaragua's political turmoil is having a negative impact on Central American immigration and the region’s economy, Costa Rican president Carlos Alvarado told the Associated Press.
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó's chief of staff was detained by intelligence agents today. Roberto Marrero was detained by dozens of masked Sebin officers who broke down his door this morning, reports the Guardian. The move significantly escalates the country's political crisis and could lead to more U.S. sanctions, reports the New York Times.
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Fred Ramos' photographs chronicle the long-term crises pushing Central American's to migrate in search of safety and opportunities. (New York Times)
The widow of an assassinated Mexican journalist was targeted with government-purchased spyware just days after his death. The internet watchdog group Citizen Lab found that Griselda Triana, widow of Javier Valdéz, received two text messages with deceptive links to software which would have infected her smartphone if downloaded and installed. The links were made to appear to be to Animal Político and Proceso sites. Two of Valdéz's colleagues at the Riodoce weekly in Sinaloa received similar links., (Guardian and Animal Político) Previous Citizen Lab investigations showed the Pegasus software was used to spy on human rights activists. (See post for July 11, 2017.)
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Mexico is advancing towards creating a National Guard, but it's not clear that the new security force will be able to actually improve the country's security, reports InSight Crime.
Government bureaucratic delays threaten civil society financing, reports Animal Político.
The former head of the Mexican Oil Workers’ Union faces mounting corruption allegations that could topple one of the country's most powerful political operatives, reports InSight Crime.
Fifteen people were arrested in Tijuana for stealing razor wire U.S. authorities used to strengthen security along the border with Mexico. (Guardian)
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"Today, authoritarianism has emerged as the greatest challenge facing the liberal democratic world — a profound ideological, as well as strategic, challenge," writes Robert Kagan in a Washington Post opinion essay.
Former Brazilian president Michel Temer was arrested today. He faces ten counts of corruption, five for crimes allegedly committed while he was president, reports the Washington Post.
Brazil's government proposed a military retirement overhaul that would save a net $2.8 billion over the next decade. It's meant to compliment a controversial civilian pension reform plan that would save $250 billion, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro welcomes comparisons with U.S. President Donald Trump. Indeed his rocky start at government resembles that of Trump, writes Brian Winter for Americas Quarterly. But economic difficulties and an inexperienced team could hinder Bolsonaro's efforts to emulate Trump's successes.
A new U.S. policy limits visa opportunities for Cubans, a measure that will hurt families and the island's emerging private sector, reports the Miami Herald.
Deforestation in Peru is largely driven by criminal economies -- InSight Crime.
Global drug control policies are unrealistic and have taken a harsh toll on the world's poorest people, argue Louise Arbour and Mohamed ElBaradei in the Guardian.
"After decades of wasted money and lost lives, it is time for governments to stop prosecuting a futile war on psychoactive substances, and instead embrace drug legalization and regulation," write Juan Manuel Santos, Ernesto Zedillo,Ruth Dreifuss in Project Syndicate.
Travel warnings have been eased for pregnant women as the Zika virus threat has diminished. (Washington Post)
Argentine authorities and the DEA uncovered a Buenos Aires-based sophisticated criminal organization that sold opioids and counterfeit medicines online to US customers. (InSight Crime)
A five year old boy was rescued in Argentina's San Juan province, after being lost in a desert for 22 hours. (Guardian)