Peru's protest repression -- NYT
March 16, 2023
Peru’s security forces repeatedly responded to anti-government protests with what experts called excessive force. The actions included firing shotguns at civilians with lethal ammunition, shooting assault rifles at fleeing protesters and killing unarmed people hundreds of feet away, according to a New York Times investigation.
Forty-eight civilians have been killed in protests since President Pedro Castillo was ousted in early December, and more than 970 have been injured. The Times investigation found that most of the deaths were caused by firearms.
Growing calls for justice for victims of repression pose a hurdle to restoring peace in Peru, reports Reuters. Experts say the current wave of protests is new in Peru, and the lack of perceived accountability is dangerous for democracy.
The gravity of the Nicaraguan Ortega regime’s human rights violations merits decisive regional action, argue Human Rights Watch’s Tamara Taraciuk and Juan Pappier in La Nación. “Democratic governments in Latin America should establish a “Group of Friends”, made up of governments from across the political spectrum, to contribute to a democratic transition in Nicaragua.”
At least five members of a Nicaraguan Indigenous group were killed and three others wounded in an attack by suspected settlers over the weekend. The massacre victims belonged to the Mayangna community. There have been attacks against Indigenous people in the area for years, largely by settlers seeking their land. Such killings often go unpunished in Nicaragua, where many of the settlers are former soldiers, reports the Associated Press.
The Dominican Republic has clamped down on migration from Haiti with a fence that covers nearly half the border between the neighboring countries, and sending tens of thousands of Haitians back home. Deportees have included hundreds of pregnant women and unaccompanied minors, reports the Washington Post.
Border restrictions set by the U.S. Biden administration in early January have led to a large drop in the number of Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan migrants crossing into the United States illegally this year. The measures have been massively criticized by human rights advocates. (Washington Post)
The apparent success of the U.S.’s restrictive measures will have a knock-on effect in Latin America, where countries are also facing an increase in migration. “If the U.S. measures end up restoring border control at the expense of asylum and legal pathways, many other countries will take it as a signal to pursue a more restrictive approach too,” writes Andrew Selee in Americas Quarterly. “If so, this would undermine the impressive openness and pragmatism demonstrated by Latin American and Caribbean countries during this period of unusually high regional mobility.”
Indigenous activist Thelma Cabrera has promised to move forward with her presidencial campaign — even though Guatemala’s Electoral Tribunal refused to allow her to register her candidacy. The decision was politically motivated say supporters of Movement for Peoples’ Liberation. (Associated Press)
CDMX Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum is leading in polls to become Mexico’s next president. An environmental scientist who served on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that won a shared Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, would become the country’s first female president, and has pledged to commit Mexico to sustainability, reports the Associated Press.
Colombia’s Petro administration wants to reform the country’s pension system to redirect the retirement contributions of millions of workers away from private managers and into the public system. It is one of a series of ambitious proposals aimed at overhauling Colombia’s welfare state, with significant political impact for the government, according to Bloomberg.
Crime is way down in El Salvador since the government instituted a state of emergency a year ago, according to La Prensa Gráfica’s crime victimization survey — but the state has become one of the main aggressors against its citizens, with complaints of arbitrary detention, abuses of authority, and threats.
Jonathan Watts writes about the tragic growth of the pantheon of Amazon martyrs, which now include Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira. (Guardian)
More Regional Relations
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said he will not visit Russia or Ukraine due to the ongoing war. Lula said he remained committed to a peaceful resolution to the conflict. (Reuters)
German and Brazilian officials will gather for high-level meetings in Berlin focused on energy, raw materials and climate. The move is a sign of strengthening ties between the two countries, reports Bloomberg.
South American drug cartels have capitalised on the retreat of the Covid-19 pandemic to produce and smuggle record amounts of cocaine around the world, according to a new report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Production of coca, the drug’s base ingredient, spiked 35% in 2020-21, surpassing pre-pandemic levels, reports the Guardian.
Chilean President Gabriel Boric promised a feminist government — and has maintained gender parity in his cabinet and given the women’s and gender equality ministry a central role. Nonetheless, advancing feminist issues is a challenge in a country that is still largely conservative, reports the Guardian.
A local dog rescue center is a popular Turks and Caicos tourist attraction — and many vacationers wind up taking a puppy home with them. (Washington Post)