Protests raise tensions in Ecuador
(June 22, 2022)
At least one person has died in ongoing anti-government protests in Ecuador, led by Indigenous organizations protesting President Guillermo Lasso’s economic policies. Organizers say two people have died during demonstrations over the past ten days, while nearly 100 have been injured. Seventy-nine have been arrested, according to Indigenous tallies. (Reuters)
Security forces and protesters clashed in the capital yesterday afternoon, with some demonstrators throwing sticks. Security forces responded by firing tear gas and non-lethal projectiles, according to Reuters. Government officials say the protests represent a grave threat to Ecuador’s democracy, while protest organizers have denounced excessive repression in response to demonstrations.
Demonstrations began on June 13 over fuel prices and unemployment, with demands that include a fuel price cut, a halt to the expansion of oil production and mining, more time for farmers to pay debt and budget increases for healthcare.
Lasso agreed to participate “for the good of the country” in a “frank and respectful dialogue process” with the powerful Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), which called for the protests – that were joined by students, workers and other Ecuadoreans unhappy with the country’s economic policies, reports Al Jazeera.
Protesters said yesterday they would not meet with the government until it backtracks on certain security measures, including a repeal of the state of emergency that has been called in several of Ecuador’s 24 provinces, which allows the right to assembly to be suspended and the military to mobilize against protesters. "Our conditions suppose a willingness by the national government to reduce repressive actions, overturn the state of exception and demilitarize Arbolito Park," CONAIE leader Leonidas Iza said.
The U.S. Congress’s hearings on on former President Donald Trump’s coup attempt hold valuable lessons for Brazil ahead of October’s presidential elections, write OSF’s Heloisa Griggs and Pedro Abramovay in Piauí.
“When there is a coup in the pipeline – and it is impossible to look at the United States and not see the background to a coup in Brazil – there are only two sides: that of the coup plotters and that of the Constitution. Military personnel, public lawyers, members of the three powers who in any way incite, consent or even omit themselves in front of a president who is already carrying out preparatory acts for a coup should know that, if they fail – and they will fail – they must have a meeting with the Justice much harsher than in the United States.” (Piauí)
Three asylum seekers were kidnapped in April while under the aegis of the Migrant Protection Protocols, a U.S. program that requires asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for their U.S. immigration court hearings. The kidnapping happened in spite of measures the U.S. Biden administration says improved the safety of the program, reports Reuters.
El Salvador extended a controversial state of emergency to combat gangs for the third time yesterday, amid ongoing criticism from human rights organizations over the suspension of constitutional protections and abuses committed by security forces in the gang crackdown context. (Reuters)
The extension easily passed in the government-controlled legislature, with 67 votes in favor out of a possible 84, with 15 against. "We are determined to support not just one more (extension) but as many as are necessary at the government's request because that is what the people are asking for," Christian Guevara, legislative head of President Nayib Bukele’s New Ideas party, said on Monday. (Reuters)
A group of former Colombian FARC leaders said the guerrilla organization was responsible for war crimes, including the kidnapping of thousands of civilians for ransom and also holding politicians as hostages for several years in the hopes of exchanging them for imprisoned rebels. They spoke in front of the country’s transitional justice tribunal, in charge of investigating war crimes. (Associated Press)
A controversial bill proposing the legalization of the coca leaf and its derivatives, such as cocaine, is gaining traction in Colombia. President-elect Gustavo Petro has argued in favor of such measures in the past, raising hopes that his administration might support the move, reports InSight Crime.
Colombian president-elect Gustavo Petro said he had had a "very friendly" telephone call with U.S. President Joe Biden, yesterday. (Reuters)
Mexican President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador said he will ask U.S. President Joe Biden to address the case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, saying Mexico would open its doors to him if he were released. (Reuters)
“Despite the widely held view that corruption has been relegated to a second-tier issue by the COVID-19 pandemic, rising inflation and the continued backlash against investigations in countries such as Brazil, anti-graft efforts have remained a key element of the region’s politics,” reports Americas Quarterly, presenting the fourth edition of the Capacity to Combat Corruption (CCC) Index.
“This year’s index paints a mixed picture, in which some Latin American countries made progress in improving the anti-corruption environment, while others, including the region’s two largest countries Mexico and Brazil, saw new setbacks for key institutions.” (Americas Quarterly)