Puebla Group to meet in Buenos Aires (Nov. 5, 2019)
The Puebla Group will hold its second meeting in Buenos Aires later this week. The group, which first met in July, will be hosted by Argentine president-elect Alberto Fernández and seeks to promote a progressive agenda in the region. Thirty regional leaders -- including many former pink-tide presidents -- form part of the new movement that has criticized the Lima Group's hawkish approach to Venezuela. (Publimetro, Infobae, Grupo Puebla)
Not specifically in reference to the Grupo Puebla, but a new Global Americans' report looks at how Latin America and the Caribbean can face new global challenges, and notes: "New efforts need to center on specific problems or challenges that are not focused on geographic proximity but instead seek to build a functional, problem/solution-focused network across regions and across the developed and developing worlds"
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador maintained his country's foreign policy of non-intervention and said he would not take sides in a dispute between El Salvador and Venezuela after the two countries expelled each others’ diplomats at the weekend. (Reuters, see yesterday's briefs.)
Cuban leaders Raul Castro and Miguel Díaz-Canel, along with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro railed against U.S. sanctions and said that imperialist policies would only stiffen their resolve. Maduro’s presence appeared designed to signal Cuba would not abandon its strategic ally despite efforts by the United States and other Western and Latin American countries to convince Havana to do so, reports Reuters.
The scope of Venezuela's exodus is dizzying -- and over-burdened host countries in the region are running out of resources to cope with them, according to a new Global Americans' High-Level Working Group on Inter-American Relations report. (There are two more new papers, also covered in the briefing.) "The international community doesn’t have to agree on the internal politics of Venezuela to work together on this pressing issue, but it is the responsibility of the international community to step in with significant financial aid and assistance in institution building before conditions degenerate still further."
The U.S. extended Temporary Protected Status for recipients of six nationalities -- El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, Honduras, Nepal and Sudan -- until January, 2021. If the government prevails legally in its aim to shut down the program for those nationalities, Salvadorans will have an extra year to wind down their affairs, while the remaining five nationalities will have 120 days. (DHS, Factum, see Oct. 29's post)
Trump administration is returning LGBTQ migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. to face assaults, kidnapping and death in Mexican border cities while they await U.S. court hearings, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. Though there were initial indications that "vulnerable" asylum seekers would be except from the Remain in Mexico program, the piece found that many LGBT asylum seekers have been placed on waiting lists or returned to Mexico for months.
Cubans, long accustomed to preferential migration policies in the U.S., are now stuck at the Mexican border just like everybody else, reports the Washington Post. And the new restrictions have coincided with a surge in Cubans fleeing their homeland, this year.
Microfinance institutions -- sometimes lenders that were supported by USAID and the World Bank -- are inadvertently fueling Guatemalan migration, by enabling families to make payments to human smugglers. In fact, access to credit has helped make this Central American nation the largest single source of migrants to the United States over the past year, reports the Washington Post. But it can also have devastating financial consequences for those who fail in their journeys and their families.
Despair in Honduras at political leaders, gang violence, extortion, poverty and inequality is fueling a record flow of migrants out of the country, even as the U.S. fixates on stopping Central American migration. The International Crisis Group recommends that Honduras' government, with international support, "revisit its heavy-handed security policies and enact judicial and electoral reforms to avert future upheaval."
"Decades of misrule have once again brought Haiti to the brink of collapse. Does anyone care?" asks the New York Times editorial board.
“We are deeply concerned about the protracted crisis in Haiti, and its impact on the ability of Haitians to access their basic rights to healthcare, food, education and other needs” said U.N. human rights Chief Michelle Bachelet on Friday.
Bahamian officials are deporting large numbers of Haitians without properly following protocol and transporting them to a region that “is not fit right now to send them to," reports Buzzfeed.
Bolivian opposition leader Luis Fernando Camacho, who flew from Santa Cruz to La Paz to give President Evo Morales an ultimatum demanding his resignation, is trapped in the airport by Morales' supporters, reports Infobae. (See yesterday's post.)
Morales' supporters were concerned yesterday -- and tensions were ratcheted up -- when a technical glitch forced the president's helicopter to make an emergency landing, reports Al Jazeera.
Cuban General Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Calleja, Raul Castro's former son-in-law, could be among the favorites to fill the newly created position of prime minister, reports the Miami Herald.
Guyana will see economic growth of 86 percent in 2020, according to the IMF. The growth will be due to oil production that will start next month. Based on IMF calculations, the oil sector in the country will represent about 40 percent of the economy within five years. But some experts warn that the prediction might be overly optimistic, and point to potential pitfalls due to political instability, reports CNBC.
Global warming poses an existential risk to many Caribbean countries -- rising sea levels, warming temperatures, deforestation, and more frequent and extreme weather events could eliminate some coastal communities and entire islands. But cooperation on climate change in the region has started, and could be a bright spot for hemispheric relations, according to another of the new Global Americans' High-Level Working Group on Inter-American Relations reports.
An in-depth New Yorker report on illegal gold mining in Brazil's Amazon by Jon Lee Anderson delves into the complicated politics of extraction and indigenous communities in the Amazon: "Indigenous reserves serve as a bulwark against destruction, green islands amid industrial soy fields and clear-cut ranchlands. But the closer indigenous people live to whites the more vulnerable they are. In these places, all that stands in the way of the destruction of the Amazon is the ability of a few thousand indigenous leaders to resist the enticements of consumer culture."
Brazilians love meat -- but the country now also boasts one of the world's highest rates of vegetarianism. The battle is not only cultural, but has taken on broader ecological and health aspects, reports the Washington Post.
The FARC demobilization has permitted scientists to access the world's largest wax palm forest, but it has also exposed the endangered trees to further deforestation, reports the New York Times.
Reintegration camps for former FARC fighters "are now in legal limbo amid a crumbling peace process." And, after the recent murder of a former guerrilla in one, "ex-combatants living within them have reason to doubt that the camps can guarantee their safety," reports InSight Crime.
At least three women and six children in a prominent local Mormon family were killed in northern Mexico, yesterday. They were American citizens who live in the border region, and have been critical of organized crime groups in the area. Two of the children killed were less than a year old, and one child was gunned down while running away, reports the New York Times.
A presidential decree that loosens how Argentina classifies waste could allow it to import millions of tons of plastic waste discarded in the US. Environmental groups fear that it could be the first step towards Argentina taking in the un-recyclable plastics rejected by other countries, reports the Guardian.
Latin America's health and education sectors are expected to grow exponentially -- the Inter-American Development Bank estimates that 12 million new teachers, 3 million doctors, and 8 million nurses will be needed by 2040, and that 70 percent of those positions will be filled by women.
Bogotá has become one of the world’s top graffiti destinations -- according to the New York Times.
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