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Semilla's suspension temporary blocked
Sept. 5, 2023
Guatemala’s electoral authority temporarily blocked the suspension of president-elect Bernardo Arévalo’s Semilla Movement party. The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) said the suspension cannot be carried out until the official end of the electoral period Oct. 31, reports the Associated Press. (See last Tuesday’s post.) Semilla could face suspension again after that period.
The Attorney General’s office is investigating whether there was wrongdoing in the gathering of required signatures for the party’s formation years earlier. Both the prosecutor in charge of the investigation, Rafael Curruchiche and the judge who ordered the suspension, Freddy Orellana, are on a U.S. list of "corrupt actors," and foreign allies slammed meddling in the election process, notes AFP.
The TSE’s decision not to address the underlying suspension order — merely temporarily blocking it — means judicial attacks against political parties are likely to continue, according to former magistrates consulted by Prensa Libre.
Arévalo held a transition meeting with President Alejandro Giammattei yesterday, with OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro in attendance. (Soy 502)
Guatemala’s Congress last week used the Movimiento Semilla suspension to classify its seven lawmakers, including Arévalo, a current lawmaker, as independents, which prevents them from heading legislative committees, reports the Latin America Advisor. Congress reverted the decision yesterday, after the TSE ruling, reports Soy 502.
The powerful CACIF business association called on authorities to guarantee that elected authorities will take office, reports Soy 502.
“Until now, the Biden administration has mostly had a hands-off approach toward corruption in Guatemala, stopping short of issuing economic sanctions or otherwise strongly condemning the Giammattei government,” argues Francisco Goldman in a New York Times op-ed. “Biden should seize this opportunity to help real democracy succeed by publicly supporting the new president-elect, Bernardo Arévalo.”
Brazil’s government launched its biggest ever operation to remove thousands of cows owned by illegal land grabbers from indigenous territory in the Amazon rainforest, reports the Guardian. “Three helicopters, a dozen vehicles and a heavily armed corps of police and environment rangers are carrying out the cattle drive, which criminal gangs attempted to block by setting fires on the route, destroying bridges and intimidating drivers.”
Brazil's Supreme Court is expected to rule, later this month, against farm lobby efforts to limit land claims by Indigenous peoples to areas they occupied before 1988, when Brazil passed its constitution, reports Reuters. Congress has pushed ahead with bills with the time limitation.
A corruption case in Brazil’s Amazonas state demonstrates “alarming levels of corruption in an area rife with organized crime,” reports InSight Crime, “adding another challenge to the fight to save the Brazilian Amazon.”
Implementing effective Amazon protection policies is complicated by the fact that biodiversity in many parts of the rainforest remains understudied, reports Salon. “In its Brazilian territory, which comprises 60% of the forest's total area, more than half of the uplands (non-flooded locations) haven't been assessed.”
The new EU deforestation law passed in May will require producers of cattle, cocoa, coffee, palm oil, soy, rubber and wood to provide proof that their supply chain is entirely free of deforestation. But there are fears that the technological requirements will disproportionately affect more sustainable small-scale farmers in Brazil. And environmentalists fear the new law could lead to “deforestation leakage,” reports Euro News.
“The Salvadoran National Civil Police documented that José Bladimir Barahona Hernández, a legislator from Morazán with the ruling Nuevas Ideas party, was tied to a human trafficking ring, according to a series of emails and intelligence reports elaborated before and after Barahona won a seat in the Legislative Assembly in February 2021.” — El Faro English
Simplistic interpretations of Argentina’s ascension to the BRICS group fail to recognize “nuance about the world, international relations, and alternatives to Argentina’s insertion,” write Juan Gabriel Tokatlian and Bernabé Malacalza in Cenital. “Participation in BRICS would make more strategic sense if the group is conceived as what it has actually become: a political and diplomatic platform that can revitalize Argentina's position in a changing international scenario.”
A new partnership agreement between the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank is a significant step in improving development finance organization work in Latin America and the Caribbean, write Jason Marczak and Pepe Zhang at the Atlantic Council.
Ongoing fighting in the Port-au-Prince district of Carrefour-Feuilles, which has about twenty neighborhoods, has essentially emptied the area of residents, reports HAÏTI MAGAZINE. There are at least 16,500 displaced people in makeshift camps, gymnasiums or schools outside the conflict zones, according to the latest report from IOM and Haitian Civil Protection.
With Haiti’s security conditions spiraling further out of control, many people in the country disparage a plan for a Kenyan-led international security force to aid the country’s overwhelmed police force “as too meager and too late,” reports the New York Times. “The criticism underscores deep-seated anxieties in Haiti over foreign interventions, as well as mistrust of Kenyan security forces over their record of human rights abuses and graft.”
The Kenyan mission would mostly focus on protecting Haitian infrastructure, rather than confronting gangs — a solution that will prove woefully inadequate warns journalist Tim Padgett in a Miami Herald op-ed.
Mexican authorities arrested a person accused of assassinating journalist Armando Linares in 2022. “While the arrest marks the end of a year-long manhunt for one of the killers, people close to the deceased journalist have criticized the apprehension as a smokescreen set to protect the intellectual authors behind the murder,” writes Jorge Antonio Rocha in Aztec Reports.
Local elections scheduled for October in Colombia will turn into a referendum on President Gustavo Petro, predicts Colombia Risk Analysis. Political violence is likely to increase ahead of the vote.
“Money laundering cases tied to drug trafficking in Uruguay have almost doubled in the past five years, according to a new government report, raising concerns that criminal organizations are taking advantage of lax regulations,” explains InSight Crime.