Six nations call on ICC to investigate Venezuela (Sept. 27, 2018)
Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru and Canada asked the International Criminal Court to consider prosecuting senior officials in Venezuela for extensive human rights abuses. It is the first time member nations have referred another member to the court.
The New York Times notes that the step is an extraordinary measure in a region where countries tend to avoid intervention in sovereign affairs. It is also a departure from the military solution that is increasingly mentioned in some U.S. circles. (See yesterday's post.)
"This unprecedented step reflects the growing alarm among other countries about the human rights catastrophe that has overtaken Venezuela," said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro addressed the U.N. yesterday, speaking for 50 minutes mostly against the U.S. He reiterated his claim that the U.S. and Colombia were behind the Aug. 4 explosion of a drone at a military parade in Caracas where he was speaking. He also accused enemies of angling for Venezuela's oil and mineral wealth. Nonetheless, he said he'd be willing to meet with Trump. (Miami Herald)
Maduro had been expected to skip this week's General Assembly meeting. Ousted attorney general Luisa Ortega, called on the U.S. to arrest Maduro on charges of organized crime, corruption and genocide. (Associated Press)
The U.N.'s Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on Venezuela yesterday, expressing deep concern about human rights violations in the country and calling on the government to open its doors to humanitarian assistance to address “scarcity of food and medicine, the rise of malnutrition” and “the outbreak of diseases that had been previously eradicated or kept under control in South America.” (Human Rights Watch)
Colombian President Iván Duque called for the "end of dictatorship, the return of democracy, and full freedom" in Venezuela in his his U.N. address yesterday. He also said Latin America needed the world’s help to deal with the estimated 1.6 million Venezuelans who have fled the country since 2015, many of whom are in Colombia. (El Tiempo and Miami Herald) Semana has an analysis of the whole speech.
Bolivian President Evo Morales lectured U.S. President Donald Trump on his country's long history of foreign policy failures. He also criticized Trump for threatening Venezuela and for the U.S. opposition to the International Criminal Court. Trump didn't engage, merely responding "Thank you, Mr. President." (Washington Post)
In his U.N. General Assembly address, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel said he represents a generational handover, but promised to continue the Castro brothers' project. (Reuters)
Nicaraguan officials are insisting -- in international interviews and public appearances in the U.S. this week -- that anti-government protesters are seeking to topple the democratically elected government of President Daniel Ortega, reports the Washington Post. That version runs counter to international criticism pointing to widespread human rights violations carried out by pro-government forces in repression of protests since mid-April of this year. (See Monday's post on the latest attacks on protesters.)
Following Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales' denouncement of the CICIG at the U.N. on Tuesday, four U.S. lawmakers voiced support for U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the anti-impunity commission, reports El Periódico. (See yesterday's post.)
At Nómada, Martín Rodríguez Pellecer defends the CICIG. (Nómada)
A Guatemalan court ruled that a counterinsurgency plan that killed at least 1,771 members of the Indigenous Ixil Mayans and displaced thousands more during former dictator Efrain Rios Montt’s 1982-1983 rule was part of a systematic extermination plan carried out by the military -- a genocide. But the court acquitted a former military intelligence chief accused in the case. Rios Montt himself was on trial, but died during the proceedings. In May 2013, a court found Rios Montt guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity, but the ruling was quickly overturned on a technicality. Though nobody was convicted, the case could pave the way for a policy of remembrance. (Nómada and Reuters)
At least 25 women in El Salvador have been incarcerated with decades-long sentences under the country's total abortion ban. Most of the women say they suffered from obstetric complications, and did not seek abortions. After two of the women successfully appealed their convictions this year, lawyers, activists and legislators, hope the rulings will pave the way to a more lenient law. (Washington Post)
Former San Salvador mayor Nayib Bukele is leading polls for next year's presidential election in El Salvador. It's the first time in three decades that a candidate from an outsider party has a real shot at the presidency, reports Reuters. Buekele has 45 percent voter support, a 25 percent lead over the ARENA candidate. The candidate for the incumbent FMLN party has only 7 percent.
Presidential front-runner Jair Bolsonaro is running his campaign from a São Paulo hospital bed, where he is recovering from a stabbing at a rally. The assassination attempt has "inoculated" the controversial right-wing candidate from negative attacks. (Guardian)
British comedian Stephen Fry became the latest star to oppose Bolsonaro in a Buzzfeed plea in which he calls Bolsonaro’s discourse against people of color, women and the LGBT community "genuinely terrifying," reports the Guardian. (See Tuesday's briefs.)
Brazil's highest court ruled that 3.4 million people cannot vote in next month's national elections because they failed to register their fingerprints with authorities. The move could affect the outcome of October's election. Critics say many Brazilians were not properly informed of the fingerprint requirement. (Associated Press)
São Paulo mayor Bruno Covas is quietly returning to a harm reduction program for drug users scrapped by his predecessor, João Doria, who left the post earlier this year to run for state governor. Though Covas said he is maintaining Doria's hostile stance towards the city's crack users, in practice he is quietly returning to former mayor Fernando Haddad's "De Braços Abertos" policy, reports The Intercept.
Petrobras, Brazil's oil company, has agreed to an $853.2 million settlement with U.S. and Brazilian authorities to end investigations into a massive corruption scheme. (Wall Street Journal)
Four years after 43 students were forcibly disappeared in Mexico, president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador promised to reopen the Ayotzinapa case. (Al Jazeera)
Former Veracruz governor Javier Duarte to nine years in prison for money laundering and links to organized crime. The case is infamous in Mexico, a symbol of egregious corruption. (Reuters)
Argentina and the IMF reached a $57.1 billion loan package, to be disbursed over the next three years. The loan comes with stringent conditions, including a commitment to a zero deficit for 2019. (Guardian)
Corruption is not a parallel path in Argentina, "it is the main structure of power," argues investigative journalist Hugo Alconada Mon, who says professionalized corruption impacts all political parties and all areas of government, including the judicial branch. (Guardian)
Díaz-Canel met with technology and other company executives and U.S. Congress members in New York. (Miami Herald)
Chile's environmental authority approved the development of the largest desalination plant in Latin America, with an initial investment of about $500 million. (Reuters)
A month into his presidency, Mario Abdo Benítez aims to enact comprehensive constitutional and judicial reform. But his efforts are already hampered by allegations of ties to drug trafficking and his family's anti-democratic past, writes Barbara dos Santos at the AULA blog.
Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take? Let me know ...