Trump threatens to close border with Mexico (Oct. 18, 2018
The migrant caravan wending its way through Guatemala has grown to 4,000 people. Part of the caravan, which has split into two groups, is approaching the Mexico-Guatemala border, reports NBC. (See yesterday's and Tuesday's posts.) Mexico has sent 500 federal police to its border with Guatemala, and promises to deport people who enter the country illegally. However people with proper documentation will be allowed in, and those without have the right to apply for asylum, report the Guardian and the Washington Post.
U.S. President Donald Trump has upped the ante, and is now threatening to deploy the U.S. military and close the border with Mexico to stop the group of would-be immigrants. This morning Trump fired off a series of tweets ratifying threats to cut off aid to Central American countries that do not stop the caravan and calling on Mexico " to stop this onslaught."
Trump's tweets warned that the group included "many criminals," though they don't seem very threatening at all in a Guardian report on the many people attempting the trek with young children in an attempt to escape from gang violence and crushing poverty.
Migration will certainly be on the agenda in a meeting tomorrow between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, notes the Washington Post. Since the U.S. stopped its policy of family separation in July, record levels of migrants have attempted to cross the country's southern border.
Nicaragua's government has used weapons of war in its violent crackdown on protesters over the past six months, according to a new Amnesty International report. "Amnesty International believes that these violations were carried out not only with the knowledge of the highest authorities of the Nicaraguan state, including the President and Vice-President of the Republic, but also (in many cases) on their orders and under their command." Extrajudicial killings were carried out by police, in addition to violence by paramilitary pro-government groups, according to the report. (Guardian and El País)
Costa Rican vice president Epsy Campbell met with Pope Francis and expressed concern over the situation in Nicaragua. (Nuevo Diario)
Tens of thousands of Haitians protested yesterday, demanding accountability for nearly $2 billion in funds from a Venezuelan sponsored development program. At least two people were killed yesterday, in a massive demonstration that got its start on social media, demanding to know “where is the PetroCaribe money," reports the Miami Herald. (See yesterday's briefs.)
A recent landmark judicial ruling in Guatemala found that the army committed genocide against the Maya Ixil, but acquitted the army intelligence chief accused of criminal responsibility in the commission of these atrocities. Jo-Marie Burt writes about the historic trial in the Progressive.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro shares many characteristics with his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, argues Eva Golinger in a New York Times op-ed. The former Chávez advisor says both of them thrive on "deception, exaggeration and lies." Not the humanitarian crisis Venezuela is undergoing and that Maduro persists in denying is an excuse of a military invasion, she notes.
Trump talks tough on Venezuela, and has threatened military intervention, but the U.S. has actually increased purchases of Venezuelan oil recently, a key source of income for the Maduro administration, criticizes Andrés Oppenheimer in his Miami Herald column.
The White House said Cuba is responsible for propping up Maduro. (McClatchy DC)
Chinese investment in Latin America comes at too high a cost argues Shannon O'Neil in Bloomberg, focusing on the effects of loans to Venezuela.
At least two people have died in a wave of politically motivated attacks this campaign season, reports the New York Times, based on an Agência Pública report. (See yesterday's briefs and Friday's.)
Haddad's campaign is emphasizing links between Bolsonaro and Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon. (Guardian)
Possible good news on Mexico's endangered vaquita porpoise. (New York Times)
Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take? Let me know ... Latin America Daily Briefing