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TSE certifies Arévalo victory, Semilla suspended
Aug. 29, 2023
Guatemala’s electoral tribunal certified the victory of president-elect Bernardo Arévalo. But establishment efforts to thwart political change are far from over: a Supreme Electoral Tribunal official also temporarily suspended Movimiento Semilla’s legal standing, yesterday.
Citizen Registrar Ramiro Muñoz’s order yesterday defied a Supreme Court injunction in favor of Semilla to shield the party through October 31, when the election season officially ends. El Faro notes that Muñoz’s eventual approval of the suspension was expected, and that he had resisted carrying out the illegal order for six weeks. “Muñoz spent three weeks on leave as threats of prosecution against him arose and even reached his deputy registrar, and as prosecutors and armed police raided the Tribunal.”
Arévalo drew a legal distinction between their victory and the suspension of the party. “From this moment on, nothing can legally stop us from being sworn in on January 14, just as is constitutionally established,” Arévalo said yesterday. “There is a process of political persecution illegally utilizing justice system institutions against the Semilla Movement and against our candidacy.” (El Faro)
Supreme Electoral Court head magistrate Irma Palencia emphasized yesterday the citizens registry was a lower authority and underlined that Arévalo was officially the winner. (Reuters) The TSE avoided discussing the Semilla suspension yesterday, as they are an eventual court of appeal for the decision. (Soy 502)
Eight days after the runoff Arévalo won, his opponent Sandra Torres still hasn’t conceded defeat and outgoing President Alejandro Giammattei hasn’t said anything about the latest developments, notes the Associated Press.
The Organization of American States issued a statement saying the attempt to suspend Semilla was unjustified and an abusive interpretation of the law. (Soy 502)
Guatemalan authorities arrested Claudia González, a lawyer who had worked with the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG). She told reporters, yesterday, that she faces charges of abuse of authority by a public servant, despite the fact she was not a government employee. (Al Jazeera)
Two days after a Haitian gang massacred church-goers who marched into a squatter settlement under their control, outside Port-au-Prince, police still have not been able to retrieve the bodies nor provide a tally of the casualties — another indicator of how insecure the country has become, reports the Miami Herald.
Thousands of demonstrators hit Colombian streets yesterday in protest of hikes to gasoline prices. Protesters say monthly price hikes set by the Petro administration are making it harder for small businesses to operate, and could push up the price of food, reports the Associated Press.
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is closing a deal with two rightwing parties formerly allied to his predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, aimed at paving the way for Lula’s legislative agenda, where he does not command a majority. The alliance would cede cabinet posts and potentially other roles in return for support in Congress, reports the Financial Times.
Brazilian politics appear to have returned to normal, after the upheaval of attacks on government buildings in January. Lula’s pragmatic budget allocations have helped defang enemies, but Bolsonaro’s abrupt fall from grace has also contributed, writes Americas Quarterly editor-in-chief Brian Winter.
Lula said he wants to discuss the possibility of making changes to the United Nations Security Council with his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden. (Reuters)
BRICS expansion should not be interpreted as “a sign that an anti-western bloc is coalescing,” argues the Guardian in an editorial, noting new members will include U.S. allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. “Rather, demand for BRICS membership looks more like an expression of concern at the way in which global disorder is growing.”
Inter-American Dialogue’s Tamara Taraciuk discusses the lessons of Guatemala’s fight against corruption for the rest of the region in an interview with Argentine journalist Carlos Pagni.
A U.S. judge canceled a hearing on a $10 billion lawsuit filed by Mexico seeking to hold U.S. gun manufacturers responsible for facilitating arms trafficking to drug cartels. (Reuters)
Mexico’s government said it sent 1,200 more troops to Michoacán state after a weekend of violence, reports the Associated Press.
“A Texas National Guard member shot and wounded a man along the Rio Grande in the El Paso area Saturday evening, firing across the border into Mexican territory,” reports the Washington Post.
There were multiple stories of accidents and disasters killing or severely injuring people during their migration journeys over the last week, reports the Americas Migration Brief. In the first half of the year, at least 70 people have died or disappeared on the maritime route between Cuba and the US, while a further 74 migrants have been discovered dead in Panama so far this year, mainly in the Darien Gap. Migrant disappearances in Mexico are significantly underreported, notes Conexión Migrante.
Ecuadorean presidential candidate Daniel Noboa has promised to lock up convicts on prison ships, in the midst of a runoff election dominated by security concerns, reports AFP.
Only Canada and the UK have donated to a new nature fund created to help developing countries meet COP15 biodiversity targets agreed on last year. The fund needs about $40m before the end of the year to formally launch, reports the Guardian.