Two detained for Marielle's killing (July 26, 2018)
Brazilian authorities arrested two people suspected of involvement in councillor Marielle Franco's assassination in March. The two men are former military police officer Alan Nogueira, known by the nickname "Crazy Puppy," and former fireman Luiz Claudio Barbosa, reports AFP. Both men were detained on suspicion of being part of a militia group controlled by Orlando Oliveira de Araujo, also known as Orlando da Curicica, reports TeleSUR. They were arrested in connection with another double homicide and a witness linked the two to the killing of Franco and her driver Anderson Gomes. However lawyers for Franco's family say they have not yet seen evidence linking the two to the councillor's death, reports the Associated Press.
A group of 29 U.S. lawmakers -- including Senator Bernie Sanders -- are sending a letter to the Brazilian ambassador in Washington, denouncing the "intensification of attacks on democracy and human rights in Brazil," reports Folha de S. Paulo. The letter references the “highly questionable and politicized” imprisonment of former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, criticizes the reduction of social programs under President Michel Temer and the potential implication of state security forces in Franco's killing. (TeleSUR) Several high profile international visitors haven't been authorized to visit Lula in jail, reports Página 12.
Jeffrey Gould grapples with with the narrative of the Nicaraguan crisis in NACLA. He notes there are some flaws in the mainstream repression story, including the deaths of police that discredit the notion of completely disarmed protesters. That being said, he considers that President Daniel Ortega has betrayed his revolutionary roots, noting that most of the 300 deaths so far can be attributed to pro-government forces. "The international Left cannot contribute to a more permanent peace rooted in social justice by providing the regime with a legitimacy that it has squandered in violence. The FSLN, with its 57 years of struggle and resistance must now remake itself—cobblestone by cobblestone."
La Silla Vacía reviews the main points of the case against former Colombian president Álvaro Uribe, accused of witness tampering. (See yesterday's post.) Yesterday Uribe accused the British intelligence agency MI6 of colluding with his former defense minister, current President Juan Manuel Santos, to supply recordings that implicate him in crimes. (Guardian)
The case is the first crisis for the incoming government of president-elect Iván Duque, set to assume office on Aug. 7, argues Silla Vacía's Juanita León. Among other issues, it undercuts Duque's ability to maneuver in Congress and will potentially deepen Colombians' polarization.
Dozens of Swiss organizations of civil society petitioned the government to condition financial aid to Colombia, in light of the murder of over a hundred human rights defenders so far this year. (Swiss Info)
Yesterday U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres expressed concern at the spike in killings since president-elect Iván Duque's victory last month, and that Colombia’s new government must consolidate peace. (Associated Press)
After 2017 had a record low in landmine victims, the number has been creeping back up this year. (Silla Vacía)
Relatives of the 43 Ayotzinapa disappeared called on Mexican president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador to meet with their lawyers and for the case to be impartially investigated by the Supreme Court. (TeleSUR)
AMLO has promised to drastically reduce public officials' salaries and perks, a move some fear will lead to an exodus of experts from the incoming government, reports the BBC.
AMLO's Morena party presented a bill in Congress that would slash public funding for political parties, aimed at reducing spending and also political corruption. The Morena party also plans to reject the funding it is allocated for next year. (Animal Político)
AMLO's intended foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, announced foreign companies in Mexico will have to meet the same labor and environmental standards as in their own countries. (Reuters)
Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro announced a two week delay in launching a new currency, which will cut 5 zeroes off the increasingly worthless Bolivar. The new Sovereign Bolivar will be anchored in the country's oil backed cryptocurrency. Its rollout has already been delayed twice since June. (Bloomberg)
Eight former Venezuelan officials and businessmen were charged with operating a massive $1.2 billion international money-laundering racket funded with stolen government money, invested in South Florida real estate and other assets, reports the Miami Herald.
Jamaican officials will review decorum rules that frequently lead to women turned away from hospitals, libraries, clinics and government buildings for wearing sleeveless shirts, flip-flops, short skirts or shorts. (Guardian)