Two environmental activists killed in Honduras
Jan. 13, 2023
Two environmental defenders were assassinated in broad daylight in Honduras last weekend. The killings have triggered new calls for an independent investigation into the persecution and violence against the Guapinol rural community that is battling against an illegally sanctioned open-pit mine in Tocoa.
Aly Domínguez and Jairo Bonilla, who were killed by gunmen on Saturday, were co-founders of Guapinol’s grassroots resistance against an iron ore mine owned by one of the country’s most powerful couples, reports the Guardian.
United Nations special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Mary Lawlor has called for an independent investigation into the killings. (Al Jazeera)
Canada sends armed vehicles to Haiti
Canada delivered armored vehicles to Haiti this week, to help national security forces combat the violent criminal gangs who have seized control of many parts of the country. Canada and the United States provided tactical and armored vehicles and other supplies in October after Haiti asked for an international armed force. (Reuters)
Canada is working with allies including the United States to prepare for "options" if the situation in Haiti deteriorates, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said this week after meeting with his Mexican and U.S. counterparts. (Reuters)
Haiti’s current political crisis — there is not a single elected official in the whole country and gangs have deployed horrific violence to exert territorial control in a political vacuum — is unprecedented in the troubled country’s history, reports the Guardian.
Canada added two more members of Haiti’s elite to its sanction list involving Haitian political figures and business people. (Miami Herald)
Deadly violence against protesting supporters of Peru’s former President Pedro Castillo has crossed ramped up anger against President Dina Boluarte’s administration. The government has called protesters “terrorists” a practise known as “terruqueo” in Peru, used to dehumanize protesters with legitimate grievances, reports the Guardian.
Underlying Peru’s “unrest and repression is the disconnect between political machinations in Lima and public sentiment in the country’s more indigenous, rural, and poor regions—and a frayed social fabric that could provide opportunity for would-be authoritarians,” argues Gonzalo Banda in Americas Quarterly.
“Peru’s latest political crisis is rooted in the failure of key transitions to consolidate democracy and basic social coexistence,” according to Roger Merino in Nacla.
The outlook in Peru is rough, according to a Guardian editorial which notes that ”should Ms Boluarte step down, she would be succeeded by the far-right speaker of the congress, hardly likely to pursue the dialogue and mediation needed,” while “if a new president and congress were elected this year, it is unclear that they would fare any better than their predecessors.”
The Coast Guard returned another 177 Cuban migrants who were caught at sea off Florida to the island yesterday, while a group of up to 70 Haitians arrived offshore Miami. (Associated Press, Miami Herald)
Maritime migration from Haiti and Cuba through the risky Florida straights has skyrocketed in recent months. (Miami Herald, Associated Press)
Brazilian police found a draft decree in the home of Anderson Torres, former President Jair Bolsonaro's justice minister, that appears to be a proposal to interfere in the result of the October election. The proposed decree, elaborated after Bolsonaro's narrow defeat, would intervene the Supreme Electoral Court. Analysts said the measures proposed in the document would amount to an unconstitutional conspiracy to meddle in the election, reports Reuters.
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva suspects that hardcore supporters of his predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, among the presidential staff facilitated the entry of rioters to the presidential palace on Sunday. Speaking to a group of political journalists in Brasília’s Planalto palace, one of the buildings trashed by protesters on Jan. 8, Lula vowed to carry out a “thorough screening” of employees in the wake of the historic attack. (Guardian)
Social media played a key role in the organizing of Sunday’s attacks in Brasília. A map called “Beach Trip” — sent to more than 18,000 members of a public Telegram channel called, in Portuguese, “Hunting and Fishing” — pointed to 43 pick up points for bus transportation to the capital. Promoters promised a huge “party,” involving “target shooting of police and robbers, musical chairs, indigenous dancing, tag, and others.” (Associated Press)
Social media’s role in potential violence was evident before the attacks, but despite promises to combat misinformation, social media giants failed to clamp down, report Politico.
Brazil’s vibrant civil society, with a long history of promoting liberal and social rights, permitted the country’s democracy to survive Bolsonaro, argue Benjamin H. Bradlow and Mohammad Ali Kadivar in Foreign Affairs. “It would have been impossible for Lula to defeat Bolsonaro were it not for health, human rights, and housing advocacy groups.”
Nicaraguan political prisoners’ resistance, infighting within the ranks of the Ortega family regime, and discontent of the high public functionaries are the weakest links in Nicaragua’s authoritarian government, “although they’re not enough in the short run to activate a political way out,” writes Carlos F. Chamorro in Confidencial.
Washington’s goal of making North America a hub for semiconductor manufacturing was on this week’s “Three Amigos” summit. The plan could be an economic boon for Mexico, writes Catherine Osborn in the Latin America Brief.
Dozens of mostly conservative candidates are expected to compete in Guatemala’s June general election as divided elites seek control of a state emptied of its anti-corruption judges and prosecutors, reports El Faro English. Election lawfare to block candidacies could have a significant impact, as it did in 2019, and the Supreme Electoral Tribunal has already shown glimpses of partiality.
El Salvador passed a law that would regulate the issuance of digital assets by both the state and private entities. The bill aims to attract national and foreign investors while creating new financing opportunities for citizens, companies and the government. El Salvador was the first country in the world to recognize Bitcoin as a legal tender two years ago, reports Al Jazeera.
Argentina is gazing into a political abyss, in the midst of voter exhaustion with existing political options, according to the Nation.
A a collaboration between Colombian singer Shakira with the Argentinian producer and DJ Bizarrap, has logged more than 63m YouTube views in 24 hours, making it the most watched new Latin song in the platform’s history, reports the Guardian. Shakira lays into her ex, who is now dating a younger woman: “I’m worth two 22-year-olds,” adding: “You swapped a Ferrari for a [Renault] Twingo/You swapped a Rolex for a Casio.” The singer also notes: “a she-wolf like me isn’t for rookies” … “I was out of your league, which is why you’re with someone just like you.”
¡Baby Turtles! The Wildlife Conservation Society has released footage of the hatching of hundreds of thousands of giant South American river turtles along the Guaporé/Iténez River on the border between Brazil and Bolivia. (Guardian)