UN approves political mission for Haiti (June 26, 2019)
The U.N. security council approved a new political mission that will replace all peacekeeping missions in Haiti starting Oct. 16. The U.S. ambassador celebrated new realities in Haiti, but France expressed concern at political instability and deteriorated economic conditions. Haiti is in the midst of violent protests demanding President Jovenel Moïse's resignation and skyrocketing inflation. A recent U.N. report potentially links police to a Port-Au-Prince gang killing sprre last year that claimed at least 26 lives. (See Monday's post.) There was no mention of the report during yesterdays vote, reports the Miami Herald. The resolution was drafted by the U.S., and the Dominican Republic abstained, arguing that it’s wording isn’t robust enough to promote development and peace in Haiti, reports the Associated Press. The the representatives of Peru, Germany, France and the Dominican Republic all highlighted their disappointment on the lack of mention of climate change in the resolution, and its ramifications on Haiti’s security and stability.
Guatemala will start a vote-by-vote recount of the recent general election ballots, today. Guatemala’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal says a software malfunction caused a counting error, reports the Associated Press. (Nómada reviews all the irregularity accusations.)
The choices in Guatemala's upcoming presidential run-off are hardly inspiring. Former first lady Sandra Torres is dogged by accusations of financial wrongdoing and illicit campaign financing -- though she claims she is cooperating with investigators and that the charges are politically motivated. Her opponent, Alejandro Giammatei is known as the eternal candidate, and represents a mishmash of right wing parties disbanded due to corruption scandals, reports CNN. He is being called Jimmy Morales 2.0 in some circles, due to his close relationship with the current president's closest advisors.
Voters will have to choose between two "authoritarian winters," argues Nómada's Martín Rodríguez Pellecer. But looking on the bright side: at least citizens got to vote.
This is a valid take, but it's also important to note the increasing importance of grassroots movements in the recent election. Though Thelma Cabrera didn't make the second round, she showed the potential strength Indigenous-led grassroots campaign. Her MLP party was key in pointing out the irregularities that spurred the recount. (Conversation)
The U.S. will deploy 89 customs agents to Guatemala by the end of August, part of a joint agreement to curb illegal immigration. Reuters reports on a document signed by both countries on May 27, which makes no reference to Guatemala potentially serving as a third safe country. (See June 17's post.)
U.S. immigration authorities have nowhere appropriate to send children apprehended at the border -- Trump administration official said a $4.5 billion emergency spending package is desperately needed to provide safe shelter for minors. Lawyers who visited one Texas Border Patrol station described scenes of sick and lonely children without adult care. More than 100 children were moved back into the facility yesterday, which has become a focal point in the debate about U.S. immigration policies. (Washington Post, New York Times)
Sometimes it takes images to drive home a crisis. The photo of a Salvadoran man who drowned with his toddler daughter crossing the Rio Grande seems likely to become one of those -- some are already comparing it to the 2015 image of the drowned Syrian three-year-old. (Guardian, Washington Post, New York Times) Photographer Julia Le Duc tells the Guardian: "You get numb to it, but when you see something like this it re-sensitizes you. You could see that the father had put her inside his T-shirt so the current wouldn’t pull her away."
The OAS General Assembly meets in Colombia starting today -- issues on the agenda include Central American migration, Venezuelan migration, the Venezuela crisis, corruption crackdowns, and a region in search of elusive unity, according to Al Jazeera.
Nicaragua's crisis will also occupy a central place in the OAS agenda -- both the official gathering and parallel meetings, reports Confidencial. A working group has drafted a resolution that would sanction high level officials.
Human Rights Watch asked Colombia -- which holds the General Assembly presidency -- to pass a resolution pressuring Nicaragua's government. HRW proposes sanctions against President Daniel Ortega and high level officials, suspension of all cooperation with Nicaraguan security forces, urge Nicaragua to create a special investigation unit for political abuses, and to internationally pursue Nicaraguan officials responsible for torture.
Nicaragua's Ortega government freed hundreds of political prisoners under a much criticized amnesty law put together after dialogue with the political opposition failed. But the liberation has renewed activist vigor, and opposition leaders are returning to the streets to protest the government, writes José Luis Rocha Gómez in Nueva Sociedad.
The U.S. has not lost interest in Venezuela, said special envoy Elliot Abrams yesterday. The U.S. official also rejected a possible transition government that incorporates current Venezuela leader Nicolás Maduro, reports Reuters.
A major Venezuela-Colombia border crossing reopened this month for the first time since February, which will help keep Venezuelans off remote trails where they are easily extorted by illegal groups, reports InSight Crime.
Colombian President Iván Duque has not sought to implode the 2016 peace agreement with the FARC. Instead he's submitted the pact to a constant low-level contempt, and failed to fulfill most of the obligations it outlines towards former guerrilla fighters. The result has been an alarming "visibilization" of violence in Colombia, writes Jerónimo Ríos Sierra in Nueva Sociedad.
Bolivia's government plans to declare a national femicide emergency, faced with an unrelenting wave of gender-motivated murders, reports EFE.
Brazil's Supreme Court rejected a request to free former president Luis Inácio Lula da Silva from jail while they evaluate accusations that the judge who convicted him acted with partiality. That case will be addressed later this year. Lula's lawyers based their arguments on recent reporting by The Intercept that reveals private messages between Judge Sergio Moro (now Justice Minister) and prosecutors. (Al Jazeera, Deutsche Welle)
The revelations demonstrate what Lula supporters have long argued: that the case against him was politically motivated -- he is a political prisoner and should be freed, argues Bruno Bimbi in a New York Times Español op-ed.
Brazilian lawmakers nixed a presidential decree giving the Agriculture Ministry power over indigenous territories. The move comes the day after the Supreme Court also ruled against President Jair Bolsonaro's second attempt to grant land demarcation powers to the farm-lobby-dominated ministry, reports Reuters. (See yesterday's briefs.)
Bolsonaro revoked a presidential decree loosening gun control ownership a day before the Supreme Court was due to debate its constitutionality, reports AFP.
Brazil’s government expects the lower house of Congress to vote on pension reform before lawmakers break for recess on July 18, reports Reuters.
Argentina's electoral campaign started the year with a hyper-polarized narrative -- but over the past month the main players have all swung strongly towards the center. Indeed, from either side, the name of the game is now unity, which will be key for whoever leads the incoming government, writes Andrés Malamud in Americas Quarterly.
This weekend candidates were required to finalize their nominations -- Americas Quarterly has the roundup.
An IMF delegation will meet with Argentine opposition presidential candidates, Alberto Fernández and Roberto Lavagna, both of whom have promised to renegotiate the terms of debt the country has with the organization. (BA Times)
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