U.S. focused on stemming Central American migration (March 28, 2019)
The U.S., Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador will work together to stem illicit migration. A new cooperation agreement announced yesterday includes carrying out joint police operations -- which the U.S. framed as a policy aimed at stemming crime, a root cause of Central American migration to the U.S. (Reuters)
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen described the deal as historic yesterday. Today, however, U.S. President Donald Trump lashed out against Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras for accepting monetary aid from the United States and doing "nothing" to stem migration. Trump threatened to close the southern border in response. "It was not immediately clear what sparked Mr. Trump’s outrage early Thursday," notes the New York Times.
Trump's "tantrums" appear actually be impacting U.S. aid policy -- officials reportedly avoid disbursing approved funds in order to appease the president. According to Vox a substantial portion of this fiscal year's $627 million Central American aid budget remains unspent.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador responded that Mexico is committed to assisting, but that the problem itself is that of the U.S. and Central America. (Reuters) However, the Mexican government does appear to be taking steps to hinder migration across the country. Yesterday Interior Secretary Olga Sanchez Cordero announced a "containment" belt plan to stop migrants with federal forces at the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the narrowest part of the country’s south. (Associated Press)
A migrant caravan of about 2,500 Central Americans is currently making its way across southern Mexico, aiming for the U.S. But it is receiving a far cooler welcome than similar groups last year. (See yesterday's briefs.)
Migration advocates criticized Haitian President Jovenel Moïse's failure to bring up TPS in a recent meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump. The Trump administration has moved to terminate TPS, a temporary residency program that applies to about 50,000 Haitians. The country is ill-prepared to receive them say experts. (Miami Herald)
Chile's ambassador in Haiti was attacked by gunman in a village. The episode occurred as part of an NGO clean water initiative event, and there are mixed versions of who and how many people were injured. (Al Jazeera)
Netblocks said Venezuela's government blocked access to Youtube, Periscope, Google Apps and Bing for three hours yesterday -- specifically while opposition leader Juan Guaidó was presenting updates on the opposition efforts to oust the government. (Efecto Cocuyo)
Lack of specialized equipment, technical workers, and faulty management are to blame in prolonging nation-wide blackouts this month in Venezuela. But U.S. sanctions have also played a part, write Francisco Rodríguez and Jorge Alejandro Rodríguez in a New York Times op-ed."... The only way to avoid a deepening of the electricity crisis is for the feuding political factions to jointly deploy and manage the resources needed to do so."
The European parliament approved a resolution criticizing the EU led International Contact Group, reports Efecto Cocuyo. (See yesterday's post.)
Russia indeed has troops in Venezuela -- authorities confirmed the deployment of about 100 servicemen for the first time since photographs from the weekend of two Russian air force planes in Caracas' international airport caused speculation, reports the Guardian. Authorities say the personnel is part of routine cooperation and cannot be used in active operations. (See Tuesday's post.) Trump said yesterday that “all options” were open to make Russia pull troops out of Venezuela. "Russia has to get out. What’s your next question?" Trump told reporters. Russian authorities responded that said military cooperation personnel in Venezuela pose no threat to regional stability, they also accused Washington of attempting to stage a coup in Venezuela. The EU called on everybody to avoid raising tensions. (New York Times, Reuters, Efecto Cocuyo)
Trump met with opposition leader Juan Guaidó's wife, Fabiana Rosales, at the White House yesterday. (Wall Street Journal)
Guaidó's jailed chief-of-staff's wife asked the international community for support in freeing her husband, Roberto Marrero. (EFE)
Salvadoran prosecutors issued another arrest warrant for former president Mauricio Funes, who was granted asylum in Nicaragua in 2017. The latest accusations involve an alleged failure to declare about $270,000 and evading some $85,000 in taxes. (Associated Press)
Brazilian indigenous groups protested against a plan to transfer health services for their communities from the federal government to municipalities, saying it would be a major setback for their communities, reports the Associated Press.
Brazil plans to privatize the management of its national parks this year. (New York Times)
Ecuador's government accused Venezuela of giving former president Rafael Correa $281,000, aimed at destabilizing current President Lenín Moreno's administration. Correa denied the charges on Twitter. (Associated Press)
"Ecuadorian Chernobyl": international arbitration and corporate impunity, at Open Democracy.
Indigenous anti-mine protesters rejected government negotiators aiming to end a 51-day blockade preventing access to the Chinese-owned La Bamba mine. (Reuters)
A #MeToo surge in Mexico (see yesterday's briefs) could be the beginning of a moment of reckoning in a country where sexual abuse and gender violence is entrenched, reports the New York Times.
Private businesses in Latin America are increasingly chasing after the lucrative "pink dollar" sector, and are helping to push forward LGBT+ rights more into the mainstream in the process. (Reuters)
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