Venezuela accused of crimes against humanity in Argentine court
June 16, 2023
The case was filed by the Clooney Foundation for Justice, which said that for lack of a response from Venezuelan authorities, it filed the complaint in Argentina where universal jurisdiction allows for the investigation and prosecution of war crimes and torture from anywhere in the world.
The Argentine justice system has previously agreed to investigate alleged crimes against humanity carried out in Spain and Myanmar in the past.
This lawsuit is a response to the policy of repression designed and implemented by the government of Nicolás Maduro, according to Amnesty International. “This policy – which continues to be enforced – includes the commission of serious human rights violations and crimes under international law, including extrajudicial executions, torture and other ill-treatment, arbitrary detention, excessive use of force and politically motivated persecution.”
Canada to aid Haitian police from DR
Canada will lead an international aid effort for Haiti, supporting the country’s embattled police, months after U.N. proposal for a multi-national security mission failed to obtain backers. Canada will lead the effort from the Dominican Republic, according to Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly, in a bid to coordinate international aid including funds, equipment and technical support for the country's embattled police force.
Joly, speaking at an international Ministerial Meeting on Haiti hosted by Ottawa, also announced $13 million for law enforcement and development in Haiti, with a focus on drugs and anti-corruption activities. She said it is key that countries put an emphasis on the work of the Haitian National Police, in order to stop a culture of impunity at “a pivotal moment” for the country.
Canada also announced sanctions against two more former members of Haiti’s Parliament, bringing the number of Haitians blacklisted by Ottawa for corruption and ties to violent gangs since September to 22.
Haiti’s foreign minister, Jean Victor Geneus, and the new head of the United Nations political office in Port-au-Prince, María Isabel Salvador, noted during their own remarks at yesterday’s meeting that eight months after Haiti asked for foreign forces to assist its national police, the aid still has not been provided. “The security situation continues to be concerning,” Geneus said. “The Haitian national police need adequate equipment and ammunition in order to reestablish order and ensure stability.”
With millions of hungry children caught in the gangs’ crossfire, unable to go to school and almost half of the country’s population — 5.2 million people — in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, the United Nations’ Economic and Social Council convened a special meeting today with the goal of mobilizing an international response to the country’s food crisis, reports the Miami Herald.
Russian President Vladimir Putin promised Cuba economic help in relation to hardship caused by the embargo the United States has maintained for nearly 63 years. (EFE)
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has returned from a five-day Latin America tour, where he signed dozens of agreements with Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Throughout the trip, Raisi criticised the United States and the economic sanctions imposed on Iran and its allies in Latin America, reports Al Jazeera.
China’s engagement with Latin America has tended to be purely transactional — but this has evolved, and the region is increasingly useful to China in geopolitical terms, too, according to the Economist.
The U.S. fears Chinese geopolitical leverage in Latin America is a threat, while U.S. President Joe Biden, who sees China as a “strategic competitor” in the region, has pledged greater economic cooperation with Latin America, some analysts argue the United States should be doing more, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.
The new “nonalignment” practiced by Global South countries in relation to the Russia-Ukraine conflict differs from a similar approach adopted by nations in decades past in “that it is happening in an era in which developing nations are in a much stronger position than they once were, with rising powers emerging among them,” writes Jorge Heine in The Conversation.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “has arguably contributed to a region that is less politically stable and with a weakened democratic foundation,” writes Evan Ellis on the conflict’s impact in Latin America. (Global Americans)
Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele signed into law a bill to slash the country's 262 municipalities to just 44. The government said the move will cut spending, but opponents say it is a blatant power grab by an increasingly authoritarian leader. (Reuters)
The number of Salvadorans forcibly displaced due to factors of violence and insecurity grew by 20% last year, and totaled 259,395 as of December, according the United Nations Refugee Agency’s most recent data. (La Prensa Gráfica)
Environmental activist Oquelí Domínguez was killed by unidentified gunmen yesterday in northern Honduras, six months after his younger brother and another activist were killed in a similar attack, reports the Associated Press.
A Colombian Constitutional Court ruling could affect the country’s recently won right to abortion, according to women’s rights groups. The sentence, dated May 15 but made public last week, concerns a young indigenous woman who had been denied an abortion by her public health center. While the judges sided with the woman, the ruling stated: “It is not possible to assert the fundamental right to abortion.” (El País)
Colombia’s Petro administration announced five cease-fires with armed criminal organizations since December, though three have since collapsed, and “lacked clear rules and monitoring protocols.” However, the new cease-fire signed with the ELN in Havana last week is “more meticulous” and more realistic, Senator Iván Cepeda, a member of the Colombian government’s negotiating team, told Foreign Policy.
Petro’s total peace approach has effectively consisted of “using the tools of cease-fires, of humanitarian agreements, of negotiations” to try to “reduce violence against civilians,” International Crisis Group senior analyst Elizabeth Dickinson told Foreign Policy.
While some cease-fires under Petro have reduced homicides over specific periods of time, their success is not a given: After a government cease-fire with one group imploded in May, Dickinson said, “we’re actually worse off than if we’d never had the cease-fire at all,” not only because of lost trust but because the group became “far more aggressive in terms of their civilian control.” (Latin America Brief)
The case of the four Indigenous children who survived in the Amazon after a plane crash is representative of many Colombian narratives — the BBC delves into some that include the country’s massive (and often unknown) biodiversity, and its discriminated Indigenous minorities.
“These four children and their mother were running from something on that plane. We don't know exactly what, whether family or political violence, but they undertook a journey to escape from the world to which they belong.
It is a common story in the indigenous world, where suicide rates have risen in recent years due to forced recruitment by armed groups or the need to migrate to the city,” writes Daniel Pardo. (BBC)
Colombia’s Indigenous communities were a key component in the successful search for the children: 93 people from Indigenous communities across the country – including members of the Siona, Nasa, Huitoto, Sikuani, Misak, Murui and Koreguaje peoples – were flown into the southern jungles to assist soldiers’ search parties. The volunteers’ efforts have since been praised by the military, who say their familiarity with forest conditions was vital in finding the children in time, reports the Guardian.
The Americas Quarterly podcast evaluates the impact of Petro’s political scandals on the president’s leadership and reform agenda. Laura Lizarazo, a senior analyst at Control Risks, also takes stock of changes to Colombia’s energy sector, discusses the challenges to paz total and assesses the state of Colombia’s economy more broadly.
A mining project in Colombia’s Amazon, linked to the family of New Hampshire’s governor raises ethical and ecological concerns. (NBC)
A Colombian police officer has been admitted to hospital after swallowing a wad of banknotes he extorted from a businessman. (Guardian)
Mexico’s Army questioned more than 40 soldiers in an internal investigation into the disappearance of the 43 Ayotzinapa students, according to emails hacked by the Guacamaya collective. But the information was kept from the investigators of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) and Mexico’s attorney general. (A donde van los desaparecidos)
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has removed its chief medical officer from his position after an 8-year-old girl died in the agency’s custody last month — New York Times.
The Darien Gap is a deadly stretch of jungle that separates Colombia and Panama, and a major obstacle for migrants who are prey to natural and criminal threats along the way. But, for a German tourist company, the Darien Gap is a fresh opportunity for adventure, reports El País.
Brazil’s central bank is coming under renewed fire from a broad range of top government officials and business leaders calling for an interest rate cut, reports Bloomberg.
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s green agenda is suffering setbacks, reports the Economist.
There is little discussion of the environment in Argentina’s economic-crisis focused presidential campaigns. But the issue could be an opportunity for the economy and society in one of the region’s most climate change vulnerable countries, according to an opinion piece in El País.
Argentine federal judge Daniel Rafecas called on Interpol to detain four Lebanese citizens, so they can be questioned for their suspected role in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center that killed 85 people. (Associated Press)
Chile has been hit by its most severe respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) outbreak in years, overloading its public health system. Among the many factors behind the health crisis is poor air quality, reports El Hilo podcast.
Huge lines have reappeared outside Venezuelan gasoline stations as the oil industry rations fuel in response to technical failures at refineries, reports Bloomberg.
Peruvian President Dina Boluarte plans to stay in power until 2026, after Congress rejected her proposal to bring elections forward to this year. “That issue of bringing elections forward is closed, we will keep working responsibly” until July 2026, Boluarte said in a press conference. (Bloomberg)
Peru's health minister, Rosa Gutiérrez, resigned as the country struggles to control a dengue fever outbreak, reports the BBC.
Peru violated the rights of a 13-year-old girl who had been repeatedly raped by her father by denying her an abortion after she became pregnant, according to a ruling by the United Nations child rights committee. (Guardian)
Trinidad and Tobago
Families remember some of Trinidad and Tobago’s femicide victims — Guardian.
Latin America’s many single mothers are often locked out of the formal workforce, reports the Economist.