Venezuela claims to have thwarted internationally coordinated coup attempt (June 27, 2019)
Venezuelan authorities say they thwarted a complicated military coup plot against President Nicolás Maduro. Information Minister Jorge Rodríguez said the plan would have involved an invasion by Israeli, Colombian and North American agents, the seizure of military bases, a raid on the central bank and the assassination or kidnapping of several senior officials -- including Maduro. He claims it would have been carried out by active duty and retired military officers, and was to have been executed between Sunday and Monday this past weekend. (Washington Post and AFP)
Maduro said the government would be "relentless" in its response to a "fascist coup attempt." (EFE)
Rodríguez said the plan focused on springing former defense minister Raul Baduel from jail and proclaim him president. Rodríguez also accused Maduro's former intelligence chief Cristopher Figuera of seeking "hundreds of thousands of dollars" for supporting the abortive uprising. Figuera, who fled the country after an aborted uprising and is now in the U.S., denied the charges, reports the Washington Post. The allegations come after Figuera granted the Wapo an extensive interview in which he accused high level officials and family members of money laundering and corruption. (See yesterday's briefs.)
Opposition leader Juan Guaidó -- accused by the government of orchestrating the alleged coup -- dismissed the accusations as fantastical, as did the Colombian and U.S. governments. The opposition pointed to a long history of such claims, and said the Maduro administration uses such narratives to justify crackdowns on dissent, reports the Associated Press.
The Venezuela crisis is high on the OAS General Assembly meeting agenda this week. Colombian President Iván Duque said that ending Venezuela's dictatorship is a regional obligation, in his speech in Medellín yesterday. OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro called on member states to avoid internal polarization and the "traps" created by authoritarian states to pit democracies against each other. (EFE) He also said it was “ridiculous” to blame U.S. financial and economic sanctions for Venezuela’s woes. A recent United Nations’ statement by human rights chief Michelle Bachelet that economic sanctions have exacerbated Venezuela's humanitarian crisis, only help prop up Maduro's dictatorial regime, he said. (Miami Herald)
The United States and Guatemala are close to reaching a safe third country agreement as part of an effort to curb U.S-bound migrants, said U.S. President Donald Trump yesterday. (Reuters)
The image of a drowned Salvadoran migrant and his toddler daughter have become a focal point in the debate over U.S. migration policy. (See yesterday's briefs.) They were victims of " fast-moving waters and an asylum system unprepared for the crush of Central Americans fleeing crime and poverty," writes the Washington Post. But they are just two of dozens of people who have drowned so far this year trying to cross the treacherous Rio Grande, reports the Guardian.
Some analyses on what it means to use such images of personal tragedy in the media and to view them as spectators -- New York Times and Guardian.
Tomorrow is the anniversary of the 2009 coup against Honduran president Mel Zelaya. The country is in the midst of its worst crisis since, with violent street protests demanding the resignation of current president Juan Orlando Hernández, reports AFP.
The U.N. human rights office deployed special observation missions to diverse parts of Honduras to monitor use of force against protesters, reports Criterio.
Protesters were initially spurred by education and health sector reforms. Al Jazeera reports that 90 percent of public schools in the country are facing an infrastructure crisis and hospitals are turning away patients.
A sustained reduction in homicides in Honduras -- 47 percent between 2013 and 2017 -- has led to a decrease in the impunity rate -- from 96 percent in 2013 to 87 percent in 2017 -- according to a new report by Asociación para una Sociedad más Justa. Despite this bit of good news, other evidence, such as an alarming uptick in massacres this year, demonstrates a broad level of insecurity in Honduras, notes InSight Crime.
Riots, escapes, extortion rackets and killings are now common in Venezuela's police station jails, which are facing the same issues as seen within the country’s prisons: overcrowding, violence, corruption and the rise of prison bosses, reports InSight Crime.
Jamaica passed a medical marijuana bill two years ago, but the nascent industry still faces significant regulatory hurdles, reports the Miami Herald.
Spanish police arrested a member of the Brazilian air force traveling with the Brazilian president’s advance party for the G20 summit in Japan after 39kg of cocaine was discovered in his luggage during a stopover, reports the Guardian. The episode is particularly embarrassing as President Jair Bolsonaro has promised to pursue drug traffickers and defends Brazilian military professionalism and integrity, reports the New York Times.
Brazilian police are investigating whether mining company Vale SA carried out detonations that could have trigged a tailings dam collapse in January, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Brazil needs energy reform -- but Bolsonaro will have to work with Congress to achieve that, write Lisa Viscidi and Nate Graham in Americas Quarterly.
Chilean intellectual and activist Marta Harnecker died this month. She was perhaps one of the last remaining stars of the "hard" left in Latin America, writes Jorge Castañeda in a New York Times op-ed that recounts Harnecker's trajectory.
Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take? Let me know ...