Venezuela talks to resume, soonish (July 31, 2019)
Talks between Venezuela's government and the political opposition will resume this week, according to opposition leader Juan Guaidó's Washington representative Carlos Vecchio. He would not specify exactly when or where the talks would occur, but said he expects a resolution to the standoff by the end of the year, reports the Associated Press. (Al Jazeera too.)
Guaidó himself said the next meetings would be announced by Norway, which is mediating the talks. (Venezuela Weekly)
Venezuela's government uses cryptocurrencies to evade U.S. sanctions -- though evidence suggests that international cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, are proving more useful than the Petro, according to InSight Crime.
The Venezuelan bolivar depreciated rapidly in July, losing in just four weeks more than 35 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar in the country's parallel market. (Miami Herald)
Russia will not participate in an international meeting on the Venezuela crisis to be held in Lima next week, in part because President Nicolás Maduro's representatives were not invited, reports Reuters.
Colombian President Iván Duque accused his Venezuelan counterpart of turning Venezuela into a terrorist haven. The comment was in response to Maduro's statement that two missing former FARC guerrilla commanders are welcome in Venezuela, reports Reuters. (See yesterday's briefs.)
Former Uruguayan president José Mujica called Maduro's government a dictatorship on Sunday, and was seconded by his party's presidential candidate Daniel Martínez. (AFP)
Latin America lacks a regional strategic vision to face the challenge of a "double external dependence" on China and the U.S., write Tomás Bontempo in Nueva Sociedad.
What nepotism? U.S. President Donal Trump celebrated Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's decision to appoint his son, Eduardo, as ambassador to Washington. "I know his son. I find his son to be outstanding. He’s a brilliant, wonderful young man," Trump told reporters. (The Hill)
Trump said yesterday said he will pursue a U.S. trade agreement with Brazil and cited his good relationship with Bolsonaro. (Reuters)
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees congratulated Brazil for recognizing (many) Venezuelan migrants as refugees, based on the Cartagena Declaration of 1984, reports the latest Venezuela Weekly. While fragile and exhibiting some rigidities, the current Brazilian response raises the bar for governments in the region, according to David Smilde.
Guatemala's government is moving to restrict access to the National Police Historical Archive, which has helped convict more than 30 military officers, soldiers and paramilitaries of crimes against humanity committed during the country's bloody civil war. It is part of a broader battle against rule of law by President Jimmy Morales, writes Colum Lynch. Foreign Policy reports that the U.S. suppressed criticism of the archives move in the midst of negotiations for an asylum agreement with Guatemala. (See Monday's post.)
Canadian mining firm Tahoe Resources apologized to Guatemalan demonstrators shot and wounded during a 2013 protest against the company's Guatemalan gold and silver mine, reports AFP.
Colombia's homicide rate rose last year -- the first increase in a decade. The rise reflects conflict between criminal groups that seek to control former FARC territories in the wake of the guerrilla group's demobilization, reports InSight Crime.
Former Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes was granted Nicaraguan citizenship -- a move that will likely foil efforts to make him face charges of embezzlement and money laundering in El Salvador, as Nicaragua prohibits extradition of its citizens, reports Reuters.
Some anti-corruption protesters in Haiti have lashed out against the U.S., which they accuse of supporting President Jovenel Moïse, reports Voice of America.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been criticized for lacking an economic plan. But he does have one -- to increase the purchasing power of the country's poorest. However, his strategy for achieving this end is wrong, argues Viridiana Ríos in a New York Times Español op-ed.
Ecuador's Azuay provincial government has proposed a popular referendum on the development of new mines in the region, a new obstacle to President Lenín Moreno's efforts to increase foreign investment in the sector, reports Reuters.
Argentina's political debate, less than a month before national primaries kick off a prolonged electoral season, remains superficially polarized, but masks a systemic shift to the right, argues Fernando Rosso in Nueva Sociedad. He cites a general agreement that external debt contracted by the current government must be honored and indications that a Fernández-Fernández government would take a conservative approach to stopping inflation.
The presidential candidates have been set for over a month, and the upcoming August 11 primaries won't actually determine the candidates for any major coalitions in the October election. But the vote could still have a big impact on the race by weeding out parties with low thresholds of support and providing campaigns with a benchmark moving forward. They also play a significant role for investors, and the results can destabilize markets ahead of October's election, writes Brendan O'Boyle in Americas Quarterly.
IPS reports on how a biodigestor at a Buenos Aires soup kitchen allows an activist to combine social work with environmental activism.
Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take? Let me know ...Latin America Daily Briefing