Venezuelan gov't accused of torturing opposition legislator (Aug. 14, 2018)
The Venezuelan government insists an attempted drone attack on a military parade was an assassination attempt against President Nicolás Maduro -- carried out by people trained in Colombia and financed by anti-chavistas in Bogotá and Miami. So far 11 people have been detained in relation to the case, and the government is seeking 19 others.
In his Venezuela Weekly, David Smilde emphasizes the case of lawmaker Juan Requesens, who last week was arrested by the intelligence agency police and irregularly stripped of parliamentary immunity. A video taped confession has been criticized as coerced, and Requesens spent a week in detention without access to his lawyers. A leaked video appears to show Requesens in his underwear, apparently stained with feces, and has led to accusations of torture. (Infobae)
Requesens was charged yesterday with attempted homicide against Maduro, National Guard members, financing terrorism, and treason, reports Efecto Cocuyo. Yesterday his fellow lawmakers demanded a legal medical examination to determine whether he had been tortured and whether the confession was coerced. (Efecto Cocuyo)
Yesterday Maduro insisted on the validity of Requesens' alleged confession, reports Runrun.eshttps://runrun.es/nacional/357466/maduro-requesens-pudo-apegarse-al-precepto-constitucional-pero-no-el-declaro.html
The Venezuelan Episcopal Conference has accused the government of using repressive violence against dissidents, making reference to Requesens' detention. (Efecto Cocuyo)
Other Venezuela news
Maduro said fuel prices in Venezuela must be raised to stop smuggling into neighboring countries. (BBC) Fuel prices have remained largely flat throughout years of high inflation, making it an attractive target for smugglers. (Guardian) But the underlying issue isn't smuggling, but rather oil prices that don't cover the costs of production, argues Efecto Cocuyo.
As Venezuelan migration into neighboring countries become an ever more pressing issue, observers are concerned about xenophobic backlash. At Prodavinci Diego Salazar analyzes the trend in Peru. (Included in Venezuela Weekly.)
"I really don’t understand why people in this country hate us so much," writes sixteen-year-old Kelly Pinos in a New York Times op-ed. She is the U.S. citizen daughter of an undocumented migrant who claimed sanctuary in a New Haven church to avoid deportation last year. "This year, I’ve realized that there aren’t as many good people as I thought there were. The truth is I’ve never seen so much hatred."
"My imprisonment was the latest phase in a slow-motion coup designed to permanently marginalize progressive forces in Brazil," argues former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in a New York Times op-ed written from jail. "It is intended to prevent the Workers’ Party from again being elected to the presidency. With all the polls showing that I would easily win this October’s elections, Brazil’s extreme right wing is seeking to knock me out of the race. My conviction and imprisonment is based solely on the testimony of a witness whose own sentence was reduced in exchange for what he said against me. In other words, it was in his personal interest to tell the authorities what they wanted to hear."
Ruralista lawmakers in Brazil -- representing the country's big agriculture interests -- have revived a legislative proposal that would loosen pesticide regulations and ban organic produce in major supermarkets, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Pesticide manufacturer Syngenta is behind an innovative food security festival held in Rio de Janeiro. (Guardian)
Colombia's leadership has failed to protect social activists, who have become victims of systematic killings since the FARC demobilization began in 2016, reports NACLA, which identifies three major spikes in anti-activist violence: the lead up to the October 2016 peace plebiscite, this year's legislative elections in March and presidential elections in June. "...though the surge in anti-activist violence may not be the result of a national political project promoted by any one particular paramilitary successor group, it does reflect local political and economic interests."
Some experts advocate convening a constitutional reform in Honduras as a way of strengthening hopelessly weakened institutions -- a sort of clean slate after years of violations and modifications, argues Hugo Noé Pino at Aula Blog.
Cuban dissident José Daniel Ferrer has been held incomunicado by authorities since Aug. 3. The Cuban government accused him of attempted murder, a charge supporters say is a farce. (Miami Herald)
Cuban authorities cooperated with the U.S. FBI to capture a man accused of eco terrorism in Oregon. (Miami Herald)
Neurologists challenged U.S. claims of "sonic attack" against its diplomats in Havana, reports the Guardian.
Paraguayan authorities recently arrested nine individuals, dismantling an alleged marijuana trafficking ring linked to public officials in the Brazilian border region -- a sign of "how entrenched corruption has made the country South America’s top illegal marijuana producer and facilitates the drug’s transport across the border with Brazil," reports InSight Crime.
A Mexican judge ordered the country's attorney general to further investigate the so-called Tlatlaya massacre, the 2014 alleged extrajudicial killings of 22 people by the military. The The Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez Human Rights Center (Prodh) said the judge asked the attorney general to "carry out a series of proceedings to immediately clarify the case and establish responsibilities, including the chain of command involved in the illegal order to shoot." (Reuters) (See post for Nov. 8, 2017, for example.)
Mexican president-elect Andres Manuel López Obrador said his government will invest $11 billion in domestic oil refining capacities in order to reduce the country's dependence on U.S. refined oil imports. (Reuters)
Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra said his government will try to pass laws allowing plans Canadian miner Plateau Energy Metals’ proposed $800 million lithium mine to advance, reports Reuters.
Evo Morales' administrations in Bolivia have made huge strides, particularly in indigenous rights -- but can the revolution survive the end of Morales' mandate -- and his quest for a fourth reelection? (The New Republic)
Guatemala outlawed child marriages last year -- but advocates say the practise persists, especially among rural communities that are unaware of the ban altogether. (Reuters)
Chile's culture minister resigned four days after assuming office, over comments he made in 2015, disparaging a human rights museum documenting abuses under General Augusto Pinochet's government. (BBC)
Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take? Let me know ...
Latin America Daily Briefing