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Venezuelan police abuse in poor communities (Sept. 19, 2019)
Venezuelan police been carrying out extrajudicial executions and arbitrary arrests in poor communities that no longer support the Nicolás Maduro government, according to a new Human Rights Watch report. The attacks were carried out by police with the Special Actions Force of Venezuela (FAES) unit, which was linked to widespread allegations of abuse of ordinary citizens during what was known as the “Operation to Liberate and Protect the People” (Operación de Liberación y Protección del Pueblo, OLP). Most of the killings Human Rights Watch reviewed are consistent with the abusive policing practices that several security agencies have used for years.
Confused about who is negotiating what with whom in Venezuela? You should be. But David Smilde and Dimitris Pantoulas explain the turnaround from Norway-mediated negotiations in Barbados to Maduro led negotiations with eight minor opposition lawmakers in the latest Venezuela Weekly. Nonetheless, they say it's premature to fully give up on the Norway-mediated negotiations.
Controversial pictures of opposition leader Juan Guaidó with members of a paramilitary organization in February confirm the extreme level of control that criminal gangs have along sections of the Venezuela-Colombia border, reports InSight Crime. (See Monday's post.)
A Venezuelan student who had been detained by military counter-intelligence agents, Michelle Peñalver, was released yesterday, according to Foro Penal. (Efecto Cocuyo)
Maduro and Guaidó, considered Venezuela's legitimate leader by a chunk of the international community, will take their power struggle to the U.N. General Assembly meeting and side events in New York next week, reports Reuters.
It's not clear whether Guaidó himself will attend, but if he does, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres has no plans to meet with him, reports AFP.
There are rumors that face-to-face encounter between Maduro and U.S. President Donald Trump is planned in New York. In World Politics Review, Frida Ghitis wonders if a deal stemming from secret negotiations might be announced there.
Venezuela's socialist government called on the United States to restore diplomatic ties with Caracas, yesterday. (AFP)
Rio Treaty countries will meet next week in New York, where Colombia expect to obtain the 13 out of 18 votes needed to implement multilateral sanctions against Venezuela that could include loss of diplomatic recognition and an economic boycott, reports the Associated Press.
The expected incoming European Union head diplomat Josep Borrell called on Europe to marshall assistance for Colombia in order to help the South American country deal with the "biblical exodus" of refugees from Venezuela, reports Efecto Cocuyo.
A side-effect of Venezuela's mass migration is the rapid growth of delivery apps in receiving countries, reports Efecto Cocuyo.
Guterres has called a major climate summit in New York next week. Countries are expected to announce more ambitious climate targets than they set in Paris, and solid plans to achieve them. The Conversation reviews how countries have fared since the landmark Paris agreement: eight jurisdictions with good progress since 2015 include Chile, Costa Rica and Argentina.
Brazilian environment minister, Ricardo Salles, is scheduled to meet a rightwing US advocacy group that denies climate change ahead of the U.N. Climate Action Summit, reports the Guardian.
Austria is expected to veto the European Union-Mercosur trade pact over concerns about Amazon fires and threats to the national farming sector. Last month France and Ireland also threatened not to ratify the deal due to concerns regarding Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's reaction to the Amazon fires. (Guardian)
Categorizing the Amazon fires as a crime against humanity could be a helpful way of prosecuting environmental destruction, argues Tara Smith in the Conversation.
Bolsonaro has unveiled plans for an ambitious transformation of the country’s nuclear policy, and in eight months has begun to open up the nuclear sector to private investment, substituted old tenets of nuclear diplomacy for new ones, and restated ambitious plans to acquire additional capabilities. But achieving this vision will require an updated regulatory framework to respond to new challenges warn Matias Spektor, Togzhan Kassenova, and Lucas Perez Florentino in Arms Control Today.
Bolsonaro's administration has also continued its predecessor's large divestiture program -- aiming to sell off as many state-owned enterprises as possible. The program could help Brazil with some large fiscal challenges, argues John Welch in Americas Quarterly.
Nicaraguan workers sterilized by a pesticide used on banana plantations decades ago are suing chemical companies in France for damages awarded by Nicaraguan courts. If successful, the case could set a new legal precedent and lead to more lawsuits being filed in France for harm done in other countries by the pesticide Nemagon, reports the New York Times.
Mexico's attorney general will reopen the investigation into the disappearance of 43 Ayotzinapa students in 2014. Meeting with families of the victims, he said authorities will seek to prevent the release of more suspects in the case, reports Animal Político. (See Tuesday's briefs.)
A new think tank in Mexico seeks to explore how transitional justice could be applied for victims of the country's violence and human rights violations. (Animal Político)
Animal Político reports on how Mexico's government attempts to protect journalists in one of the most dangerous countries in the world for media workers -- with mixed results. 131 Mexican journalists have been murdered because of their work since 2000 and the problem appears to be worsening: 11 journalists have been killed during the López Obrador administration, reports InSight Crime.
Media coverage of public displays of brutality by Mexico’s criminal groups has actually encouraged more violence according to a new study. (InSight Crime)
An investigation by Mexicanos contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad linked buildings with severe 2017 earthquake damage in Mexico City to corruption among builders and authorities who supervise them. (Washington Post)
Guatemala's homicide rate halved in the past decade, from 48 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2009 to 21.6 in August of this year, according to the Observatorio sobre la Violencia. (Agencia Guatemalteca de Noticias)
Argentine senators unanimously approved a food emergency law to help address growing poverty, yesterday, in response to mass protests, and pleas from social movements, Catholic leaders and labor groups, reports Al Jazeera.
Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benítez proposed a controversial constitutional amendment to allow the armed forces to combat organized crime. The move is in response to the escape of an alleged leader of the notorious Brazilian cartel Comando Vermelho while being returned to jail in a police-escorted vehicle after a scheduled court hearing in Asunción was cancelled at the last minute. (Guardian)
Squatters found human remains at a property once owned by the former Paraguayan rightwing dictator Alfredo Stroessner. Bones belonging to an estimated four people were found under a bathroom in the house near Ciudad del Este were found by people apparently digging for buried treasure, reports the Guardian.
Pro-choice demonstrators clashed with police outside Ecuador's Congress after lawmakers rejected a bill that would have permitted abortion for pregnancies resulting from rape, reports the Guardian. (See yesterday's briefs.)
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