Venezuelan protesters clash with police (April 5, 2017)
Police clashed with thousands of protesters in Caracas yesterday. The National Guard and national police fired tear gas and deployed a water cannon against youths armed with stones and bottles, reports the Wall Street Journal. Several police were injured, and opposition lawmakers had to hug some officers to protect them from angry protesters.
Demonstrators protested a Supreme Court decision wresting power away from the country's legislative branch, reports the New York Times. (See Monday's post.) Though the most contentious aspects of the ruling were reversed over the weekend, the political opposition is seeking to use the episode to focus popular anger at President Nicolás Maduro. However, yesterday's mobilization failed to convoke poor Venezuelans, according to the NYT.
Opposition leaders seek to give an example of civic resistance, and say dialogue is meaningless at this stage. They say they are being attacked violently by government supporters, reports the WSJ. And almost a hundred opposition leaders and activists are in jail, awaiting trial on charges ranging from terrorism to improper waste disposal.
OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro condemned the "brutal repression," reports EFE.
In the meantime, the ongoing power struggle between the National Assembly and the Supreme Court continues: legislators seek to impeach several magistrates, who said the legislators alone don't have the power to remove them, reports Efecto Cocuyo.
Ecuador's electoral council gave Lenín Moreno the formal victory in the country's presidential elections, saying Sunday's results were irreversible. Moreno obtained 51.16 percent, and his opponent 48.8 in the run-off vote, reports the BBC. (See yesterday's post.) Interestingly, opposition candidate Guillermo Lasso, who has claimed fraud, received pressure from conservative politicians who said he must provide real evidence of wrongdoing in order to maintain credibility, reports the Wall Street Journal. He promised to present evidence this morning in Guayaquil. Yesterday the OAS said observers found no evidence of wrongdoing.
Moreno has promised to honor WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's asylum, but warned him to stay out of domestic politics, reports the Guardian. (See yesterday's briefs.)
The Colombian peace process requires the FARC to transition from guerrilla fighting force into a political party, but the question remains whether the reinvented FARC will be accepted by the country's political establishment, writes Camille Boutron in the Conversation. The other question she poses is how the transformation will affect the diverse groups within the organization -- she notes that while the FARC itself is very heterogenous, its leadership is largely white and male, reflecting outside social hierarchies.
The former Guatemalan minister of social welfare and his deputy were charged yesterday with negligent homicide by the country's top prosecutor in the case of a fire that killed 41 girls in a government shelter last month, reports the BBC.
Former Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchener was indicted again yesterday, this time with her two adult children, by a judge who said there is evidence of a corruption related conspiracy, reports the New York Times. The charges could lead to prison sentences of up to 10 years if the Kirchners are convicted. In a sign of how convoluted the court cases against Kirchner are -- and she says they're all trumped-up and politically motivated -- the judge in question immediately said he lacked jurisdiction and passed the case onto another judge investigating the same charges, reports Página 12.
Apparently a "too good to be true" 50 percent drop in Mexico's Nayarit state's violence was due to a sort of "pax mafiosa," in which state prosecutor Edgar Veytía collaborated with organized crime, reports the Guardian.
Did you hear the one about American kids on Spring Break in Cancún chanting about "building the wall"? Turns out that the whole "xenophobic spring breakers" trend is just fake news, according to dozens of area tourism workers interviewed by the Guardian. Partying college kids might be drunken louts, but even they say the wall is crazy.