5 links from the past week
- The New York Times‘ multimedia presentation about the pandemic’s sweep through Brazil’s Amazon is unspeakably sad but a necessary historical marker, thanks to Tyler Hicks’s remarkable photos. What would be different, one wonders, if Brazilians had different leadership.
- Six organizations (including WOLA), convened by the Latin America Working Group, published a “roadmap for transforming” U.S. relations with Central America’s Northern Triangle. It could hardly be more urgently needed. May the next administration take heed. (May there be a “next administration.”)
- Bolivia’s unelected interim government suspended elections again this week, citing the coronavirus. Also this week, Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic and the University Network for Human Rights published a strong report on “gross human rights abuses” committed by the U.S.-backed interim government, starting with what it calls “Black November.”
- Colombia’s U.S.-backed (a compound adjective I use a lot) forced coca eradication campaign is going full speed during the pandemic. With about six farmers/protesters killed since COVID-19 hit, the security forces accompanying eradicators appear to be more inclined to rough people up, to escalate situations, and to resort quickly to lethal force. I say “appear” because we don’t have a comprehensive picture yet, but read this account from the Guayabero River region of south-central Colombia, by La Liga Contra el Silencio, and draw your own conclusions.
- The UN Office on Drugs and Crime published its full report on coca cultivation in Colombia in 2019, finding a modest decrease in acreage but consistent cocaine production. (I guess the remaining plants are getting taller.) Interestingly, the epicenter of cultivation has shifted from Tumaco in the far southwest to Catatumbo in the far northeast. (UNODC also released its 2019 Bolivia report this week.)