Links from the past month about: Politics and security in Latin America
- A judge has ordered former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner to stand trial for employing fraudulent means to prop up the peso before the November 2015 presidential election. The alleged scheme may have drained US$3 billion from Argentina’s economy. It is the first of several accusations for which Fernández has been brought to trial.
- Prosecutor Carlos Lima, who is investigating corrupt practices by Odebrecht, a disgraced construction company with contracts all over Latin America, said that testimonies gathered so far may lead to 350 prosecutions against top officials. More than 950 depositions of 77 Odebrecht executives, which may be public soon, could “topple President Michael Temer’s government,” Reuters speculates. The New York Times noted that Brazilian lawmakers have a response to mounting scandals: “They are scrambling to give themselves amnesty.”
- Rather than fizzle out, Brazil’s massive 2013 street protests lit a spark that continues to burn, contends Americas Quarterly’s Brian Winter, a longtime Brazil watcher.
- A rare survey of Cuban public opinion, carried out by NORC last fall, finds nearly seven out of ten respondents wanting to move to the United States.
- Two current and two former members of Guatemala’s Congress were arrested for their alleged role in creating fictitious staff posts in the congressional leadership in order to collect their salaries. The investigation against them was spearheaded by the CICIG, the UN-led prosecutorial body.
- Three Mexican journalists have been murdered in March, in the organized crime-plagued states of Veracruz, Guerrero, and Chihuahua.
- Legislators from the ruling PRI party, the New York Times reports, are pushing security and criminal-code reform legislation that “is quietly trying to rip up basic legal protections for its citizens at home and gut longstanding efforts to fix the nation’s broken rule of law.”
- The Wall Street Journal profiles some of Mexico’s deeply corrupt state governors who, with a recent devolution in power to states with weak institutions, are now “worse than potentates.”
- The Tijuana-based Revista Zeta counts a staggering 90,694 homicides in Mexico in the 50 months since Enrique Peña Nieto was sworn in as president. The states with the most homicides are Mexico state, Guerrero, Chihuahua, Jalisco, and Sinaloa.
- International pressure on the Maduro government increased. OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro issued a new report to the Permanent Council contending that “Venezuela is in violation of every article in the Inter-American Democratic Charter” and “repeated attempts at dialogue have failed.” Almagro wants Venezuela suspended from the OAS. Fourteen governments, including the United States and the next six most-populous Latin American countries (excluding Venezuela), wrote a statement calling suspension a “last resort” and preferring dialogue, but also calling for release of political prisoners, recognition of the opposition-majority National Assembly’s decisions, and the holding of postponed local elections. The OAS Permanent Council is to meet this week about Venezuela.
- WOLA’s David Smilde has been urging a multilateral response to Venezuela’s crisis. See his March 14 column in the New York Times and letter to the Washington Post, which notes that “Mr. Almagro’s latest invocation of the [OAS Democratic] charter has a greater likelihood of success.”