The Latin America Section of IR Insider publishes breaking news reports and analysis from Mexico, Chile, Brazil, and other Central American, South American, and Caribbean nations. Topics covered in the Latin America Section may range from Mexican-US Relations to the Economic Crisis in Venezuela and beyond. Our writers Alex Mason, Annika Squires, Jessie Wall, and Allie Rubeck produce weekly. Our section editors are Sarah Mendez and Carine Zambrano.
Peruvians voted in a referendum on Sunday, December 9, regarding judicial and legislative reforms aimed at curbing corruption. The current president, Martín Vizcarra, proposed the referendum in July in response to rampant and excessive levels of corruption in Peru.
After 6 years allowing Julian Assange to reside at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Ecuador has finally gotten fed up. The alleged sexual predator and the WikiLeaks founder has been living in the Embassy since he claimed asylum in 2012 to attempt to escape extradition to Sweden over sexual assault and rape charges. Assange claimed the rape charges were a ruse to extradite him to the United States, though Swedish prosecutors later dropped the rape charges.
Andrés Manuel López Obrador was sworn in as Mexico’s new president over the weekend. López Obrador is set to govern for one six-year term, as presidents are not allowed to run for reelection in Mexico.
The Argentine Senate passed new austerity measures for the 2019 budget on Thursday, cutting social spending and raising debt payments. The steep cuts were introduced in order to meet conditions for a $56 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund.
In a shocking decision, Cuba announced Wednesday that it is recalling thousands of doctors deployed to impoverished and remote regions of Brazil, as part of Brazil’s More Doctor program. Experts claim the recalling of doctors will deal a significant blow to the already unstable economy.
Former Chilean Army Chief Juan Emilio Cheyre was sentenced to three years and one day of house arrest for his complicity in the deaths of 15 people following Pinochet’s coup d’état in 1973.
In his first international tour, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel reaffirmed bilateral relations, negotiated trade deals, and worked to secure a $50 million military loan from Russia.
The migrant caravan traveling from Honduras to the United States left Mexico City early Friday morning, continuing its journey to the U.S. despite a proclamation from the Trump administration restricting asylum claims.
Ecuador’s former President Rafael Correa requested asylum in Belgium in a bid to avoid extradition to Ecuador. News of Correa’s asylum request, which sources claim occurred in June, has arisen after Ecuador’s top court ordered Correa to stand trial regarding his alleged role in a botched kidnapping attempt of an opposition lawmaker in 2012.
As the Venezuela immigration crisis continues, surrounding countries bear the burden and the resulting effects. Colombia, in particular, worries that the influx of one million refugees from Venezuela will destabilize not only their economy, but also their hard won democracy.
Ana González, a relentless crusader for human rights in Chile, whose husband, two children, and pregnant daughter-in-law disappeared during Augusto Pinochet’s 17-year dictatorship, has died at the age of 93. González never learned the fate of her family.
On Tuesday, Oct. 23, Colombia’s President Iván Duque Márquez was welcomed to NATO headquarters for the first time, representing the first and only Latin American country to solidify membership with NATO.
Brazil is set to elect far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro as president in the second round of elections on Sunday. His victory would cement the rise of populism in the country.
A caravan of thousands of Hondurans has embarked on a journey to the United States via Guatemala and Mexico. The caravan was advertised on Facebook as a former lawmaker published a poster, after which news of this caravan containing thousands of incoming illegal immigrants spread quickly through social media.
In the beginning of October, after five years of deliberation, the International Court of Justice delivered its ruling on Bolivia v. Chile and Obligation to Negotiate Access to the Pacific Ocean. Bolivia filed a lawsuit to the International Court of Justice arguing that Chile was obligated to negotiate with Bolivia to reach an agreement granting Bolivia sovereign access to the Pacific Ocean. The court ruled that Chile had no such obligation.
Thousands of migrants fleeing violence and economic hardship in Honduras arrived at the Guatemalan-Mexican border on Friday, leading to a tense standoff between Mexican riot police and the migrant caravan.
WikiLeaks announced on Friday that Julian Assange is taking legal action against the government of Ecuador for “violating his fundamental rights and freedom.” The lawsuit takes place following a downturn in the relations between the Ecuadorian government and Assange. Assange was granted refuge by the Ecuadorian government in 2012 and has lived in the country’s embassy in the United Kingdom since then.
Keiko Fujimori, a former presidential candidate and powerful Peruvian politician, was arrested last Wednesday, bringing uncertainty to one of Peru’s most powerful families. The Peruvian government alleges that Mrs. Fujimori, leader of the right-wing Popular Force party in Congress, was a co-conspirator in a money laundering scheme.
With an inflation rate nearing 500,000 percent, and more than two million citizens fleeing the country, the Venezuelan government may be lacking an effective economic plan, but they certainly don’t lack creativity.
Venezuelan citizens are fleeing economic disaster due primarily to hyperinflation.The annual inflation rate was a whopping 83,000 percent in July, and the IMF estimates the inflation rate to reach one million percent by the end of the year.
On Oct. 2, 1968, 44 protesting college student- activists were massacred by the Mexican government in what is now known as the Tlatelolco Massacre. Eight days later, 12 miles away, Mexico City displayed no evidence of its government’s gross crimes as the capital city welcomed the rest of the world to the 1968 Opening Ceremony of the Summer Olympics.
The Escazú Agreement made a mark on history after being signed by Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Mexico, Panama, Peru, St. Lucia, and Uruguay on September 27. The new agreement guarantees environmental rights in Latin America and the Caribbean. The agreement also makes it easier for citizens to access information and participate in the decision-making processes of environmental topics.
The front runner of Brazil’s presidential elections, Jair Bolsonaro, faced large protests over the weekend as he returned to Rio de Janeiro from São Paulo after being stabbed a few weeks ago. He was welcomed by tens of thousands of Brazilian citizens who gathered in protest upon his release from the hospital.
The trial of former Military Intelligence Chief, Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez, came to a close on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018. The Guatemala Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the country's military committed genocide and crimes against humanity in the 1980s. Despite this ruling, Jose Mauricio Rodriguez was acquitted of all charges.
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