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Latam Brief: Amazon Javari Valley operation planned (February 20, 2023)

Latin America Daily Briefing
Latin America Daily Briefing

Several Brazilian cabinet ministers will accompany Indigenous activists to visit the spot in the Amazon Javari Valley where where Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira were murdered last year. Security forces are poised to launch a major operation against illegal activity in area, reports the Guardian.

Among them will be Sonia Guajajara, the country’s first minister of Indigenous peoples. The creation of the post and her appointment is a significant victory for Indigenous rights activists, but they face challenging systemic problems, reports the Washington Post. “We know it will not be easy to overcome 522 years in four,” Guajajara said at her swearing-in ceremony.

News Briefs

More Brazil

  • Heavy rains in coastal areas of Brazil’s southeast have caused flooding and landslides that killed 36 people and displaced hundreds of others, reports Reuters.

  • President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva toured the affected region this morning, just as Brazil celebrated carnival. (AFP)

  • The Jan. 8 attacks in Brasília “exposed a civil-military crisis” in Brazil that could hinder Lula’s democratic agenda. But the political capital the government garnered in the wake of the riots “opens a window of opportunity for long-needed reform to address the military’s institutional hold on power,” argues Luiza Duarte at the Aula Blog.

Colombia

  • Colombian Amazon deforestation has been driven by cattle-ranching rather than coca production, according to a new study that contradicts previous governments’ focus on coca eradication as an environmental policy, reports the Guardian.

  • Colombia’s government presented a bill to lawmakers that would raise public spending in its budget this year by $5.11 billion, in order to finance the Petro administration’s proposed social programs. (Reuters)

Peru

  • Five illegal loggers in Peru have been given 28-year jail sentences for the murder of four Indigenous leaders. Prominent anti-logging campaigner Edwin Chota was one of the victims of the 2014 crime, one of the most notorious crimes against environmental defenders in Peru. The sentence represents a rare win for environmental justice in the country, according to the Guardian.

  • Peru’s political crisis and the impasse between anti-government demonstrators and the country’s leadership has given a jolt of self-confidence to Peru’s Indigenous movement, reports the Associated Press.

  • Peru’s Congress passed a constitutional complaint against ousted former President Pedro Castillo for alleged corruption. The move permits Attorney General Patricia Benavides to formally accuse Castillo before Peru’s judiciary, reports Reuters.

Venezuela

  • “Venezuela’s military launched an operation against illegal miners in Yapacana National Park following an international backlash over the destruction of the country’s Amazon rainforest. But with armed groups and corrupt state elements profiting from illegal mining, doubts over the commitment remain,” reports InSight Crime.

Migration

  • ​​The Center for Migration Studies highlights the expansion of Venezuelan migrants’ organizations across Latin America, noting that a majority of these civil groups are led by women, while the Catholic Church and other faith organizations have also played important roles — Americas Migration Brief

  • A permit program created by Colombia in 2021 — with financial support from the U.S. — allows Venezuelan migrants to live and work legally for 10 years in the country. It’s hailed as an innovative model, but many Venezuelans are still unable to make ends meet and heading for the U.S., reports the New York Times.

Nicaragua

  • The Nicaraguan government’s massive political prisoner release earlier this month “was not a signal of potential change or openness to negotiations … It is part of a successful strategy of repression that has prevented Ortega’s opposition from organizing, even though his regime enjoys only a tiny amount of political support in the country,” writes James Bosworth in World Politics Review.

  • The Nicaraguan government’s decision to strip more than 300 people of citizenship over the past two weeks shows Daniel Ortega’s “absolute control of the judiciary and legislature,” Tamara Taraciuk Broner, acting director for the Americas for Human Rights Watch, told the New York Times.

Regional Relations

  • Chilean President Gabriel Boric lambasted Ortega on Twitter on Saturday: “The dictator does not know that the homeland is carried in the heart and in actions, and is not deprived by decree.” The message was a response to a poem published by Gioconda Belli, one of the Nicaraguans stripped of citizenship last week. (El País)

El Salvador

  • Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele’s punitive crackdown against gangs – which has seen more than 64,000 people jailed – has produced “extraordinary change” for the country’s residents, albeit at a huge cost for democracy and human rights. And experts question the durability of the pacification, reports the Guardian

Jordana Timerman / Latin America Daily Briefing
http://latinamericadailybriefing.blogspot

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