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Latam Brief: Bolsonaro targeted by federal investigation, forced to surrender passport

© FT montage; Reuters/AFP/Getty Image
© FT montage; Reuters/AFP/Getty

Latin America Daily Briefing

Former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is under federal investigation—overseen by the country’s Supreme Court—for a series of alleged transgressions. The most prominent is the alleged January 8, 2023 coup attempt in which his supporters stormed the National Congress in Brasilia. In addition to the more than 1,400 individuals already charged for their alleged direct participation in the day’s events, search and arrest warrants have now been announced for four senior members of the Bolsonaro government, including two Army officers and two of Bolsonaro’s “former top aides.” Bolsonaro himself has been formally made a target of investigation and was told yesterday that he has 24 hours to surrender his passport to the authorities. (New York Times, BBC, Washington Post)

Bolsonaro is also under investigation for alleged illegal spying during his administration. This week, the Brazilian Federal Police raided the home and office of his son, Carlos Bolsonaro, in addition to other Bolsonaro-linked properties. “The investigation revolves around allegations that a parallel structure operated within the Brazilian Intelligence Agency (ABIN) during Bolsonaro’s presidency. This clandestine group is suspected of using agency resources to illegally monitor political opponents, journalists, and other perceived threats to the Bolsonaro administration,” explains the Washington Brazil Office.

More Brazil

  • Just days ahead of Carnaval, a surge in Dengue fever has forced Brazilian officials to declare emergency health measures and implement rapid vaccination procedures, says Reuters.  

Venezuela

  • “The EU Parliament said it will not recognize Venezuela’s presidential elections unless the government allows opposition candidate María Corina Machado to participate,” reports Bloomberg.

  • In National Interest, Scott B. MacDonald argues that Venezuela’s recent attempts to develop closer ties with African countries can not only “help it break out of its diplomatic isolation,” but also ideologically aligns Venezuela with the “Global South” and other BRICS+ nations.  

  • Exxon Mobil’s plan to explore for oil and cas “could escalate tensions between Venezuela and neighboring Guyana, which awarded the exploration license,” as the area of exploration is currently in dispute between the two countries, explains AP

Colombia

  • “The Colombian government will hold fresh peace talks with one of the main dissident FARC guerrilla groups still active in the country,” reports AFP.

El Salvador

  • Catherine Osborn reviews El Salvador’s election in her Foreign Policy Latin America Brief, noting that, “New Ideas will maintain its legislative majority, in part due to redrawn congressional districts that favor the president.” 

  • “The president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) in El Salvador, Dora Martínez, said on Tuesday, February 6, in a private meeting with the leaders of political parties, that she suspects that the collapse of the transmission system that provoked the total failure of the preliminary vote count in the presidential and legislative elections on Sunday, February 4, could have been intentionally provoked,” reports El Faro

  • Some of El Salvador’s opposition parties, led by the FMLN, are considering asking for the annulment of Sunday’s legislative elections given “serious inconsistencies” in the electoral process, informs Página 12

Guyana

  • “The Guyana Teachers Union has maintained its strike for better salaries and working conditions. The stoppage, which started Monday, included teachers nationwide — and was galvanized by opposition from the government, which said the strike was politicized and harmful to student’s welfare… The Guyana Ministry of Education halted the deduction of union dues from teachers’ salaries after determining that the strike is unlawful,” explains Jordana Timerman at Just Caribbean Updates.

Mexico

  • “Mr López Obrador had long been seen as a peso-pincher, partly because of his campaign of “republican austerity” and partly because he spent less than 2% of gdp to support people during the pandemic. Yet he has not so much cut as rejigged the budget to suit his populist priorities,” says The Economist, breaking down proposed reforms to increase spending ahead of the presidential elections later this year (and their budget implications). 

Argentina

  • Representatives from Goldman Sachs, Barclays, and Citi, some of Wall Street’s largest banks, are set to visit Argentina on Monday, reports Bloomberg.

  • In an effort to improve and increase shale production and boost YPF’s share price, Argentina’s state-run oil company YPF plans to sell assets including less-profitable oil fields and stakes in over 20 companies, according to Buenos Aires Times.

Chile

  • Indigenous communities in Chile’s Atacama desert, worried about their futures, oppose the agreement that the Chilean government is currently pursuing with state-owned oil company Codelco and private company SQM, says DW.

  • Former president Sebastián Piñera, who died in a helicopter accident earlier this week, is set to be honored in a state funeral today, reports Infobae.

Guatemala

  • InSight Crime profiles Ricardo Méndez Ruiz, head of the right-wing legal group the Foundation Against Terrorism (FCT, for its Spanish initials), noting how his background during Guatemala’s civil war has impacted his efforts to discredit President Bernardo Arévalo today. 

Ecuador

  • Ecuador’s legislature ratified the country’s free trade agreement with China, originally signed in 2023 under Guillermo Lasso, reports BN Americas. The approval officially makes Ecuador the fourth country in Latin America to sign a free trade agreement with China. 

Arianna Kohan and Jordi Amaral  / Latin America Daily Briefing 02 12 2024
http://latinamericadailybriefing.blogspot

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