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Latam Brief: Brazilian Amazon deforestation soars in Feb (March 13, 2023)

  • Deforestation in Brazilian Amazon hits tragic record in 2022
Aerial view showing a deforested area of the Amazonia rainforest in Labrea, Amazonas state, Brazil, on September 15, 2021.
Aerial view showing a deforested area of the Amazonia rainforest in Labrea, Amazonas state, Brazil, on September 15, 2021. 
(Evaristo Sa | AFP)

Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest rose in February to the highest level on record for the month. The 62% increase in destruction over last year highlights the challenges President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva faces in reverting his predecessor’s environmental devastation.

After preliminary data pointed towards the jump in destruction in February, Silva told reporters last month that loggers were working even during the Amazon’s rainy season as a “sort of revenge” against the administration’s crackdown on illegal logging, reports AFP.

More Amazon

  • Protected areas in Colombia’s Amazon region are at risk of increased damage because of lengthy staffing delays as the government has yet to renew contracts with national parks staff this year, reports Reuters.


  • Colombia’s government and the left-wing ELN guerrilla group said they took the first steps toward a bilateral, temporary ceasefire, as delegations to peace talks closed their second cycle of negotiations in Mexico City on Friday. (Reuters)

Regional Relations

  • The U.S. Biden administration is pushing Canada to decide on whether Ottawa will lead a multinational force into Haiti. While the U.S. has pinned hopes on Canada, the country’s leaders — including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has personally engaged with Caribbean leaders on the topic — have been casting doubts in private discussions and in press interviews, reports the Miami Herald.

  • Biden administration officials defended the government’s immigration policies toward Haitian migrants before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The policies include the deportation and repatriation of individuals back to Haiti despite its spiraling violence and deepening humanitarian crisis. (Miami Herald)


  • Migration advocates say the U.S. Biden administration’s efforts to create legal pathways for entry, but that a program implemented this year are confusing and make migrants jump impossible bureaucratic and technological hurdles. (New York Times)

  • In the midst of the changes, “some of the most vulnerable migrants are finding themselves stuck in squalid camps in Mexico,” reports the Washington Post. “Each day, migrants awake before sunrise to search for a WiFi signal and try to get one of the 700 to 800 appointments available at eight entry points. Advocates estimate there are more than 100,000 people seeking entry. The appointments fill up within five minutes.

  • The IOM found that migrant women face greater difficulties than men to regularize and integrate in receiving communities. Reasons include a disproportionate lack of access to formal employment opportunities and employment opportunities outside of the home and “gender roles and stereotypes that permeate their opportunities for socialization and inclusion.” — Americas Migration Brief

  • Eight people died and several more are believed to be missing after two fishing boats capsized late Saturday near the California coast. Authorities suspect a human smuggling operation. (Washington Post)


  • Conventional economic models render the care economy nearly invisible or simply wave it aside. ““Likewise, political debates too often treat the feminist or gender-based perspective as a side issue, rather than as a central concern. Yet this dimension of inequality pervades economic policymaking and macroeconomic outcomes. As such, it holds the key to building a more inclusive, sustainable, and well-functioning economy,” argues feminist economist Mercedes D’Alessandro in Project Syndicate.

  • Slow economic growth, inflation, and corruption allegations linked to presidents are challenging Ecuador, Colombia and Bolivia’s governments, an example of regional difficulties, writes James Bosworth at World Politics Review.


  • A recent cartel attack that killed two U.S. citizens and abducted two more in Matamoros was notable not because of the violence — which is quotidian — but rather because the targets violate an unwritten criminal organization rule to avoid U.S. citizens because it’s bad for business, reports the New York Times.


  • Guardian photo-essay on Havana’s housing eschews romanticism, and “documents the city’s housing situation as a microcosm of the country’s collapse. Many buildings have collapsed or been declared uninhabitable, forcing people to live in shelters or squat in unsafe conditions while new hotels are built around them.”

More Brazil

  • Lula has already replaced more than 100 military officers named to government positions by his predecessor, and has moved oversight of the country’s intelligence agency to his chief of staff’s office, among other changes aimed at rolling back military influence in the government, reports the Associated Press.

  • Reforestation using the Miyawaki method seeks to restore rainforest to its original state with results that can be seen in around six years and is compatible with urban areas, reports Mongabay.

  • A nude cycling protest in São Paulo yesterday sought to sensitize motorists to bikers’ “vulnerability” on the road. (AFP)


  • Security has become a major electoral issue ahead of Argentina’s general elections later this year, amid rising criminal violence in Rosario, with wide potential implications, reports Americas Quarterly. (See Friday’s briefs.)

  • Forty years after Argentina’s last civilian-military dictatorship ended, ongoing efforts to deliver justice and accountability are in the spotlight again because of “Argentina, 1985,” a film that earned an Oscar nomination for best international feature, though it didn’t win last night. (New York Times)


  • At least six people were killed by a powerful cyclone in Peru, which unleashed torrential rains and flooding in the country’s north. (Reuters)

Critter Corner

  • A new species of lizard, of the genus Proctoporus, was found in a high Andean area of the Otishi National Park in Peru. (AFP)

Jordana Timerman/Latin America Daily Briefing

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