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Latam Brief: Guatemala suspends Movimiento Semilla (November 3, 2023)

TSE confirma la suspensión de la personería jurídica del partido Movimiento Semilla. (Prensa libre)

Latin America Daily Briefing

Guatemala’s Citizen Registry, the body in charge of regulating the country’s political parties, announced the suspension of president-elect Bernardo Arévalo’s Movimiento Semilla group yesterday.

A judge had granted the party’s suspension at the request of the Attorney General’s Office in July, shortly before Arévalo was declared the second-place finisher in the initial round of voting. But a higher court ruled that the party could not be suspended during the election cycle, which ended on Oct. 31, reports the Associated Press.

However, since the original judge’s order for the party’s suspension remained pending, the Citizen Registry said it executed the order, reports AFP. The Citizen Registry, however, said that the suspension “cannot reverse the results” of the election, which were won by Arévalo, nor can it annul the 23 seats the Seed Movement won in Congress, reports El País.

But the party’s elected lawmakers would be declared independent, reports Prensa Libre.

The Attorney General’s Office has alleged wrongdoing in the way the party collected the necessary signatures to register years earlier, but critics say it is part of judicial efforts to subvert the elections.

Indigenous authorities announced protests against Porras, today and tomorrow. (Prensa Libre)

Biden hosts Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity Leaders’ Summit

U.S. President Joe Biden is hosting leaders from 10 countries in the Americas today for a meeting intended to address the historic flow of migrants in the region by bolstering national economies. Leaders from Canada, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay and Panama are in attendance, and several had private meetings with Biden yesterday.

The U.S. has billed the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity Leaders’ Summit as a “once in a generation opportunity” to shift more of the global supply chains to the Western Hemisphere. The U.S. seeks to counter China’s economic influence in Latin America.

Biden yesterday drew a sharp contrast between the U.S.’s economic efforts and China’s practices: “We want to make sure that our closest neighbors know they have a real choice between debt-trap diplomacy and high-quality transparent approaches to infrastructure and inter-development,” Biden said.

Biden is expected to announce new efforts to work with the Inter-American Development Bank to help countries in the region modernize their digital and physical infrastructure and to collaborate with fomenting entrepreneurship.

(Associated Press, New York Times, Reuters)

“Biden is facing growing pressure from fellow Democrats and foreign allies to flesh out an economic partnership with Latin America that the White House has promised will tackle immigration, regional trade and China’s efforts to expand its influence in the region,” reports Politico.


  • “Illicit profits are soaring as the flow of migrants swells” across the Darien Gap, “with much of the money going to organised crime,” according to a new Crisis Group report. “Efforts by Colombia and Panama to impede the movement of people or weaken the criminal groups’ hold have so far failed to curb murder, rape and other attacks on migrants.”

  • “Handling mass migration is a matter of extreme political sensitivity in many countries, greatly complicating responses to the Darién exodus,” notes the report.

Regional Relations

  • President Joe Biden met separately with the leaders of the Dominican Republic and Chile at the White House on yesterday to discuss key issues like economic relations and migration, reports NBC.

  • Chilean President Gabriel Boric told Biden that Israel’s actions were violating international law, reports Reuters. (See Wednesday’s post.)

  • Dominican Republic President Luis Abinader also met with Biden yesterday to discuss Haiti’s security situation and the economic relationship between Washington and Santo Domingo, among other topics, reports the Miami Herald.

  • The U.N. General Assembly called for the 31st time on the United States to end its decades-long embargo against Cuba — the U.S. and Israel were the only countries that voted against the non-binding resolution, with Ukraine abstaining. (Reuters)

  • Venezuela is planning a referendum titled “in defense of Guayana Esequiba,” next month, with questions aimed at securing public support for the annexation of Guyana’s Essequibo region. Guyana and CARICOM say the referendum is in violation of international law and disregards the ongoing International Court of Justice process to settle the dispute between the two countries. (See today’s Just Caribbean Updates.)


  • El Faro celebrates its 25 anniversary with a dossier of articles looking at “Democracy under Fire” in Latin America, with articles by Carlos Chamorro, Claudia Paz y Paz, Luicana Peker, María Teresa Ronderos, Antonia Urrejola, Gioconda Belli, Jennifer Avila, and more.

  • “Democracy not only creaks in all corners of our continent. It has lost meaning. … Mainly because this volatile concept, our great horizon and shield to defend, no longer guarantees citizens the minimum they need or the hope that awakens them,” writes Mónica González in her introduction. (El Faro)

  • “Where is the threshold between a democracy and a non-democracy? It seems that, for Latin America, for its leaders, its elite, it is not clear where that limit is,” writes Antonia Urrejola for El Faro.

  • Security is one of the main issues underlying the region’s growing democratic disenchantment. “Latin America’s murder map is being redrawn. … In previously safe countries murder rates are hitting record levels, including Ecuador, Costa Rica and Chile. Call it the new narco network: a cocktail of drugs, guns and migration is fueling gang violence across the region,” reports the Economist.

  • In terms of regional analysis, “categorizing countries as simply “left” or “right” is an oversimplification that loses a lot of interesting context and nuance,” writes Boz, with an update to his viral political map of Latin America from last year. (Latin America Risk Report)

  • “Looking beyond the current election cycle, the governance problems that plague several Latin American countries are becoming an obstacle to investment,” according to El País.


  • Representatives of the US-based Carter Center have arrived in Caracas where Nicolas Maduro’s government and the opposition have agreed to hold elections next year, reports AFP.


  • An indefinite moratorium on new mining activities passed a second vote in Panama’s National Assembly, yesterday, but lawmakers removed an article that would have revoked a controversial mining contract with a Canadian company that had sparked nationwide protests over the past two weeks. (Associated Press)


  • The price of new HIV drugs has become prohibitive in Brazil and other middle-income countries where pharmaceutical companies stave off competition from generic manufacturers by fiercely defending their intellectual property — affecting these countries’ ability to care for patients, reports Bloomberg.

Jordana Timerman / Latin America Daily Briefing

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