U.N. deputy secretary-general Amina Mohammed urged every country “with capacity” to urgently consider the Haitian government’s request for an international armed force to help restore security and alleviate a humanitarian crisis in the Caribbean nation, which is in “a deepening crisis of unprecedented scale and complexity that is cause for serious alarm.”
“Insecurity has reached unprecedented levels and human rights abuses are widespread,” she told the U.N. Security Council, yesterday. “Armed gangs have expanded their violent criminal activities, using killings and gang rapes to terrorize and subjugate communities.”
Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry called for an international force to support national police, in October, but many Haitians oppose foreign intervention, noting the grim track record of U.N. Peacekeepers and U.S. forces in the country. Some of Henry’s political opponent also say Henry is angling to keep himself in power with foreign support. Henry has not set a date for elections, which haven’t been held since 2016, and has promised to do so once the violence is quelled. (Associated Press)
International actors have been loathe to lead such a force: while the U.S. supports the idea, it has not outlined a plan to implement the special force requested by Henry. Canada, mentioned as a potential leader for a multinational force, has instead argued that the solution to Haiti’s crisis must be nationally led.
The only elected officials left in Haiti, 10 senators, will end their mandates in mid-January. While they lacked quorum to actually pass laws — the country is supposed to have a bicameral legislature with 149 lawmakers — “the total absence of any elected officials in the country risks plunging Haiti deeper into crisis and has further raised concerns in the international community,” reports the Miami Herald.
- A former Haitian rebel leader known as “the torturer” has been arrested, along with a police inspector, for alleged involvement in the 2021 killing of President Jovenel Moïse. While much about the case remains murky, the arrests are part of a growing body of evidence point to a connection between the killing and Haiti’s armed gangs, according to the Miami Herald.
- Haiti has received its first shipment of cholera vaccines — 1.1 million doses — since an outbreak was declared more than two months ago. The supplies were held up by the country’s wave of brutal gang violence that has prevented many medical supplies from reaching the country. The ongoing gang conflicts will also complicate distribution of the vaccines within the country, reports the Guardian.
- Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s attacks on journalists are invitation to violence in a country that is already among the most lethal in the world for media workers, warned over 170 Mexican reporters in an open letter.“ Almost all of the outpourings of hatred towards journalists are incubated, born and disseminated from the presidential palace,” said the declaration, signed by professionals from major outlets including El Universal, Excélsior, Milenio and Reforma. (Guardian, Animal Político)
- The letter follows an assassination attack against Ciro Gómez Leyva, a prominent television journalist and the president’s response: AMLO expressed sympathy, but also raised the possibility that the assault was actually an attempt to destabilize his government. (New York Times)
- Thousands of Brazilians have spent the past two months camped outside of military installations across the country, demanding a coup against president-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who will take office on Jan. 1. Though many progressives have poked fun at the fervent displays of loyalty to outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro, “some experts caution against sneering at the protests, which, while small, suggest the radical grassroots movement energised by Bolsonaro’s presidency is likely to outlive his rule,” reports the Guardian.
- Brazil’s Congress gave its final approval to a constitutional amendment increasing the government spending cap to maintain cash subsidies to poor families next year, a key Lula campaign promise. (Reuters)
- Lula said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had congratulated him on his recent election win and talked of stronger relations between the two countries, reports Reuters. “Brazil is back, seeking dialogue with everyone and committed to the search for a world without hunger and with peace,” Lula said.
- Chilean President Gabriel Boric said that he planned to open an embassy “in Palestine.” The announcement came at a Christmas ceremony for Chile’s Palestinian community, estimated to be more than 300,000 strong, reports AFP.
- Peruvian President Dina Boluarte promoted the country’s defense chief, Alberto Otarola, to the prime minister’s job as part of a shuffle of her 11-day-old Cabinet, yesterday. (Reuters)
- Venezuela’s government claims its reported seizure of over 40 tons of drugs in 2022 proves the country’s commitment to combating trafficking. But, “a closer analysis of seizure patterns reveals a more complex and pervasive picture,” according to InSight Crime.
- Ecuador’s embattled President Guillermo Lasso is planning an eight-question referendum consulting citizens about security policies and political reform. “The questions have been carefully designed to generate the least resistance from the public and secure a political win that can be presented as a renewed mandate for the Lasso administration, providing him with some political breathing room,” writes Sebastián Hurtado in Americas Quarterly.
Archeology More than 100 new geoglyphs discovered in and around Peru’s ancient Nazca plain could shed new light on the mysterious 2,000-year-old, pre-Columbian artworks, reports Reuters