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Latam Brief: Honduras has new Supreme Court (February 17, 2023)

Latin America Daily Briefing
Latin America Daily Briefing

Honduran lawmakers selected 15 Supreme Court magistrates yesterday, completely renewing the country’s highest court after four failed attempts to reach agreement over the past month. The new court has eight women and seven men, and, for the first time in Honduras, a Garífuna Supreme Court magistrate.

The new court has six representatives nominated by the ruling Libre party, five from the opposition Partido Nacional, and four from the opposition Partido Liberal. In order to reach an accord President Xiomara Castro’s alliance backed down from an initial proposal to nominate a majority of nine judges, reports Tu Nota.

It is the first time in decades the court isn’t divided between the Liberal and Nacional parties. Experts lauded the work of the nominating commission, which submitted 45 names for the lawmakers to pick from. (Deutsche Welle)

News Briefs

Regional

  • Several politicians in Latin America and the Caribbean are hoping to emulate Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele’s controversial crackdown on gangs — carried out over the past year with a state of exception that suspends constitutional guarantees and with significant human rights abuses. — Americas Quarterly

  • Bukele’s “mano dura” is the latest challenge for rule of law in the region, argues Suhelis Tejero in Connectas.

  • Democracy in Latin America is heading in the wrong direction, not just with overtly authoritarian governments in some countries, but also with an increasing number of “hybrid” regimes and “flawed democracies” (those that have ineffective governance and low political participation), according to The Economist.

Brazil

  • Brazil’s Federal Police carried out a court order to seize more than $384 million related to about 13 tons of gold mined illegally in the Amazon rainforest, then exported through an unnamed U.S.-based company, reports the Associated Press.

  • Brazil’s government is drafting legislation that would require electronic tax receipts for the buying and selling of the precious metal, reports Reuters.

El Salvador

  • Bukele is a suprise hit with Wall Street investors, reports Bloomberg.

Peru

  • Peru’s current instability can be most directly traced to the 2016 presidential election, in which Pedro Pablo Kuczynski defeated Keiko Fujimori by a razor-thin margin, while Fujimor’s Fuerza Popular won Congress by a landslide, explains International Crisis Group expert Glaeldys González Calanche.

  • “The bitter rivalry between political forces morphed into a conflict between the branches of government, an outcome that the Peruvian constitution fostered by allowing both the legislature and the executive branch to weaponise checks and balances against one another,” said International Crisis Group expert Glaeldys González Calanche.

  • Peru used “excessive and lethal force” driven by “marked racist bias” against a largely indigenous and campesino population, according to an Amnesty International investigation into protest deaths. (Guardian)

Guatemala

  • Campesino demonstrators blocked roads in Guatemala yesterday in protest of a judicial decision blocking Indigenous human rights defender Thelma Cabrera and former human rights ombudsman Jordán Rodas from running in June’s presidential elections. (EFE)

Regional Relations

  • Canada will deploy navy vessels to conduct surveillance, gather intelligence and maintain a maritime presence off the Haitian coast in the coming weeks to help the country’s struggling police force fight heavily armed gangs, reports the Miami Herald.

  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also announced $12.3 million in new humanitarian assistance and $10 million for the International Office on Migration to support migrants in the region, but stopped short of proposing the kind of military force Haiti’s de facto government has requested. (CBC)

  • Colombia and Venezuela signed an agreement to revive trade between the two countries during a ceremony on a border bridge. (Reuters)

  • Russia gave Cuba an “emergency” donation of 25,000 tons of wheat to combat shortages on the island, a sign of deepening ties reports Reuters.

Mexico

  • Pharmacies in several cities in northwestern Mexico are selling counterfeit prescription pills laced with deadly drugs like methamphetamine and fentanyl, highlighting how the expansion of the synthetic drugs market is putting unknowing customers at risk, reports InSight Crime.

Argentina

  • Argentina is undergoing its worst drought in sixty years — with huge impact on soy, corn and wheat crops and cattle herds. The drought has big repercussions for global food markets, notes Reuters.

  • Argentina’s current drought was not caused by climate change, but the extreme heat the country is undergoing is, and has made the drought worst, according to World Weather Attribution. (New York Times)

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

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