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Latam Brief: Nicaragua strips 94 people of citizenship (February 16)

Latin America Daily Briefing


  • Daniel Ortega’s authoritarian government stripped 94 Nicaraguans of their citizenship — the latest in a long crackdown against dissent. Those affected by a judicial decision, yesterday, include literary luminaries Sergio Ramírez and Gioconda Belli, journalists Carlos Fernando Chamorro and Miranda, rights activist Vilma Núñez, former Sandinista rebel commander Luis Carrión, and the auxiliary bishop of Nicaragua’s capital, Managua, Silvio Báez. Those who are not in Nicaragua were declared fugitives, and its unclear what the implications are for those who remain in the country. (GuardianAssociated Press)

  • The regime released and exiled 222 political prisoners last week, later stripping them of their citizenship as well. Legal experts assert that the stripping of citizenship and expulsions could constitute crimes against humanity, reports El Faro.

El Salvador

  • El Salvador’s government plans to maintain a state of emergency to combat gangs which has been in effect for nearly a year already. The policy has widespread public support, despite widespread allegations of human rights abuses. Security forces have arrested more than 64,000 suspected gang members and associates since last March. Authorities estimate they have around 10,000 more arrests to make, reports Reuters.


  • Venezuela’s opposition said it will hold a presidential primary on Oct. 22 to choose a candidate to face the ruling party in presidential elections tentatively scheduled for 2024. (Reuters)


  • Thousands of Colombians protested against President Gustavo Petro’s proposed health care reforms and a possible amnesty for members of armed groups in his quest for “total peace,” reports AFP. The Petro administration seeks to increase the role of the state in healthcare, a move opposed by the country’s right-wing parties and private sector. (See yesterday’s briefs.)

  • Petro attacked “two bankers” he says are abusing Colombia’s pension system to the detriment of workers. (Bloomberg)

  • A Colombian government decree banning shark fishing and its commercialization, last year, was welcomed by environmentalists who hope it will tackle shark-fin exports and protecting marine life. But the decree also banned artisanal fishing, livelihoods of many small communities on the line, reports the Guardian.

Regional Relations

  • Most of the evidence presented against former Mexican security chief Genaro García Luna in U.S. federal court over the past month has come from criminals, who say García Luna was on cartel payrolls even as he headed Mexico’s anti-drug strategy in the 2000s. The case rests on whether the jurors will believe the word of drug traffickers, reports the New York Times.


  • Belize said it would delay ratification of the Escazú Agreement, after Costa Rica’s Congress blocked the country’s ratification of the landmark U.N.-backed environmental treaty. (See today’s Just Caribbean Updates.)


  • Honduran lawmakers will convene later today to select magistrates for the country’s Supreme Court. (TuNota)


  • An Ecuadorean Indigenous Amazon community ended a weeks-long protest affecting production at two oil blocks belonging to state-run energy company Petroecuador. (Reuters)

  • Insufficient mining regulations in Ecuador have led to environmental pollution and adverse effects on the health of Indigenous communities according to activists who call for additional protections. (Al Jazeera)


  • At least 39 migrants headed towards the U.S. died in a gruesome bus accident in Panama after trekking through the infamous Darien Gap. (Guardian)

Regional Relations

  • Paraguay and Taiwan are united by destiny, Paraguayan President Mario Abdo said today on a visit to the island. Paraguay is one of only 14 countries to have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, a relationship that could be affected by the South American country’s presidential election in April. (Reuters)


  • A Congress-appointed Council of Experts will make a first draft of a new constitution for Chile. The new process, arduously hashed out by lawmakers after voters rejected a proposed magna carta in September, “underrepresents the Left and includes figures with deep ties to the dictatorship, while lacking a mechanism to include the voices of the Chilean people in the process,” write Cathy Schneider and Sofía Williamson-García in Nacla.

  • It has long been widely believed that Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda was murdered by Chile’s newly installed dictatorship in 1973. Evidence revealed this week by a forensic investigation concludes that he was indeed possibly poisoned, but it’s not certain — leaving the 50-year-old mystery unresolved. (New York Times, see Tuesday’s briefs.)

  • Neruda was not only one of the 20th century’s greatest poets, but also a political activist and leading spokesman for Chile’s left, notes the New York Times.

Literary corner

  • “São Paulo is not only the richest urban center in Brazil: It is a rhizome fed by conflicting moral, ethical and aesthetic ambitions and imaginations, which lead and influence an entire country’s cultural production,” writes Paulo Scott in a literary guide to the city. (New York Times)

Jordana Timerman / Latin America Daily Briefing

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