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Latam Brief: Opposition protests in Paraguay call for vote recount – (May 2, 2023)

Latin America Daily Briefing: Opposition protests in Paraguay call for vote recount - (May 2, 2023)
Latin America Daily Briefing

Paraguay’s opposition is leading protests calling for a vote recount following the ruling Colorado Party’s victory on Sunday. Colorado presidential candidate Santiago Peña won by over 15 percentage points, and the party also obtained majorities in both houses of Congress and won 15 of 17 governorships (see yesterday’s LADB). 

The Concertación center-left opposition, which landed in second place in the presidential race, is not at the forefront of the opposition’s protests, however. Third-place outsider, right-wing candidate Payo Cubas, has instead taken the mantle, as protestors “clashed with police outside the electoral court on Monday,” says Reuters. Cubas reportedly surprised analysts with his 23% support in the election, beating polling expectations, but has claimed that the election was stolen. He has pushed his supporters to protest via social media. The Concertación’s Efrain Alegre is also calling for a vote recount by the electoral court and an international audit of the electronic vote. 

Cubas’ call for protests and his questioning of the election results alongside Alegre parallels similar efforts from losing candidates across the Americas in recent years, including in the US, Brazil, and Peru. “One trend that is perhaps relevant for both Paraguay and the region is the rise of a rightwing populist from outside the political establishment. Cubas performed better than expected and his rise and influence moving forward could represent a domestic shift against the Concertación coalition… Cubas’ angry campaign represented a new anti-system third force in the country that has been seen elsewhere including Bolsonaro in Brazil, Hernández in Colombia, and Milei in Argentina,” write James Bosworth and Lucy Hale at the Latin America Risk Report


  • “Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro asked Venezuelans to ‘resist’ as he skipped an increase of the minimum wage, announcing additional food stamps instead,” reports Bloomberg, noting that the current minimum wage is roughly $5 USD per month.

  • Bloomberg reports on the newly-deepening ties between Venezuela and China, a relationship that “would offer Maduro a powerful ally as well as the chance of a renewed conduit for oil sales, while potentially handing him more leverage with the US as Washington looks to bring more crude to market to lower prices at the pump for American voters.”

  • The Washington Post’s Editorial Board published an op-ed calling for President Biden to strengthen the US stance toward Venezuela and to redouble efforts to remove Maduro from power. 


  • La Nación published an interview with Tamara Taraciuk Broner, director at the Inter-American Dialogue’s Rule of Law program. In the interview, Taraciuk Broner notes that for her, one of the greatest regional challenges will be to strengthen democratic institutions that respond to citizens’ needs without violating the rule of law and to curb authoritarian tendencies of leaders who are taking advantage of democratic processes to gain power. 


  • “The U’wa Indigenous community told the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) that Colombia has repeatedly failed to recognise their ancestral lands and has threatened the group’s existence by polluting their territory with oil,” reports The Guardian, adding, “As the national government has failed to act on a series of legal cases, the U’wa hope the IACHR will step in, forcing Colombia to recognise the lands they have inhabited for centuries and offer compensation for the damage caused. It remains unclear when the court will make its ruling.” 


  • “Exploring housing for Venezuelans in Brazil, as well as deforestation and organized crime in metropolitan São Paulo, Al Jazeera reports, ‘Sao Paulo’s long-standing housing crisis, exacerbated by the pandemic and soaring cost of living, has pushed more and more families into precarious settlements like Veneza City in recent years,’” writes Jordi at the Americas Migration Brief newsletter.

  • “According to the International Rescue Committee (IRC), ‘More than nine in 10 Haitians seeking asylum in Mexico lack the resources to cover basic necessities such as food, shelter and medical care… More than seven in 10 said they struggled to access reliable information in Haitian Creole, particularly about legal pathways to migration and their rights in Mexico.’ (Reuters)” (via Americas Migration Brief)

  • La Tercera covers the trend of militarized borders in the Americas, highlighting the cases of Chile, Peru, the United States, Honduras, and Ecuador. Amnesty International has called for an end of the militarization of borders in Peru and Chile,” explains Americas Migration Brief amid a hardening stance on migration from both Chile and Peru, with the latter declaring a state of emergency last week (see LADB 4/27/23). Hundreds of migrants remained stranded at the border. Bishops in Chile and Peru have called for dialogue, says the Catholic News Agency


  • “Illegal gold miners ambushed Brazilian police and environmental protection agents on sprawling Indigenous territory in the Amazon rainforest, and four miners were shot dead in an exchange of gunfire,” reports Al Jazeera.
  • The social media app Telegram is back online in Brazil after being suspended for failing to surrender data to the government on neo-Nazi extremist groups on the platform that are linked to school shootings in the country. (AP)


  • Vox outlines the primary causes of Ecuador’s political instability, touching upon the potential impeachment of President Guillermo Lasso due to corruption scandals regarding tax evasion, allegations of connections with organized crime, and misuse of government funds. 

  • An alleged territorial fight between organized crime groups resulted in 10 people killed in Guayaquil, including a 5 year old girl, says Reuters


  • According to Bloomberg, Peru’s inflation in April fell below 8% for the first time in a year, leading economists to believe interest rate hikes by the Central Bank are unlikely to occur, in the short term. 


  • Argentine president Alberto Fernández will travel to Brazil with some members of his Cabinet, including Economy Minister Sergio Massa, to meet with Brazilian president Lula, reports InfobaeInfobae also reports that Massa is seeking a financial agreement with Brazil regarding the country’s imports in an effort to spend fewer dollars.  


  • Uruguay is set to begin conducting its 2023 census, first via an online survey and then by face-to-face interviews, according to MercoPress

Arianna Kohan y Jordi Amaral / Latin America Daily Briefing

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