Peruvian President Dina Boluarte announced, yesterday, a series of anti-crime measures, primarily focused on migrants, including a state of emergency for the country’s borders with Chile, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador and Colombia. Boluarte said she will seek to deploy the military permanently to the country’s borders
Boluarte also ordered the deployment of troops to reinforce checkpoints and block undocumented migrants making their way north from Chile. A group of migrants, mostly from Haiti and Venezuela, have been stuck for weeks at the border between the Peruvian city of Tacna and Arica in northern Chile.
Many migrants say they plan to cross through Peru to get to their countries of origin, or to the United States, in order to reunite with their families.
- Peru’s military and police likely carried out extrajudicial or arbitrary killings and committed other egregious abuses against demonstrators and bystanders during protests from December 2022 through February 2023, according to Human Rights Watch. In a new report HRW documents excessive use of force by security forces, due process violations and abuses against detainees, and failures in criminal investigations, as well as the entrenched political and social crisis that is eroding the rule of law and human rights in Peru.
Petro reshuffles Cabinet, coalition
Colombian President Gustavo Petro named seven new ministers yesterday, in a dramatic reshuffle aimed at reinvigorating his political coalition after Colombia’s lower chamber of Congress abandoned a debate on a health reform. Petro said his coalition was fractured, and also announced that three parties will leave his governing coalition: the Conservatives, the Liberals and the “de la U” Party. (Americas Quarterly)
The cabinet shakeup marks the most serious crisis to date within Petro’s government, reports AFP. After nearly nine months in power, Petro has been unable to carry out promised reforms in labor, healthcare, pensions and the judiciary.
Petro’s decision to shakeup his congressional coalition means he aims to carry out reforms not by negotiating with moderate parties, but by reaching out to individual lawmakers within those parties, many of whom support his reform, against their party leadership, reports La Silla Vacía.
Facing opposition from what he called “traditional political leaders and the establishment”, Petro signaled his commitment to the reforms by ejecting figures appointed to his cabinet as an olive branch to powerful conservative and center-right forces, reports Al Jazeera.
In the cabinet, Petro ousted ministers who tended to disagree with him, and has replaced them with stalwart allies from his days as Bogotá mayor, according to La Silla Vacía.
Petro named long-time ally Ricardo Bonilla as finance minister yesterday, replacing moderate José Antonio Ocampo, who was favored by investors, a surprise move that impacted markets today. Bonilla pledge to maintain Colombia’s fiscal rule, which imposes policy constraints to block deterioration of public finances. And Petro pledged to maintain Central Bank autonomy. (Bloomberg, Reuters and Reuters)
- Exxon Mobil is in talks with Colombia’s government in hopes of recovering its investment in a fracking pilot project as the Petro administration pushes through a fracking ban, reports Reuters.
- El Salvador started an in absentia trial against former President Mauricio Funes alleging that he had negotiated a truce with the country’s powerful street gangs when he was president, reports the Associated Press.
- The “Beatriz” case, challenging El Salvador’s total abortion ban before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has generated considerable international expectation for years, and even more so in recent weeks — El Faro reports on the details of the March hearing in Costa Rica.
- “Latin American leaders are renewing their commitment to confront arms trafficking, but it remains unclear how much of a dent can they make in this complicated, transnational criminal trade,” reports InSight Crime.
- U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield will visit Brazil next week, following up on recent high-level meetings between the countries’ presidents and top diplomats, reports the Associated Press. Officials said the trip’s focus is promoting democracy and multilateral cooperation, as well as combating climate change, safeguarding food security, continuing cooperation on regional migration, “and ensuring equity for marginalized racial, ethnic, and Indigenous communities.”
- Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said he supported establishing a currency for trade between BRICS countries, reports Reuters.
- Brazil’s inflation slowed more than expected, “a reading the government is likely to see as backing its calls for an interest rate cut even as the central bank maintains a hawkish tone,” reports Reuters.
- Argentina will start to pay for Chinese imports in yuan rather than dollars, the government announced yesterday. The measure aims to relieve the country’s dwindling dollar reserves, reports Reuters.
Jordana Timerman/Latin America Daily Briefing