Peruvian lawmakers rejected a proposal to hold early general elections this year — despite two months of social unrest and repression that have resulted in dozens of deaths since President Pedro Castillo was ousted in December. (See Monday’s post.)
Protesters have demanded early elections, but Peru’s Congress is deeply fragmented and reaching an agreement is tricky, reports Reuters. Lawmakers from the left and the right have sought to tie their support for early elections to other issues, like constitutional reform or reelection for members of Congress. (La República)
Peruvian President Dina Boluarte immediately followed up on an earlier promise to send a bill to Peru’s unicameral legislature to hold elections later this year.
Lawmakers are also debating a Peru Libre proposal to hold elections in four months, along with a referendum asking voters whether the country should convene a constitutional convention. (La República)
There is hope among left-leaning circles “that the country is undergoing a “constitutional moment,” meaning that the current turmoil could lead to a new constitution, a long-desired goal,” writes Andrea Moncada in Americas Quarterly. Nonetheless, “lacking channels to institutional politics, the country’s unrest won’t necessarily lead to wide-reaching change seen elsewhere.”
- Brazil’s Senate and Chamber of Deputies selected leaders yesterday — Rodrigo Pacheco and Arthur Lira both won their reelection bids. The candidates were backed by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and their victories are a positive indicator for the new administration’s legislative agenda. (Reuters)
- Bolsonaro plotted to unseat Supreme Electoral Court president Alexandre de Moraes, before leaving office, part of a broader plan to overturn the elections and remain in office, according to a Veja report.
- Lula’s efforts to protect Brazil’s Amazon rainforest must contend with both the actual people carrying out illegal mining and logging, as well as the complex, transnational networks who back them, reports InSight Crime. ”The new president must remove those committing these atrocities, focus on bringing down their financiers and backers, and create sustainable pathways to profit for the legal sectors.”
- Haiti’s police force is the latest institution to falter in the crisis-wracked country. Officers charged with controlling the country’s violent gangs are angry, underpaid and poorly equipped, reports the Guardian.
- Haitian political hopeful Christian Sanon appeared to be a ringleader in a coup plot that ended in President Jovenel Moïse’s assassination in 2021. Nonetheless, U.S. prosecutors charged him with just export violations in a case against the alleged masterminds of the crime, reports the Miami Herald. (See yesterday’s post.)
- Jamaica would be willing to deploy soldiers and police officers to Haiti as part of a multinational force requested by Haiti’s government. Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness said that both Jamaica’s military and police forces have been alerted and have started to plan for the possibility of deployment to Haiti. (Miami Herald)
- The Inter-American Court of Human Rights found that Colombia’s government allowed the systematic extermination of the leftwing Patriotic Union party in the 1980s and 90s. The court found the Colombian state’s role in assassination of 6,000 people amounted to crimes against humanity. Colombian President Gustavo Petro celebrated the ruling and promised to bring reparations to victims. (Guardian)
- A Costa Rican court handed down a 22-year prison sentence for a man who murdered an Indigenous land rights defender in 2020. Yehry Rivera’s assassination by a farmer stoked decades-old tensions between native communities and farmers over disputed territory, reports the Guardian.
- The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights called for countries in the region to reinforce protections for women and girls seeking abortions, after observing measures that “go backwards” last year. (Reuters)
- Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are stagnating in their struggle with corruption. This year’s Transparency International Corruption Index shows that most countries in the region are “unable or unwilling to challenge robust criminal networks that profit from longstanding graft,” reports InSight Crime.
- A new Wilson Center report explores the distinct approaches in Chile and Argentina to the development of their lithium industries.
- Elections for Chile’s new constitutional council will be held in May, and political parties are determining their candidates, who must be formalized by Sunday. (El País)
- Former President Michelle Bachelet is a potential candidate for the council, and hopes to represent a unified list for the governing coalition. (El Mostrador)
- A commission of 24 experts who will guide the council’s work were appointed between the Senate and the House of Representatives, will begin work in March. Analysts signal that politics seems to have trumped expertise in the selection process, reports El Mostrador. (See today’s Chile Constitutional Updates.)
- A cervical cancer vaccination plan in Jamaica was significantly set back by the Covid pandemic. But even before, the HPV vaccination program for girls under 15 ran into trouble in a country where many families disapprove of premarital sex, reports the Guardian.
- Honduras’ charter-cities — the ZEDES — were criticized by the United Nations as threatening basic human rights and criticized by Honduran civil society for worsening problems of tax evasion and narcotrafficking. The U.S. must not retaliate against the Castro administration for rolling back the controversial legislation that permitted the special development zones, argue Mark L. Schneider and Aaron Schneider at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. (See briefs for April 25, 2022 andJuly 5, 2022.)
- The former director of a zoo in southern Mexico killed four of the zoo’s pygmy goats and served them up at a Christmas-season party, reports the Associated Press.