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Latam Brief:Guatemala’s anti-corruption backlash (January 19, 2023)

Latam Brief:Guatemala's anti-corruption backlash (January 19, 2023)

Guatemala

  • The diplomatic row over Guatemala’s accusations against Colombian Defense Minister Iván Velásquez in relation to an Odebrecht investigation have cast light on the Giammattei administration’s persecution of anti-corruption judges and prosecutors in Guatemala, reports the Guardian. “One of the most egregious examples is that of Virginia Laparra, a former anti-corruption prosecutor who last week was sentenced to four years in prison for abuse of authority for reporting her suspicion that a judge had leaked sensitive details from a sealed corruption case. Amnesty International has said it considers Laparra to be a political prisoner.” (See yesterday’s post.)

  • Experts say Guatemala’s accusations against former leaders of the U.N.-backed international anti-corruption mission (CICIG) is an election year attempt to assure conservative voters its like won’t be seen again, according to the Associated Press.

Peru

  • At least three people died in anti-government protests in Lima, yesterday. Police used tear gas to disperse crowds in Peru’s capital, where protesters have been converging from around the country. So far, 53 people have died in a month of anti-government protests. (Associated PressBBC)

Bolivia

  • Bolivian protesters ended blockades that had largely isolated the country’s Santa Cruz region, but leaders said they could resume, reports the Associated Press.

Brazil

  • Brazilian Environment Minister Marina Silva hope to reverse the Bolsonaro climate legacy. The Lula administration has committed to zero deforestation by 2030 and hopes to host the COP30 climate summit in 2025. This week at the World Economic Forum, Silva also stressed the need for the international community to honor investment commitments to help Brazil in its climate mitigation and adaptation efforts now. (Washington Post)

  • Brazil’s environmental agency, Ibama, carried out the first raids against illegal deforestation in the Amazon rainforest under the Lula administration, yesterday. While the additional funding and staff promised by the new president haven’t reached the agency yet, Ibama agents told Reuters that they already felt more empowered by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva announcing environmental protection as a top priority.

Chile

  • Chile’s government rejected the controversial $2.5 billion iron and copper mining Dominga project proposed in an area important for biodiversity and marine life. A ministerial committee found that the plan for an open-pit mine, processing and desalination plants, did not include sufficient efforts to mitigate the impact on nearby reserves, which are home to bottlenose dolphins, several species of whale and the Humboldt penguin, reports the Guardian.

  • “We are confident that a robust, traceable, evidence-based (decision) has been adopted here,” said Chilean Environmental Minister Maisa Rojas. The project has a controversial political history in Chile, reports AFP.

Guyana

  • A landmark lawsuit in Guyana seeks to overturn the country’s agreement with ExxonMobil to extract Guyana’s vast stores of petroleum. Lawyer Melinda Janki argues the government’s approval of Exxon’s operations violates constitution’s guarantee of a healthy environment to both current and future citizens, reports Wired Magazine. (See yesterday’s Just Caribbean Updates.)

Venezuela

  • A police reform plan announced by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro appears to be a blueprint for a police state, reports InSight Crime. “If enacted, it would achieve little more than flooding the streets with easily-corruptible police forces.”

  • There has been a lot of optimism about Venezuela advancing towards “free and fair” elections next year, through internationally mediated negotiations between the Maduro government and political opposition parties. But much more progress should have been made by now for this to actually happen, argues Guillermo Zubillaga in Americas Quarterly.

  • Venezuela’s unofficial dollarization has created a “hellscape” of inequality, reports Foreign Policy.

  • The new head of Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA has suspended most oil export contracts while his team reviews them in a move to avoid payment defaults, reports Reuters.

Regional Relations

  • A foreign military intervention in Haiti would have little sustainable impact, according to Canada’s ambassador to the U.N., Bob Rae. (Globe and Mail)

  • Ecuadorean President Guillermo Lasso said he’d skip next week’s CELAC summit in Buenos Aires. (Mercopress)
  • “The case of the U.S.A. vs García Luna brings Washington’s war against drug trafficking into new territory; never before has such a high-level Mexican official been tried in an American courtroom,” notes Ioan Grillo in Narco Politics. (See Tuesday’s post.)

  • The García Luna trial will shed light on the weaknesses of the U.S. war on drugs, according to InSight Crime. (See Tuesday’s post.)

Mexico

  • Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said his government will consider a plea by imprisoned drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán to be returned to Mexico to complete his sentence on humanitarian grounds. Guzmán is serving a life sentence in the U.S. for a drug conspiracy that spread murder and mayhem for more than twenty years. (Associated PressCBS)

Honduras

  • “Through the story of Desafío, a boy who grew up on the streets of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, InSight Crime delves into the internal workings that make Barrio 18 tick, the constant state of paranoia that its members are kept under, and the brutal response to anyone who dares to dream of a different life.”

Regional

  • Colombia is looking to supplement a global deal setting minimum tax levels for multinationals with an additional accord among its fellow Latin American countries, reports Reuters.

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

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