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LATM Brief: Colombian police sexual violence against protesters (December 2, 2022)

Latin America Daily Briefing

Colombian security forces used sexual violence and other forms of gender-based violence against women and LGBTIQ+ protesters, journalists and human rights defenders during the repression of the National Strike in 2021, according to a new Amnesty International report. The report reveals how the violence against women and LGBTQI people was inextricably linked with other factors of discrimination, such as race, ethnicity and sexual orientation.

Amnesty’s report echoed investigations by local NGOs, including Temblores, a Bogotá-based human rights watchdog, which found that police officers explicitly told women that they should have stayed in the kitchen rather than voicing their political opinions in the streets, reports the Guardian.


  • The prospect of sending foreign troops to aid Haitian security forces is viewed with foreboding both by Haitians and the countries that might lead such a multi-national force. “But a growing number of Haitians are reluctantly wrestling with the idea that there may be no other option,” writes the International Crisis Group’s Renata Segura in Foreign Affa

  • At least 11 Haitians were massacred by armed gangs in Source-Matelas, just north of Port-au-Prince. In recent months, gangs have been quietly moving to seize control of territories north of Haiti’s capital, reports the Miami Herald.


  • Recently resumed negotiations between Venezuela’s Maduro government and the opposition give little reason for optimism, writes Luz Mely Reyes in the Post Opinión, noting the difficulties ahead for a planned humanitarian fund to be administered by the U.N., and questioning the representativity of both sides of the negotiating table.

Regional Relations

  • Venezuela and Colombia have reestablished diplomatic relations and are back on cordial terms. While their interests might not align perfectly, “with deft diplomacy, and help from neighbours, the two countries can nonetheless keep repairing their links to mutual benefit,” according to a new International Crisis Group report.

  • “Bogotá will need to tread carefully as it both works with Caracas to advance Colombia’s security and economic priorities and urges Venezuela toward a negotiated settlement of its political crisis,” according to the International Crisis Group report.

  • U.S. Representative Norma Torres accused the president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, of “foreign election interference” in her reelection race. Bukele, whose who has accused Torres who has been interfering in its matters, urged residents of California’s 35th District to vote against Torres in a tweet last year. Lawmakers from his Nuevas Ideas party openly supported her opponent on social media. (NBC News)

  • The U.S. State Department echoed her concerns: “Throughout our last electoral process, we noted with alarm increasingly direct attempts by some Salvadorans to directly influence certain electoral outcomes in the United States.” (The Hill)

  • In Guatemala and Honduras, regional anti-mining networks have become key players in struggles to combat extractivism and the criminalization of activists, according to Nacla.

  • Chile and Bolivia have resolved their dispute over the Silala river, a waterway both claimed rights to. The International Court of Justice ruled dispute yesterday, the case was brought by Chile in 2016, but concluded that in the interim both sides reached an agreement that “it is an international watercourse.” (Associated PressDeutsche Welle)

  • The Wilson Center’s Weekly Asado looks at the diplomatic fault lines on China and Taiwan in the region.


  • Many feminist activists have lost faith in Honduran President Xiomara Castro, who after nearly a year has failed to follow through on a campaign promise to legalize emergency contraceptives and to address violence against women, reports the Guardian.


  • The new IDB President Ilan Goldfajn has a solid reputation, but will be challenged by global uncertainty and the need for internal reform at the bank, according to Americas Quarterly.

  • The new ECLAC head, José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, said the region is already undergoing a new lost decade, and its worse than the original one, he told the Financial Times.

  • The 2022 Atlantic hurricane season was less intense than predicted, but major storms in the latter half of the period caused widespread devastation, proving the old weather adage: it only takes one storm. (Washington Post)


  • Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador called on the U.S. to reveal the whereabouts of Edgar Valdez Villarreal, a Mexican-American nicknamed “La Barbie”, a notorious drug trafficker whose name has disappeared from the U.S. prison register. (CBS)
  • Mexico’s minimum wage will increase by 20% from 2023, the government announced yesterday. (CNN)


  • The World Cup “allows Latin Americans to revel in the soccer soft power that Gulf states are spending billions of dollars to chase. It has also prompted some to wonder if Latin American countries could better capitalize on their own soccer power,” writes Catherine Osborn in the Latin America Brief.

  • Brazil’s iconic soccer jersey has become politicized, after being adopted by President Jair Bolsonaro and supporters. But the national team itself has also been caught in the country’s intense political polarization: star Neymar is a Bolsonaro supporter, while some fans call the coach a communist. But, of course, a World Cup victory would probably bring everybody together, according to the New York Times.

Jordana Timerman / Latin America Daily Briefing

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