South America

El Chapo Found Guilty on All Counts; Faces Life in Prison

The Mexican crime lord known as El Chapo was convicted on Tuesday after a three-month drug trial in New York that exposed the inner workings of his sprawling cartel, which over decades shipped tons of drugs into the… Alan Feuer The New York Times The guilty verdict against the kingpin, whose real name is Joaquín Guzmán Loera, ended the career of a legendary outlaw who also served as a dark folk hero in Mexico, notorious for his innovative smuggling tactics, ... Read More »

Scenes From the Borderland

“Everyone here knows Trump hates brown people.” Roger Cohen The New York Times EL PASO — I have a suggestion for President Trump. Instead of fanning fear during your visit to this city on Monday night, stroll across the Paso del Norte Bridge into Ciudad Júarez. Join the 70,000 people crossing four bridges who daily form the human tissue linking the United States and Mexico. They work, they study, they eat, they shop, all part of what Dee Margo, the mayor of El Paso, calls ... Read More »

Venezuelan military official drops allegiance to Maduro

An active-duty Venezuelan army colonel who is a military doctor has dropped his allegiance to President Nicolas Maduro, backing opposition leader Juan Guaido instead. CARACAS Hurriyet “Ninety percent of us in the armed forces are really unhappy,” said Colonel Ruben Paz Jimenez said in a video released on Feb. 9. “We are being used to keep them in power.” He urged his fellow soldiers to help allow humanitarian aid into Venezuela. The shipment of U.S. aid is currently in Cucuta, Colombia, on the border. Maduro has vowed ... Read More »

Catholic archbishop in Brazil bans priests from being alone with children

Decree follows court order forcing archdiocese to pay almost £2.5m in compensation over sexual exploitation of minors Tom Embury-Dennis Independent A Brazilian Catholic archbishop has banned priests in his district from being alone with children. Manoel Delson, archbishop of the northeastern state of Paraiba, signed the decree on Wednesday following a court order forcing the archdiocese to pay almost £2.5m in compensation over the sexual exploitation of minors. Mr Delson’s decree prohibits priests from being in the company of children and vulnerable adults unaccompanied by their ... Read More »

What We Heard in Caracas

President Trump’s tough talk and actions opened the door for change in Venezuela. Now the U.S. must avoid hardline inflexibility that could close it, ending the chance of achieving internal peace through an… ICG It’s hard for the two sides in Venezuela’s political conflict to agree on virtually anything, what with dueling presidents, competing institutions, and diametrically opposed visions. But in a brief visit to Caracas this week, we found broad consensus on one point: It all depends on Donald… The Venezuelan ... Read More »

Mysterious Turkish Firm Helped Maduro Move $900 Million in Gold

Two months after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro visited his counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, a mysterious company called Sardes sprang into existence. Bloomberg The firm started business with a bang in January of 2018, when it imported about $41 million worth of gold from Venezuela, the first such transaction between the two countries in records that go back 50 years. The next month its volume more than doubled, with Sardes transporting almost $100 million worth to Turkey. By November, ... Read More »

Venezuela crisis explained: a tale of two presidents

Venezuela finds itself with two presidents engaged in a high-stakes game to control the country’s future. Daniel Hellinger The Conversation The country has also had two “national assemblies” and many questions about how the constitution should be applied. So, how did it find itself in this position? President Nicolás Maduro claims to be Venezuela’s constitutional president because he won the presidential election in July 2018. On January 23 2019, Juan Guaidó, one month after becoming president of Venezuela’s National Assembly, ... Read More »

Venezuela: Denial of food is a human rights crime

In early February, the Lima Group, a coalition of several Latin American countries and Canada, urged the Venezuelan military to sever ties with President Nicolás Maduro. Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann The Conversation The group called for the urgent delivery of humanitarian aid and for international governments to refrain from doing business with the nation “in oil, gold and other assets.”  Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland reiterated Canada’s opposition to military intervention in Venezuela to solve the crisis, as… How does ... Read More »

Is authoritarianism bad for the economy? Ask Venezuela – or Hungary or Turkey

Democracy is at risk worldwide. And the economy may be, too. Seventy-one out of the world’s 195 countries saw their democratic institutions erode in recent years, according to the 2018 year-end report by democracy watchdog Freedom House, a phenomenon known as “democratic backsliding.” Authors: The Conversation Signs of backsliding include elected leaders who expand their executive powers while weakening the legislature and judiciary, elections that have become less competitive and shrinking press freedom. When government institutions erode like this, it ... Read More »

Living inside the world’s worst economy, Venezuela

Hungry and without access to medicine, Venezuelans are suffering as a political crisis unfolds. Al Jazeera In oil-rich Venezuela, people don’t have enough to eat, infant mortality is soaring at a faster rate than in Syria, and according to the UN, some three million people have fled the country since 2015. Once Latin America’s richest nation, Venezuela and its people are suffering from the ravages of hyperinflation. On January 23, the leader of the legislature, Juan Guaido, began a push to remove ... Read More »

Mexico’s New Neutrality in the Venezuela Crisis

Bucking the U.S. and several large and influential Latin American states, Mexico has not recognised Juan Guaidó’s claim on Venezuela’s presidency, and has instead argued for negotiations to end the country’s crisis. As Crisis Group’s Senior Mexico Analyst Falko Ernst explains, this position is rooted in a new Mexican foreign policy doctrine. What is Mexico’s position on the fast-developing events in Venezuela? Mexico has declined to recognise Juan Guaidó as interim president of Venezuela, and has adopted a… Mexico’s New ... Read More »

UN Rejects Guaido, Favors Discourse With President Maduro

Guterres reiterated his concern about the impact of the current Venezuelan crisis on the people. UN News, by teleSUR/ jf-GB The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recognized, Friday, the representation of the Venezuelan Government – led by its Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza – while rejecting the interests of deputy of the National Assembly (AN), Juan Guaido, who… Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general, confirmed that Guterres responded to a letter, which was sent by Juan Guaido asking the agency to send humanitarian aid to… UN Rejects Guaido… Read More »

Anti-War Democrats speak out against Donald Trump’s actions in Venezuela

At least three Democratic representatives known for their vocal anti-war positions have spoken out against President Donald Trump’s intervention in Venezuela’s political crisis. Tom O’Connor Newsweek As Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro entered his second term earlier this month, the country became increasingly destabilized by protests against what has been widely seen as government mishandling of economic woes that have led to… On Wednesday, opposition leader and National Assembly President Juan Guaidó declared himself president, a move recognized by the Trump administration, ... Read More »

Explained // What’s Behind Turkey’s Fervent Support for Venezuela’s Maduro

Economic and political ties between Ankara and Caracas have grown stronger, with Turkey being shipped tons of Venezuelan gold for refinement and processing. Haaretz and Reuters Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has called Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to offer support after the opposition leader declared himself interim president and won the backing of Washington and… Socialist Maduro described Juan Guaido’s move as a coup attempt. The United States, Canada and right-leaning Latin American governments recognised Guaido. Economic and political ties between Ankara and Caracas have grown stronger, ... Read More »

In Venezuela, a High-stakes Gambit

The Venezuelan National Assembly’s chairman, Juan Guaidó, has declared himself interim president, with the support of several foreign governments. Phil Gunson ICG Unless the Venezuelan military backs his move, it is unlikely to topple incumbent President Nicolás Maduro and could unleash greater repression and even outside military intervention. What is happening in Venezuela? On 23 January, amid a mass opposition demonstration that brought hundreds of thousands onto the streets of the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, opposition politician Juan Guaidó, chairman of ... Read More »

Do truth and reconciliation commissions heal divided nations?

As long as unresolved historic injustices continue to fester in the world, there will be a demand for truth commissions. Bonny Ibhawoh The Conversation Unfortunately, there is no end to the need. The goal of a truth commission — in some forms also called a truth and reconciliation commission, as it is in Canada — is to hold public hearings to establish the scale and impact of a past injustice, typically involving wide-scale human rights abuses, and make it part ... Read More »