South America

Risky Business: The Duque Government’s Approach to Peace in Colombia

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Colombia’s president-elect campaigned on a pledge to “modify” the 2016 peace with the FARC guerrillas, despite its goal of reducing the rural inequality underlying that insurgency. T he new government should steer clear of hardline policies that alienate the countryside and hinder the ex-guerrilla’s path to civilian life. ICG What’s new? Iván Duque, from the Democratic Centre party, won Colombia’s presidential election and assumes office on 7 August 2018. His party and… Why does it matter? Colombia’s transition from war ... Read More »

From Cameroon to US-Mexico border: ‘We saw corpses along the way’

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Kombo Yannick is one of the many African asylum seekers who are braving the longer Latin America route to the US. by Walker Dawson, Caron Creighton & Carlos Mureithi Al-Jazeera Tijuana, Mexico – Kombo Yannick, a 30-year-old pastor from Cameroon, waited in line with about 100 other asylum seekers at the US-Tijuana border on a chilly afternoon in late December. He and his wife had been in Tijuana for two days, and were speaking with an aid worker about where to find a bed ... Read More »

Nicaragua crisis: Truce agreed after weeks of deadly violence

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Nicaragua’s government and opposition groups have agreed a ceasefire after weeks of violence that has left about 170 people dead. BBC A truth commission will also be established and international investigators allowed into the country. Friday’s peace talks in Managua were brokered by the Roman Catholic Church. The protests began on 19 April after President Daniel Ortega’s government imposed cuts to pension and social security programmes. The cuts were… Nicaragua crisis: Truce… Read More »

Lebanon Is Protecting Hezbollah’s Cocaine Trade in Latin America

Images of Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah are seen among scores of Hezbollah and Lebanese national flags being waved by Hezbollah supporters during a ceremony to mark first anniversary of the war with Israel, 14 August 2007. Nasrallah reiterated to a mass rally broadcast live on television that his Shiite group had won a divine victory. "Today is the anniversary of the divine victory," Nasrallah told the thousands of men, women and children who had gathered in an empty lot of Beirut's southern suburb of Dahiyeh controlled by Hezbollah. AFP PHOTO/MARWAN NAAMANI (Photo credit should read MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

The country’s institutions are not a counterweight to Hezbollah, but its enablers. Emanuele Ottolenghi FP Days after the Trump administration withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, Washington ramped up sanctions against Hezbollah as part of its offensive against Tehran and its proxies. Yet U.S. policy toward the Lebanese militant group continues to be incoherent. By flexing its muscles against Hezbollah while supporting Lebanese state institutions that it has heavily penetrated or fully controls, the White House ends up undermining its own pursuit of the… Lebanon ... Read More »

In pictures: Chile students protest against harassment

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Thousands of people have marched through the Chilean capital, Santiago, to protest against sexual harassment and sexist behaviour in universities and schools. BBC The march saw schoolchildren joining students to demand an end to “institutionalised sexism” and violence against women on campuses and in schools. It is the latest in a string of protests since April, when allegations of sexual abuse by members of faculty and students first surfaced at a number of Chilean universities… In pictures: Chile students protest ... Read More »

How Istanbul’s man-made canal project could trigger an arms race in the Black Sea – and why China is watching closely

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The Kanal Istanbul project will not be subject to the international treaty that limits the access of warships to the strategically pivotal waters in central Europe Helene Franchineau South China Morning Post In the conservative Istanbul neighbourhood of Üsküdar, couples sit near the July 15 Martyrs bridge and sip cups of tea as oil tankers and cargo ships pass. The sight is common for the city’s residents: every day about 115 vessels cross the Bosphorus Strait. Accidents can happen in ... Read More »

‘Non-heterosexuals’ message causes stir in Colombia

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A video posted by Colombia’s former president Alvaro Uribe Velez has been widely criticised on social media after he described the LGBTI community in Colombia as “non-heterosexuals”. By Paul Harrison and Matilda Welin BBC UGC and Social News and BBC Monitoring Mr Uribe posted a video message on his Facebook and Twitter accounts on Thursday night, encouraging gay people to vote for Ivan Duque, a conservative presidential candidate, and Marta Lucia Ramirez, Mr Duque’s vice-president pick, in the second round of the Colombian ... Read More »

Lunch with the ruralists

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Landowners control Brazil’s parliament A group of wealthy agribiz owners get to make self-enriching policy affecting millions because they backed the overthrow of Dilma Rousseff. by Anne Vigna  Le Monde diplomatique he parliamentary ‘ruralist’ group meets every Tuesday in a villa in a classy district of Brasília, and, according to its PR, ‘they have lunch and discuss a different topic every week.’ The ruralists form a lobby of powerful landowning parliamentarians, and the results of their discussions later reach Congress ... Read More »

5 Latino authors you should be reading now

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You likely recognize that the depiction of Latin American immigrants in politics today – as a menacing mass of recalcitrant Spanish-speaking invaders – is overwhelmingly negative. Laura Lomas The Conversation What you may not know is that stereotypes suggesting that Latin Americans represent a threat to United States culture are not just morally repugnant – they’re also historically inaccurate. Spanish-language literature actually predates the Puritans’ writing in English by nearly a century. As my research reveals, many renowned Latin American ... Read More »

Paraguay to have its first woman president

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Paraguay will have a woman president for the first time in its history, at least temporarily, after outgoing leader Horacio Cartes stepped down May 28 ahead of schedule. ASUNCION – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Vice President Alicia Pucheta, 68, will complete Cartes’s mandate after he resigned to become a senator. On Aug. 15, fellow conservative Mario Abdo Benitez, elected in April 22 polls, will begin his five-year term as president of one of Latin America’s poorest countries. The parliament is due to confirm Cartes’s resignation and proclaim Pucheta ... Read More »

How One Hundred Years of Solitude Redefined Latin America

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When Gabriel García Márquez wrote One Hundred Years of Solitude, he reimagined the genesis of his continent. That had real political impact, writes Felipe Restrepo Pombo. BBC Before One Hundred Years of Solitude, Latin America bore certain similarities to the imaginary place described in the first paragraph of the novel: “The world was so recent that many things lacked names, and in order to indicate them it was necessary to point”. The continent, obviously, wasn’t a new place when Gabriel ... Read More »

Colombia’s Peace at Stake in Polarised Election

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Colombians head to the polls on 27 May to choose a new president. The frontrunners have starkly different views on peace talks with guerrillas and how to handle Venezuelan refugees. Kyle Johnson ICG In this Q&A, our Colombia Senior Analyst Kyle Johnson surveys the field of candidates. What’s at stake in the 27 May election? That day will see the first round of voting to decide who will be Colombia’s next president. Two outcomes are possible. The first is that no ... Read More »

Venezuela’s Maduro gets support from Erdogan, Maradona ahead of vote

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CARACAS/BARQUISIMETO, Venezuela (Reuters) – Venezuela’s diplomatically isolated president got a show of support from his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan and Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona on Thursday ahead of a… Alexandra Ulmer, Corina Pons Reuters The United States, the European Union and major Latin American countries have criticized Sunday’s vote in which leftist President Nicolas Maduro is likely to win re-election to a… Critics say Maduro, a 55-year-old former bus driver who has presided over an economic meltdown, is virtually ... Read More »

President Maduro’s Likely Re-election in Breadline Venezuela

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As tens of thousands of Venezuelans stream into neighbouring countries, President Nicolás Maduro appears set to win elections on 20 May. In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst for the Andes Phil Gunson looks ahead to the vote and its aftermath and explains why the crisis is likely to deepen. Phil Gunson ICG What is at stake in the 20 May elections? These elections are for the presidency of the republic and for regional legislatures in each of Venezuela’s 23 ... Read More »

Are dictators on the way out – or on the way up?

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All around the world, democracy is looking shaky. While consolidated democracies are struggling to stay healthy, many flawed ones have turned into outright authoritarian regimes – most notably Russia under Vladimir Putin and Turkey under… Natasha Ezrow The Conversation But the news isn’t all bad: on several continents over the last decade, longstanding dictators have resigned, lost elections, or been deposed. As the table below indicates, the number of dictators who’ve fallen in recent years for all sorts of reasons ... Read More »

Brazil: New Evidence of Army Role in Rio Ambush

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No Arrests 6 Months After Killings of 8 People New accounts by witnesses suggest that the killers of a group of people in a poor neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro on November 11, 2017, were members of the army special forces, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch interviewed two witnesses and reviewed witness accounts from case files indicating that the clothing and gear of the killers were the same as those of the army personnel who arrived on ... Read More »