South America

Brazil gunmen shoot at convoy carrying nuclear fuel in Angra dos Reis

Gunmen have attacked a convoy of trucks carrying uranium fuel to a nuclear power plant near the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, police say. BBC The convoy came under attack as it drove past a community controlled by drug traffickers in Angra dos Reis, a tourist city 145km (90 miles) from Rio. Police escorting the convoy responded and a shootout followed. No-one was injured or detained. The convoy reached the Angra 2 plant safely 20 minutes after the attack. ... Read More »

The Darkest Hours: Power Outages Raise the Temperature in Venezuela

The crippling blackouts across Venezuela are a grim portent of things to come as U.S. oil sanctions kick in and the country’s crisis deepens. Phil Gunson ICG All concerned to end Venezuelans’ suffering should vigorously pursue a negotiated transition leading to a power-sharing deal. On Thursday 7 March, at around five in the afternoon, the lights went out in Venezuela. Within a couple of hours, as the tropical night descended, around 90 per cent of the country was plunged into ... Read More »

China’s growing Latin America ties also matter for Australia

When China’s increasing links to Latin America are discussed, Australia might not be the first country that comes to mind. Erin Watson-Lynn the interpreter Lowy Institute But for Australian policy makers, Beijing’s push into Latin America matters. Australia must do more itself to strengthen its otherwise nascent relationships with the region, especially as China works to fill the vacuum left by the United States’ absence in the region. Two important developments make this need clear. Rethinking Australia’s geographic proximity It ... Read More »

Brazil: two ex-police officers arrested over murder of Marielle Franco

Franco, an outspoken critic of police violence against favela residents, was killed in 2018, prompting international outrage Dom Phillips in Rio de Janeiro The Guardian Two former police officers have been arrested over the murder of the Rio de Janeiro councillor Marielle Franco, two days before the first anniversary of her death, which prompted international outrage. Franco, a groundbreaking politician who was born in one of Rio’s largest favelas and became a voice for disadvantaged people in the city, was killed in ... Read More »

US withdrawing last of its embassy personnel from Venezuela

The United States announced on March 11 that it is pulling the remaining staff from its embassy in Venezuela, citing the deteriorating situation in the South American nation. CARACAS- The Associated Press Hurriyet Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the decision as Venezuela struggles to restore electricity following days of blackouts around the country and a deepening political crisis. The U.S. has led an international effort to oust socialist President Nicolas Maduro and replace him with opposition leader Juan Guaido, who vows to hold a ... Read More »

Brazil and Venezuela clash over migrants, humanitarian aid and closed borders

Venezuela’s borders are now dangerous flashpoints in a tense showdown between President Nicolas Maduro and Venezuela’s self-declared interim president, Juan Guaidó. Authors: The Conversation The United States, Colombia and Brazil – all supporters of Guaidó’s quest to unseat Maduro – have amassed hundreds of tons of medical and food supplies at Venezuela’s borders with Colombia and… Maduro, who condemns the humanitarian convoys as the pretext for a U.S.-led military invasion, refuses to allow the aid through. The aid standoff grew ... Read More »

Gold and Grief in Venezuela’s Violent South

Across swathes of southern Venezuela, army units, Colombian guerrillas and crime syndicates jostle for control over gold mines funnelling hard currency to President Nicolás Maduro’s government. ICG Outside powers should stop considering military intervention and instead help broker a peaceful transition in Venezuela, lest chaos ensue. What’s new? Venezuelan crime syndicates and Colombian guerrilla groups are creating new threats across southern Venezuela as they compete for control of the region’s valuable mineral resources. Tensions and violence have spiked in recent ... Read More »

Venezuela: An Empty Shell Named Juan Guaido

Venezuela’s next problem, besides a crashed economy and an authoritarian regime, may be an opposition president incapable of running the country. Sergio Ocampo Madrid EL ESPECTADOR 2019-02-27 English edition • WORLDCRUNCH -OpEd- BOGOTÁ — Obviously, I want Maduro to fall. Obviously, I’m counting the minutes to the end of Venezuela’s nightmare, so we may start to rebuild it after a 20-year experiment that has both destroyed the country and largely killed the dream that many of us in Colombia share: ... Read More »

Argentine 11-year-old’s C-section sparks new abortion debate

The girl had been raped but doctors delayed her abortion request until they were forced to do a caesarean section at 23 weeks. SBS A caesarean section carried out on an 11-year-old girl raped by her grandmother’s husband has reopened the debate about abortion in Argentina, where rules on pregnancy terminations are strict. “I want you to take out of my tummy what the old man put there,” the girl had said in a complaint lodged with authorities in the ... Read More »

High Noon over Humanitarian Aid at Venezuela’s Border

Venezuela’s constitutional crisis continues to unfold, with the opposition amassing food and medicine on the borders with the stated intent of turning the military against President Nicolás Maduro, who is refusing the aid. Phil Gunson ICG In this Q&A, our Senior Analyst for Venezuela Phil Gunson explains the standoff. What happened? Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó, recognised as the country’s interim president by dozens of countries including the U.S., has promised that on 23 February a… An aid concert, featuring a… High ... Read More »

In pictures: Venezuelans trade scrap metal to survive

Struggling Venezuelans have resorted to trading scrap metal and plastic crates in an attempt to make ends meet. BBC Amid drastic food shortages and an economic crisis, crowds have forged trade routes along illegal tracks leading into neighbouring Colombia. President Nicolás Maduro has said he will not allow aid to enter the country as it is a means for US intervention. Juan Guaidó, the head of Venezuela’s National Assembly who has been recognised by the US and some other nations ... Read More »

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 »