South America

Venezuela’s Collapse Is the Worst Outside of War in Decades, Economists Say

Butchers have stopped selling meat cuts in favor of offal, fat shavings and cow hooves, the only animal protein many of their customers can afford. Anatoly Kurmanaev The New York Times MARACAIBO, Venezuela — Zimbabwe’s collapse under Robert Mugabe. The fall of the Soviet Union. Cuba’s disastrous unraveling in the 1990s. The crumbling of Venezuela’s economy has now outpaced them all. Venezuela’s fall is the single largest economic collapse outside of war in at least 45 years, economists say. “It’s ... Read More »

Picking Up the Pieces After Venezuela’s Quashed Uprising

A failed uprising by Venezuelan National Assembly Chair Juan Guaidó has emboldened President Nicolás Maduro and deepened the country’s political deadlock. ICG However difficult, outside actors should continue to press the two sides to form a transitional cabinet, stabilise Venezuela’s economy and hold elections. The events that shook Caracas on 30 April remain shrouded in mystery, but their immediate impact seems clear: further polarising a political stand-off and raising the likelihood of domestic or… They began with the… Picking Up ... Read More »

Venezuela’s Guaidó accused of coup attempt by government

Venezuelan authorities say they are putting down a small coup attempt after opposition leader Juan Guaidó announced he was in the “final phase” of ending President Nicolás Maduro’s rule. BBC He appeared in a video with uniformed men, saying he had military support. Mr Guaidó, who declared himself interim president in January, called for more members of the military to help him end Mr Maduro’s “usurpation” of power. But military leaders appeared to be standing behind Mr Maduro. Venezuela’s defence ... Read More »

Venezuela’s Trade Scheme With Turkey Is Enriching a Mysterious Maduro Cron

Investigators say retrofitted criminal networks are being used to trade gold for the food that’s propping up the regime. By Michael Smith and Monte Reel From: New Economy Forum In the late afternoon of July 15, 2016, a cluster of staffers inside the Turkish Embassy in Caracas struggled to make sense of the images from home flashing across their televisions and computer screens. Military trucks were blocking a bridge over the Bosporus, tanks were rolling into the Istanbul airport, and ... Read More »

Message to the EU: you have the chance to stop fuelling devastation in the Amazon

The effects of European consumption are being felt in Brazil, driving disastrous deforestation and violence. Authors: The Conversation But the destruction can end if the European Union demands higher environmental standards on Brazilian goods. Hundreds of scientists and Indigenous leaders agree: the time to act is now, before it’s too late. In an open letter published today in the journal Science, more than 600 scientists from every country in the European Union (EU) and 300 Brazilian Indigenous groups asked the ... Read More »

Peru’s ex-president kills himself to avoid arrest

Peru‘s former president Alan Garcia shot himself in the head on April 17 to avoid arrest in connection with alleged bribes from Brazilian builder Odebrecht, taking his own life, in the most dramatic… LIMA- Reuters Hurriyet Garcia, a towering and charismatic figure who played a central role in Peruvian politics for more than three decades, died in a hospital at age 69 after shooting himself at his house in Lima when police… Garcia’s death shocked the Andean country that had watched ... Read More »

The return of fascism? Why this is the wrong question to ask

When a group of ultra-nationalist wannabes gathered in Milan in 1919 to hear firebrand leader Benito Mussolini speak, they became part of an infamous moment in history. Aristotle Kallis The Conversation There, Mussolini presented the founding manifesto of an unlikely radical political start up. Its name was Fascio di Combattimento, the humble precursor of fascism that was adopted as the name of the movement two years later. A century on from the gathering, and after decades in the political wilderness, ... Read More »

Donald Trump fumes as judge blocks policy of returning asylum seekers to Mexico

US President Donald Trump has lashed out over a judge blocking his administration’s policy of returning asylum seekers to Mexico while they apply to legally stay in the United States, saying the ruling is “unfair to the US”. ABC Under the policy, which was launched in January, migrants are forced to return back over the border while they wait for an immigration court to hear their cases. Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco this week granted a request on behalf ... Read More »

Will Pressure Bring Down Venezuela’s Government?

In Venezuela, the lights go off nearly every day, and there is little for most families to put on the dinner table. Ivan Briscoe ICG Amid the growing misery, will the government’s social base abandon it for the opposition challenger? And will the government itself crack under pressure? Ángela (not her real name) handles delivery of the state food rations known as CLAPs in her working-class neighbourhood in Caracas. She is a lifelong supporter of chavismo – the left-wing populist philosophy and ... Read More »

The world’s left-wingers are feeling the Bern

Bernie Sanders is viewed abroad as a potential figurehead for a worldwide movement against right-wing populism. Holly Otterbein Politico Bernie Sanders has a base that no other 2020 U.S. presidential candidate can claim: left-wing politicians around the globe. From South America to Europe to the Middle East, leftist leaders are celebrating his candidacy, viewing him as an iconic democratic socialist with the potential to lead a worldwide progressive movement at a time when right-wing populism is on the rise across ... Read More »

The nations of the Amazon want the name back

Online retail giant Amazon and the governments of eight South American countries have been given a final deadline to reach an agreement over how to use the “.amazon” web address extension after a seven-year dispute. What will happen next? Pablo Uchoa BBC It’s a name that evokes epic proportions: the world’s largest rainforest; a global tech company; and now a diplomatic saga nearing its end. This is the battle of the Amazon and it starts back in 2012. The Internet ... Read More »

Venezuela’s Maduro blocks Guaido from office as the opposition scoffs

Venezuela‘s opposition leader Juan Guaido will be barred from public office for 15 years, the government comptroller said on March 28, as it seeks to crack down on the U.S.-backed rival to President Nicolas Maduro. CARACAS – Reuters Hurriyet Guaido has been recognized as head of state by most Western countries after invoking the constitution to assume the interim presidency, arguing Maduro‘s 2018 re-election was illegitimate and that he became a usurper when his second term began in January. Maduro dismisses Guaido‘s claim to the presidency as a Washington-backed ... Read More »

Condemnation of the assassination of Sergio Rojas in Costa Rica

Friends of the Earth Latin America and the Caribbean (ATALC) denounces and condemns the assassination of Sergio Rojas, an indigenous Costa Rican defender of Indigenous Peoples’ rights and the Bribri of Salitre territory in southern Costa Rica. Friends of the Earth International Throughout his life Sergio Rojas was unyielding in his fight for Indigenous Peoples’ autonomy and self-determination who took a stand against the land grabbers of communities’ territories. Sergio was murdered on the night of Monday 18th March at his home, in ... Read More »

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 »