South America

Bolsonaro takes office in Brazil, says nation ‘liberated from socialism’

Brazil‘s newly inaugurated President Jair Bolsonaro said on Dec. 1 his election had freed the country from “socialism and political correctness,” and he vowed to tackle corruption, crime and… BRASILIA – Reuters Hurriyet Bolsonaro, a former army captain turned lawmaker who openly admires Brazil‘s 1964-1985 military dictatorship, promised in his first remarks as president to adhere to democratic norms, after his tirades against the… While investors hope Bolsonaro‘s free-market stance will  reinvigorate Brazil‘s economy – the eight largest in the world –  environmentalists and rights ... Read More »

Is Venezuela Willing to Start a Caribean War?

The timing of Russia sending two long-range bombers to Venezuela earlier in December was Washington wondering what Caracas is thinking. Scott B. MacDonald The National Interest On December 22, 2018, the Bolivarian Navy of Venezuela ‘íntercepted” the ExxonMobil research ship, the Ramform Tethys, in the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. The ship is flagged by the government of Bahamas and was contracted to to contact seismic work by ExxonMobil and has a crew ... Read More »

Colombia Farc: 85 ex-rebels killed since peace deal

The United Nations says 85 former Farc rebels have been killed in Colombia since the group signed a peace accord with the government two years ago. BBC Most of the murders were by illegal armed groups and drug gangs fighting over former Farc territories, UN chief Antonio Guterres said in a report. Mr Guterres urged Colombian President Ivan Duque, a vocal critic of the peace deal, to do more to protect ex-rebels. Colombia suffered 52 years of conflict until peace ... Read More »

Brazil swears in far-right President Jair Bolsonaro

Brazil has sworn in former army captain President Jair Bolsonaro, amid tight security. The far-right politician, an admirer of the country’s former military dictatorship, pledged to rid the country of “ideological ties.” DW Bolsonaro was sworn in as at president on Tuesday, promising to overhaul the country’s economy and bring about sweeping social change. An aficionado of US President Donald Trump, Bolsonaro rose to power on a pro-gun, anti-corruption agenda. Speaking in an address to the nation on Tuesday, Bolsonaro said, now ... Read More »

Colombia condemns alleged plot to kill president

Colombia‘s foreign minister on Dec. 29 condemned an alleged plot to kill President IvanDuque and said three Venezuelan citizens had been detained in possession of “weapons of war.” BOGOTA – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet “For several months there have been intelligence probes into possible attacks against the life of the president,” Carlos Holmes Trujillo said in a video on the ministry’s social media accounts. He added that three Venezuelans in possession of “weapons of war” had been captured in connection with such plots, without going ... Read More »

10 Conflicts to Watch in 2019

As U.S. leadership of the international order fades, more countries are seeking to bolster their influence by meddling in foreign conflicts. In this new era of limit testing, Crisis Group’s President Robert Malley lists the Ten Conflicts to Watch in 2019. In a world with fewer rules, the only truly effective one is knowing what you can get away with. The answer today, it turns out, is: quite a lot. As the era of uncontested U.S. primacy fades, the international ... Read More »

A Road to Dialogue After Nicaragua’s Crushed Uprising

Public resentment is high in Nicaragua after street protests in April were crushed in a brutal government crackdown. ICG To prevent further unrest, President Ortega should implement agreed electoral reforms while international actors maintain diplomatic pressure to create conditions for dialogue. What’s new? Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has quelled a civic uprising through violence, intimidation and prosecution of protesters without due process. More than 300 people died in clashes pitting protesters against police and parapolice groups. Protests have since subsided, ... Read More »

The Risks of Diplomatic Rupture with Maduro’s Venezuela

Key Latin American countries have said they will cut ties with Venezuela over its authoritarian drift and socio-economic meltdown. ICG This move would be counterproductive. Instead, external powers should step up efforts to find a negotiated pathway out of Venezuela’s crisis. On 10 January 2019, Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro will be sworn in for a second term, despite domestic and international rejection of the presidential election held on 20 May this year. That he is due to stay in power ... Read More »

Pope demotes two cardinals over sexual abuse scandals

Two cardinals facing allegations linked to sexual abuse have been removed from Pope Francis’s inner circle, the Vatican said. BBC Australia’s George Pell and Chile’s Francisco Javier Errazuriz will no longer sit on the Council of Cardinals, set up by the pope as an international advice body. The pair were absent from the last meeting of the group in September. A spokesperson said the Pope wrote to them both in October to thank them. Cardinal Pell, who remains the Vatican ... Read More »

Life Under Gang Rule in El Salvador

Over the last three years, gang violence has killed nearly 20,000 people in El Salvador, propelling tens of thousands northward in search of safety. ICG With U.S. help, the Salvadoran government should try to counter gangs with crime prevention as much as with law enforcement. Nearly 20,000 Salvadorans were killed from 2014 to 2017. That’s more violent deaths than in several countries that were at war during those years, such as Libya, Somalia and Ukraine. The murder rate – an ... Read More »

Glorious rubbish, have we been wasting your energy all along?

Caieiras, Sao Paulo: As Australia debates the need to spend money on renewable energy projects to power our future without destroying the environment, it is worth taking a look at rubbish. Lia Timson WAtoday Is this never-ending resource being used to our advantage? What if, instead of just seeing it as something to get rid of, we put it to work? That is a question environmental engineer Marcelo Camargo, manager of one of the world’s largest biogas electricity generators on the outskirts of ... Read More »

Poet, hero, rapist – outrage over Chilean plan to rename airport after Neruda

Human rights activists argue that the honour is inappropriate for a man who described raping a maid in his memoir The Guardian Pablo Neruda was a Nobel laureate whose poetry chronicled the lives and struggles of ordinary Latin Americans, and whose life was upheld as a symbol of resistance to dictatorship. But a decision to rename Chile’s busiest international airport after him has been met with outrage from human rights activists who argue that the honour is inappropriate for a man ... Read More »

Friendly Fire: Venezuela’s Opposition Turmoil

As Venezuela’s socio-economic woes deepen, so do the fissures in the opposition to President Nicolás Maduro’s government. ICG Bridging these rifts is vital if the country’s crisis is to end through a negotiated transition. Outside powers should back opposition unity and stop hinting at military intervention. What’s new?  The Venezuelan opposition is split into seemingly irreconcilable factions that cannot settle on a strategy for ending their country’s crisis. They disagree over whether, and when, to take part in elections, whether to ... Read More »

A Rising Tide of Murder in Venezuela’s Mineral-rich South

Dead bodies are appearing across the Orinoco river basin of southern Venezuela. Bram Ebus ICG In this Q&A, Crisis Group consultant Bram Ebus explains how the killings are linked by jostling among criminals, guerrillas and soldiers for mineral wealth amid the country’s wider socio-economic meltdown. What happened? A spate of mass killings in southern Venezuela is stirring international concern as the country’s political and economic crisis continues to drive a migrant exodus. On 14 October, at least seven miners were murdered ... Read More »

Democracy is at risk in Latin America and the far right is moving in – here’s how it went wrong for the left

Latin American democracy is in peril, a crisis driven by rising social polarisation and a growing intolerance of dissent. Pia Riggirozzi The Conversation Institutional mistrust is also rising and risks deepening the disconnect between citizens and government. According to the Latin American Economic Outlook 2018, three out of four Latin Americans have very low confidence in institutions and show little or no confidence in their national governments. Likewise, a recent survey published by Intal/Latinbarometro, found that people believe that the most reliable ... Read More »

Mexico mothers search for mass graves after tip-off

A group of Mexican mothers looking for their missing children is digging up a site in the eastern state of Veracruz in search of mass graves. BBC A spokeswoman for the group, called Solecito, said the mothers had received an anonymous tip-off. The mothers fear that more than 400 people could be buried in shallow graves in the area. Hundreds of bodies have already been found in other nearby clandestine graves in the past two years. Solecito was founded two ... Read More »