South America

Chinese medical vessel docks in Venezuela

The humanitarian tour will provide medical help to the crisis-ridden country, but Venezuelan officials said it was also part of a “strategic defense operation.” Medication prices have soared as the currency tanks. DW The Chinese army medical vessel “Peace Ark” arrived in Venezuela’s La Guaira port on Saturday, as the country faces a deep economic crisis that has devastated its public health services. It is the latest stop for the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s ship in its 11-nation “Mission Harmony” ... Read More »

Brazil’s Lula: Saint or sinner?

Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva is seen as much as a saviour as he is a sinner in Brazil: a man who came to power promising change yet ended up leaving politics with a very different legacy. BBC His life mirrored that of many Brazilians. He was born in 1945 into a poor family in the north-east of Brazil and, by the time he was seven, his family had moved to São Paulo to find work – as many millions ... Read More »

World politics explainer: Pinochet’s Chile

General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, a career military officer, was appointed Commander in Chief of the Chilean army by President Salvador Allende on August 1973. Peter Read The Conversation Eighteen days later, with the connivance, if not the assistance, of the US, he authorised a coup against Allende’s Socialist government. To be clear, Pinochet’s rule was not the first, last or worst dictatorship in the history of Latin America. But it did grip the attention of western countries because of Chile’s ... Read More »

4 charts show Venezuela’s worsening migrant crisis

A few years ago, Venezuela seemed to be setting the standard for social welfare in the region. Rebecca Hanson The Conversation In 2015, the United Nations recognized Venezuela as having made the most advances in the fight against hunger in the Latin American and Caribbean region. National rates of poverty and inequality declined under President Hugo Chávez from the early 2000s until 2012. Yet this is the same country where inflation last year reached 2,616 percent. The International Monetary Fund ... Read More »

Lesson from Brazil: Museums are not forever

We now know what history going up in flames looks like. On Sept. 2, the National Museum of Brazil lit up Rio de Janeiro’s night sky. Chip Colwell The Conversation Perhaps started by an errant paper hot air balloon landing on the roof or a short circuit in a laboratory, the fire gutted the historic 200-year-old building. Likely gone are a collection of resplendent indigenous ceremonial robes, the first dinosaur found in South America, Portuguese royal furniture, ancient Egyptian mummies, ... Read More »

Peruvian villagers face murder and intimidation from land traffickers

Invaders continue to seize land within the Chaparrí ecological reserve, one of Peru’s most biodiverse forests Rajmonda Rexhi and Matthew Weaver in El Mirador, Peru The Guardian hortly after sunset, along an isolated stretch of highway leading out of a dusty hamlet in northern Peru, a band of five weary farmers clad in reflective neon vests and armed with traditional whips made of bull penises set out on a solemn march. The Ronderos – self-governing peasant patrols – are resuming ... Read More »

Brazil museum fire: ‘incalculable’ loss as 200-year-old Rio institution gutted

The Museu Nacional houses artefacts from Egypt, Greco-Roman art and some of the first fossils found in Brazil Dom Phillips The Guardian Brazil’s oldest and most important historical and scientific museum has been consumed by fire, and much of its archive of 20 million items is believed to have been destroyed. The fire at Rio de Janeiro’s 200-year-old National Museum began after it closed to the public on Sunday and raged into the night. There were no reports of injuries, ... Read More »

Chilean Navy captures Peruvian vessel fishing in Exclusive Economic Zone

SANTIAGO – During a surveillance patrol, the Chilean Navy captured the fourteenth foreign vessel in the early hours of Friday morning, which was fishing in waters belonging to the Exclusive Economic Zone of the… The Santiago Times While the Maritime Zone Patrol Officer OPV-84 “Cabo Odger”, dependent of the Fourth Naval Zone, carried out surveillance operations, it detected a Peruvian minor vessel within the Exclusive National Economic Zone, 172 kilometers west of… The fishing vessel named “Jean Anthony” was inspected ... Read More »

Nicaragua expels UN team after critical report

The government of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has ordered a team from the United Nations Commission for Human Rights to leave. BBC The expulsion comes days after a critical report into human rights in Nicaragua during months of anti-government protests. The chief of the UN mission, Guillermo Fernandez, said his team would continue to monitor the situation from abroad. More than 300 people were killed during the recent political unrest. The report released on Wednesday by the UN High Commissioner for ... Read More »

How Brazil can beat the odds and restore a huge swathe of the Amazon

Over the past few decades the international community has watched as the destruction of Earth’s largest forest has intensified. Authors: The Conversation Deforestation has been eating away at the Amazon’s fringes, mainly for commercial cattle ranching and agricultural plantation. The agriculture, livestock, mining and infrastructure sectors have been promoted due to powerful financial and development pressures for high profits and economic growth. Meanwhile, indigenous peoples, traditional communities and smallholders have had their livelihoods imperilled, while carbon emissions have increased, water ... Read More »

Venezuela migration nears ‘Mediterranean crisis point’

The UN’s migration agency says Venezuela is heading for the same refugee “crisis moment” seen in the Mediterranean in 2015. BBC The warning comes as its neighbours try to halt the movement of people fleeing Venezuela’s economic crisis. Peru brought in stricter border regulations on Saturday – a day after a court overturned Ecuador’s attempt to strengthen its own controls. More than two million Venezuelans have fled their country since 2014. They are fleeing a dire economic situation, with Venezuelans ... Read More »

Nicaragua crisis: how democracy dies in the era of fake news

For decades, Central America was mostly sidelined as far as global news was concerned. Doug Specht The Conversation That all looked set to change with the advent of digital media, which initially promised to put previously marginalised voices on the world stage. But instead, the age of social media and fake news might have ushered in something much worse than obscurity: an entanglement of news and rumour that’s dividing populations, spilling blood on the streets, and transforming the relationship between ... Read More »

The stacks of cash needed to buy basic goods tell Venezuela’s insane inflation story

In a desperate bid to curb its runaway inflation rate, Venezuela has lopped five zeros from its currency. Edmund Heaphy Quartz The move yesterday, which came along with a 95% devaluation of the currency—known as the “strong bolívar”—was also accompanied by a hike in gas prices and a 3,000% increase in the minimum wage. New banknotes for the currency, now called the the “sovereign bolívar”, were introduced. The redenominated bolívar is now pegged to the petro, a state-run cryptocurrency that doesn’t ... Read More »

Argentina retains strict abortion laws by rejecting elective procedures

Argentina’s decision to retain its stringent abortion laws has left Latin America and the Caribbean with some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world. ABC Argentine senators this week narrowly rejected a bill to legalise abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, overcoming support for a surging abortion rights movement in the homeland of Pope Francis. The Senate’s 38-31 vote against the proposed legislation could echo across Latin America, where anti-abortion forces remains strong even if the ... Read More »

Venezuela crisis: Brazil briefly shuts border to migrants

Brazil has re-opened its northern border with Venezuela to those fleeing economic and political turmoil there, after briefly closing it. BBC The Supreme Court overturned an earlier order to shut the frontier until Brazil could put in place the right conditions to receive the huge influx of people. Authorities in the state of Roraima in Brazil’s Amazon region say some 500 Venezuelans cross the border every day. The border was re-opened to Venezuelan migrants after a few hours on Monday. ... Read More »

Lawyers defending immigrant children in detention are relying on a court case from the 80s

The Trump administration’s immigration policies have brought an old court case back to life in defense of immigrant children at the border, often referred to as “the Flores settlement.” Kevin Johnson The Conversation The case, which was filed in 1985 and settled in 1997, set the rules that the government must follow when it keeps migrant children in its custody. The latest court order based on the settlement took place on July 30, in which a judge barred immigration authorities ... Read More »