South America

Deal to Protect Waters Around ‘Jurassic Park Island’ Falls Through

Costa Rica’s government failed to execute a commitment to protect 4,000 square miles around Cocos Island National Park, a critical shark habitat. Stephen Leahy National Geographic A commitment to create a marine protected area around Cocos Island fell through, though the country’s new government may take another look. Two years ago, former Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís made international news by committing to a 4,000-square-mile expansion of the marine protected area around the extraordinarily biodiverse waters of Cocos Island ... Read More »

A guide to the longest full eclipse of the moon this century, and more

On July 27th, 2018 most of the world will be treated to an extraordinary evening of activity in the sky. Daniel Cunnama The Conversation First, there will be a total lunar eclipse and although uncommon, this one is special because it’s going to last a lot longer than usual – in fact the longest this century. But that’s not all. Mars will shine brighter than it has in 15 years. Caroline Southey asked Dr Daniel Cunnama to explain the… There’s ... Read More »

2017 was deadliest year for environmental activism: report

At least 207 activists were killed, with Brazil, the Philippines and Colombia named as the most dangerous countries. Charlotte Mitchell AlJazeera Nearly four land and environmental activists were killed each week in 2017, making it the deadliest year on record, according to a new report by Global Witness. In the report, published on Tuesday, the UK-based watchdog said 207 people lost their lives last year in their fight against companies and governments that seize land and harm the environment. Latin America was once ... Read More »

Mexican anti-poverty program targeting poor women may help men most, study finds

Economic empowerment programs that target women may have an unintended effect: They help men instead. Nora Haenn The Conversation A growing number of economic development programs worldwide provide cash specifically to women in poor communities. Giving women access to money empowers them, the theory goes. And empowered women – especially mothers – can lift entire families out of poverty. Bangladesh’s Grameen Bank won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for launching a microloan program just for women. Nine Indian states ... Read More »

Ortega puts blame on ‘satanists,’ bishops

Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega blamed “satanical criminals,” Catholic bishops and the US for a wave of unrest he has violently sought to extinguish, as he marked on July 19 the 39th anniversary of the… MANAGUA Hurriyet The protesters, financed by the “North American empire” and domestic business chiefs, had been conspiring to mount a “coup d’etat” in the Central American nation, Ortega claimed to a… Catholic bishops who had attempted to mediate dialogue between him and the opposition were also “behaving like coup plotters,” he said, ... Read More »

Amlo: How often do world leaders take a pay cut?

Mexico’s incoming president Andrés Manuel López Obrador plans to take a 60% pay cut when he takes office in December. BBC The winning left-wing candidate will now earn a salary equivalent to about $5,707 (£4,310) a month and no other public official will be able to earn more than him. Mr López Obrador said the official residence, Los Pinos, will become a cultural centre. The Mexican politician is certainly not the first leader to make the statement of lowering his or ... Read More »

The Missing Peace: Colombia’s New Government and Last Guerrillas

Talks in Havana with the ELN, Colombia’s last insurgency, are advancing at a slow pace. ICG Backed by international actors, the current government and guerrilla negotiators should aim for rapid progress in negotiations to minimise the chance of a… What’s new? Peace talks with Colombia’s last guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), could be under threat after the election of Iván Duque as the new president. Tangible short-term results are essential to ensure negotiations continue when Duque… Why does ... Read More »

EU lawmakers issue call to take in Venezuelan migrants

A new resolution in the European Parliament is calling on EU countries to give refuge to migrants from Venezuela. Mirra Banchon DW The UN’s migration agency estimates that 200,000 Venezuelans are already living in Spain. The European Parliament adopted a resolution on Thursday urging member states to provide “immediate protection-oriented responses” to Venezuelan migrants in the EU, including humanitarian visas, special stay arrangements and… Lawmakers also demanded that the Venezuelan government allow the entry of humanitarian aid to the… EU lawmakers issue… Read More »

Trump asked advisers about invading Venezuela in 2017

(CNN) – President Donald Trump last August asked several top foreign policy advisers about the possibility of invading Venezuela during a meeting about diplomatic sanctions the US was enacting on the autocratic government, a… By Jeremy Diamond, CNN Trump’s aides, including then-national security adviser HR McMaster, vigorously urged him against the notion of a military invasion of Venezuela, warning him it could backfire and explaining that US allies in the… Taking military action against Venezuela would be a dramatic escalation of ... Read More »

Why the World is Not Becoming Multipolar

In Russia, the concept of multipolarity is usually associated with Yevgeny Primakov. Indeed, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation marked the start of the transition to multipolarity as a key trend in contemporary international life back in 1996.[i] Andrey Kortunov RIAC During his visit to New Delhi as Prime Minister in late 1998, Primakov proposed a plan of trilateral cooperation between Russia, China, and India (RIC) as a practical mechanism for promoting global multipolarity. Sergey Lavrov ... Read More »

UN Human Rights Council Should Act on Venezuela

Venezuelan Crisis needs to be a Council Priority Leila Swan HRW No one was surprised when Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro was re-elected last May, or when the opposition alleged voting irregularities. Unofficial reports estimated low voter turnout, less than 40%, despite government officials’ frantic attempts to increase participation. Upon hearing the results, Maduro sang victory, claiming “The whole of Venezuela has triumphed! Democracy has triumphed! Peace has triumphed!”. Yet the elections were rejected by democracies world-wide. The Lima Group – comprised… UN ... Read More »

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

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’

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

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

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

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 »