Hello, hivers. Here you have the sixteenth delivery of my #latamreports series, where I review the last trends in Latin America's political and economic landscape. Today we go deep with Mexico and Colombia, although somehow in the first case, as you will see, I touch a region's nerve. So let me ride on it ya.
The Latin American Report | Deep Dream Generator
The acute crisis in the region recently claimed the lives of 39 people, in a fire that broke out in an already infamous detention center for migrants in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. And I start from the crisis of all kinds that Latin America is experiencing, with precarious jobs, poverty, violence, lack of quality education and health services, and so on in every social area, because that's the reason why these migrants were in those conditions in Mexico, behind the bars, on their way to America, just with their hope. The tragedy has shaken the region and in particular the countries that have nationals among the victims (Guatemala first with 20), in some cases, strongly demanding Mexico to make transparent everything that is known about the tragic event. According to a Chihuahua government official, 28 people have been hospitalized, and only two of them are said to be out of danger, so the number of dead may increase.
The fire occurred Monday night at one local ascribed to the National Migration Institute (INM in Spanish) when, according to official reports, migrants set fire to mattresses in an aggressive and frustrated response after receiving notice that they would be deported. What a cruel game the migration phenomenon is in Latin America, friends of Hive. President López Obrador asserted that his government is being transparent about the fire, which involved about 70 migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela. Look at the countries and remember everything we have already been reporting on the region in this series, even on the most recent dates. A short but still outrageous video was leaked of agents not flinching at the request of detained migrants to open the door, so it's presumed that the unfortunate event, although not to its full extent, could have been better contained.
The short leaked video with the moment when the fire starts (El País / Youtube).
On Wednesday night, Mexico's Secretary of Citizen Security, Rosa Icela Rodriguez, declared that eight people have so far been identified as responsible for the deaths of those 39 Latin American dreaming souls. Two are federal agents, another person is a member of the INM, and the rest are private contractors, according to information from the newspaper 'El Universal' quoted by Europa Press. The accused are facing charges of homicide and damage to property, in a joint investigation between the Attorney General's Office and the Government of Chihuahua, without prejudice that others may be added as it develops.
López Obrador —who is now reported to have a 57% approval rating for his administration— has been criticized in recent hours by several human rights organizations for favoring recent U.S. policies on immigration. The Mexican government, for example, has deployed more than 20,000 Armed Forces agents to the border to discourage migration. According to local civil organizations quoted by the Spanish agency EFE, last year was the deadliest for migrants in Mexico, with around 900 perishing in the attempt to cross undocumented "further north".
The daily AMLO harsh rhetoric
Always polemic, the Mexican leader lashed out against the Boluarte government in Perú, defending that Pedro Castillo is the legitimate president of that nation and that he was deposed as part of a coup d'état of racist connotation by an elite that didn't accept him because of his condition as an indigenous man. He's showing the biggest support to date from any politician as far as I know for Castillo, at the same time that he rebukes and disavows the most he can the Dima Boluarte's ongoing tenure.
On another note, he assured that his country is safe enough at every corner for travelers, although his assertion seems to be debatable at least considering the recent dynamics that are being experienced there. Relativizing the problem doesn't seem to be a valid option here for AMLO, although he did acknowledge that there are "risks" in some places:
I maintain that I, as president or any person, can go to any part of the national territory... Yes, there are risks in some regions more than others, in some cities more than others, but life remains unchanged throughout the country.
Building peace in Colombia, either through the "Total Peace" project proposed by the leftist government of Gustavo Petro, the first in the history of that country, or by sustaining a policy of zero tolerance to the activity of historical armed movements such as the National Liberation Army (ELN in Spanish), or criminal gangs such as "El Clan del Golfo". From the beginning, we warned that this process would have many obstacles along the way, either by the irresponsible action of these groups or certain factions within them (which doesn't seem to be ruled out when reading the statements of Colombian officials) or by the pressure that the opposition will exert on the chances of success, intentionally promoting the narrative that Petro is handing the country over to drug traffickers and criminals. The government can also shoot itself in the foot by developing actions that work against its hope.
Yesterday we learned of an attack attributed to the ELN, which is jeopardizing the continuation of the dialogue process between the authorities and this old guerrilla that was born in the now-distant 1964, the sixth attempt to reach an agreement to lay down their arms in their entire history. The victims, nine in total, were mostly young people around 20 years old who were fulfilling the compulsory military service required by Colombian law. Petro urgently called for consultation between his government delegation, the guarantor, and accompanying countries in the dialogue process with the ELN.
An ELN operative / Credit: RAUL ARBOLEDA (AFP) / Source: France 24's Twitter
Then, we have that "El Clan del Golfo" was at least temporarily eliminated from the peace equation last March 18 for aggressions against civilians and law enforcement agents, besides that it had been pointed out for being behind a mining strike, and now this fact of the ELN is added which, unless there is a cool mind in another old guerrilla as the current Colombian president was, may subtract another of the critical actors for his peace project to have an impact that he can sell. The guerrilla group had not pronounced itself publicly attributing the attack at the closing of our report.
Finally, a group of armed men, allegedly members of a criminal gang known as "Los Pepes", broke into the headquarters of the newspaper "El Heraldo" to demand the publication of an interview they had conducted with their leader. The latter wanted to adhere to Petro's peace process. In addition, the same media outlet was the target of telephone threats demanding an interview with the leader of another criminal organization called "Los Costeños". Zona Cero, a digital publication from the same locality as El Heraldo, Barranquilla, received an anonymous message on social networks warning that "they are going to rot with bombs in their facilities". Yes, this is a tough country.
Argentine President Alberto Fernández was defending this Wednesday at the White House the need to renegotiate the terms of its gigantic and suffocating debt with the International Monetary Fund, inherited from the Macri administration, whose rates "in general" he described as "abusive" during his speech at the 28th Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government held in Santo Domingo between the 24th and 25th of this month.
Credit: Casa Rosada. Under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Argentina License.
It's assumed that a statement by Joe Biden, due to the veto right of the United States in the aforementioned institution, could have a positive effect on Argentina's ability to mitigate the burden of the $44 billion with the IMF. Fernández also made a point on the following to sustain his plea:
Argentina is suffering the worst drought since 1929 in its recent history. This has greatly complicated our economy and we are presenting this new reality to the lending agencies.
Let us keep in mind the electoral context in which the South American nation is already involved, and therefore the pressure that the ruling party is under there to gain resources to combat the enormous social crisis that is manifesting itself right now.
The area's stock and exchange markets improved their positions on Wednesday, as the notion of calm settles in the world in the face of the possibility of a shakeout with devastating consequences, after the recent debacles in the banking sector. It is expected that the central banks of Mexico and Colombia will operate a controlled 25 basis points increase in the reference interest rate, Reuters reports. The Colombian peso continues to show strength and lead the basket of six regional currencies measured in each market session against the dollar, with a gain of 1.42%, followed in the uptrend by the MSCI COLCAP stock index, which closed +0.20%. Only the Argentine peso experienced a decline, set at -0.22%.
|Countries||Local currency balance||Local stock index balance|
|Colombia||+1.42%||+0.20% (MSCI COLCAP)|
|México||+0.67%||+1.27% (S&P/BMV IPC)|
|Perú||+0.29%||+0.20% (S&P/BVL General)|
|Argentina||-0.22%||+2.77% (S&P Merval)|
Daily balance of main currencies and stock indexes in Latin America ( Source).
Former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro returns to his country this Thursday to reportedly work with his party in opposition to Lula da Silva's presidency. It is undeniable that he has strong roots there, especially if we remember the attacks he somehow inspired on the headquarters of several institutions of power —in a Brazilian's January 6th replica—, after the electoral victory of his rival, the veteran progressive leader of the Workers' Party. How much it will fuel the growing polarization is a fact to monitor from our reports, so stay tuned and ready for more notes on Brazilian politics in the following.
The Constitutional Court of Ecuador has blessed this Wednesday the impeachment trial against Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso for alleged corruption, in a clear 6-3 as a specific result of its vote. Remember that this is an extensive scheme in which there seems to be enough evidence to suspect Lasso's involvement in it.
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