Latin America December 2019 —

Written by  //  July 27, 2020  //  Americas, Government & Governance  //  No comments

Latin America 2013 – 19

United Tesla Company: Widespread Condemnation of Elon Musk’s Bolivia Coup
(Mintpress) The coup d’état in Bolivia – It’s all about the country’s rich Lithium deposits!
Musk’s company, Tesla, relies on lithium batteries for its electric vehicles. Bolivia is right in the center of the Lithium Triangle” — a region high in the Andes mountain range where over half of the world’s known deposits of the metal lie. With the world beginning to transition away from fossil fuels, the need for energy storage devices is expected to grow exponentially. Morales, a resource nationalist, had for a long time seen lithium as the way forward to industrialize and improve the country’s economy, hoping to keep the technology and profits from battery generation inside Bolivia. Musk’s plans to open a car plant in Brazil and use cheap Bolivian lithium had hit a snag with the defiant president refusing to give him a sweetheart deal. Morales’ successor, the military-backed Jeanine Añez, immediately began privatizing the country’s key resources, and there is widespread speculation that such a deal is imminent after Añez’s running mate in the now-suspended 2020 elections asked Musk to build a factory inside the country.”
The former president, who was forced to flee to Argentina or face a lifetime in prison, said that Musk’s words were “more proof that the coup was due to Bolivian lithium; and two massacres as a balance. We will always defend our resources!”

26 July
The sisters regrowing forests helped by their dogs (video)
Francisca and Constanza Torres and their three dogs, are planting seeds in areas of Chile devastated by wildfires. The project, which uses dog backpacks, is done in their own time and has already gained international recognition.

22 July
Earliest evidence for humans in the Americas
(BBC) Humans settled in the Americas much earlier than previously thought, according to new finds from Mexico. They suggest people were living there 33,000 years ago, twice the widely accepted age for the earliest settlement of the Americas.
The results are based on work at Chiquihuite Cave, a high-altitude rock shelter in central Mexico.
Archaeologists found nearly 2,000 stone tools, suggesting the cave was used by people for at least 20,000 years.
During the second half of the 20th Century, a consensus emerged among North American archaeologists that the Clovis people had been the first to reach the Americas, about 11,500 years ago. … But in the 1970s, this orthodoxy started to be challenged. In the 1980s, solid evidence for a 14,500-year-old human presence at Monte Verde, Chile, emerged.
And since the 2000s, other pre-Clovis sites have become widely accepted – including the 15,500-year-old Buttermilk Creek Complex in central Texas.

9 July
In Peru, President Martín Vizcarra calls for general elections for April 2021
(LABS) Vizcarra became president in March 2018, after having been vice president of Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who resigned. He will not run for election

4 July
Latin America sees half of all new Covid-19 infections as health systems flounder
(CNN) At the end of April, video emerged from the main hospital in the Brazilian city of Manaus of bodies lined up in corridors, the victims of a sudden surge in the coronavirus. At the same time, the city began digging mass graves for hundreds of people who’d not even had the chance of treatment.
Since then, similar scenes have played out across Latin America, which has seen an explosive spread of the coronavirus. In Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city, coffins were fashioned from cardboard boxes as bodies were left uncollected. In the Chilean capital Santiago, public hospitals were overwhelmed as lockdown was eased too soon.
In the last week of June, coronavirus deaths averaged more than 2,000 a day in Latin America and the Caribbean — half of all recorded deaths worldwide, according to a CNN tally of WHO data. Most forecasts suggest the picture will get much grimmer — with nearly 440,000 deaths expected across the region by October, according to the University of Washington.

23 May
The right to education of Venezuelan migrant and refugee children and adolescents: multidimensional risks and exacerbation of vulnerabilities during the pandemic
(UNESCO) The situation of Venezuelan refugee and migrant families that were in a fragile situation before the pandemic is now aggravated by their loss of employment, difficulties in accessing emergency services and benefits, and lack of access to healthcare systems.
As they no longer have the livelihoods to stay in their host countries or have been unable to access emergency responses due to the States’ pressure and redefinition of priorities, many Venezuelans have decided to return to Venezuela. Throughout different cities in the region, many Venezuelan families are awaiting humanitarian assistance that will provide them with options to return, exposing themselves to risks of infection due to irregular movements between countries and across borders.
In educational matters, 100% of the Venezuelan children and adolescents who were enrolled in their host countries are currently out of school and without a certain return. The interruption of learning has also spread among children and adolescents who had already had their studies interrupted when they started their displacement. There are also those who, despite being enrolled in educational centers in their host countries, due to confinement have not been able to begin their school year, losing contact with their educational communities.

27 January
Peru election: Crushing blow for president’s opponents Popular Force
The party dominated Congress before the body was dissolved by President Martín Vizcarra in September.
Mr Vizcarra took the drastic step arguing that lawmakers were obstructing his anti-corruption agenda.
No party won an overall majority but centrist parties have made gains, which could ease the passage of reforms.

23 January
Bloomberg Business:
Scorned friend | The U.S. has long leaned on Colombia, its staunchest ally in Latin America, as a bulwark against China’s effort to boost its influence on the continent by flooding it with cash. But since Trump attacked President Ivan Duque for his failure to curb cocaine trafficking last March, Chinese companies have closed deals worth billions of dollars, exceeding the total investment from the previous 15 years.
On a roll | Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra has enjoyed high approval ratings since dissolving the legislature and calling early elections to break a stalemate with the opposition-controlled congress last year. If Sunday’s voting for its replacement turns out as polls suggest, he’ll get a new parliament more willing to push ahead with his agenda of political and judicial reform

2019

30 December
Latin America’s tumultuous year turns expectations on their head
2020 could bring another year of turmoil for Latin America after the dramatic events of 2019 from the Caribbean to Chile
by Tom Phillips, Latin America correspondent
(The Guardian) The final year of the decade was only 23 days old when the turmoil began with an explosion of dissent on the streets of Venezuela that most observers felt sure would displace its authoritarian leader, Nicolás Maduro.
Mass protests, frantic predictions of Maduro’s imminent downfall, and a botched military uprising followed before Juan Guaidó’s campaign to topple Hugo Chávez’s heir fizzled and an uneasy calm returned.
But elsewhere the action was only just beginning, as a wave of protests and violence swept Puerto Rico, Haiti, Ecuador and Bolivia – where President Evo Morales was forced from office amid a bloody military crackdown – leaving some wondering if a Latin American Spring had arrived.
In Peru the president dissolved congress; in Argentina Cristina Fernández de Kirchner staged a dramatic political comeback; and in Colombia hundreds of thousands flooded the streets in opposition to the rightwing president, Iván Duque.
Even Chile, supposedly a haven of Latin American stability and affluence, was sucked into the mayhem as a hike in subway fares triggered its worst unrest in decades, leaving a trail of destruction and President Sebastián Piñera’s future in doubt.
As the year draws to a close, minds are turning to what comes next.
In a new report the Economist Intelligence Unit warned of a high risk of “protest contagion”, noting how Colombia’s protests were inspired by rebellions in neighbouring countries.
“There is a strong chance that 2020 will be another volatile year for Latin America,” the report said, predicting particularly choppy waters in Lenín Moreno’s Ecuador.
[Ivan Briscoe, the International Crisis Group’s Latin America chief] saw three likely 2020 flash points: Venezuela, as it fell deeper into political and humanitarian ruin; Brazil and Argentina, as a diplomatic spat intensified between their ideologically opposed leaders; and Mexico, where President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is struggling to control a historic murder crisis claiming almost 100 lives a day.
Observers are split on whether Latin America’s biggest economy runs the risk of unrest, with former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva recently urging followers to “follow Chile’s example” and rebel against the far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro.

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