Weekly News from Latin America (No. 5)

2개월 전

Brazil: Further Protests Against President Jair Bolsonaro

Following the wave of protests in May, June, and July, this Saturday on October 2, exactly one year ahead of Brazil's presidential elections on October 2, 2022, thousands of people in 160 cities in the country, including all 27 capitals of the regions, took to the streets to once again demonstrate his opposition to President Jair Bolsonaro and the policies of his government.

Paulista Avenue in São Paulo and Rio Branco Avenue in Rio de Janeiro were the centers of concentration for the largest groups of protesters. The main slogans of the demonstration were the defense of democracy, the removal of Bolsonaro, and sharp criticism of the government's failure to take specific steps to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, such as purchasing a sufficient number of vaccines. Many banners indicated the figure of 600,000, as the country was getting closer to achieving this number of deaths from the coronavirus (currently it's slightly over 600 000).

In their speeches accompanying the demonstrations, the protesters also pointed to a significant deterioration in economic conditions due to the advancing inflation, increasingly felt by rising unemployment or rising food, gas, and fuel prices.

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Bolivia extends detention of former president

A Bolivian court extends the pre-trial detention of former president Jeanine Áñez for another 5 months.

On Saturday, October 2, a court in Bolivia decided to extend the pre-trial detention of former interim president Jeanine Áñez for another five months. The decision also affects two former ministers of the Áñez government, Álvaro Coimbra and Rodrigo Guzmán, who remain detained at San Pedro Prison in La Paz and have been charged with the same crimes.

The situation was commented on by lawyer Marcelo Valdez, saying that the ex-president's case requires much more time and a thorough examination: "We are against this situation, we will appeal, we have 72 hours and we will do it in writing. We believe that the investigation is very complex and many people who have participated in it have not yet submitted a declaration. The resolution should indicate six months, not just five".

Áñez's daughter, Carolina Ribera, also took the floor, in turn condemning on social networks the detention of her mother, as Ribera described, "without any legal criteria or evidence".

Jeanine Áñez was detained on March 13 and charged with "terrorism, subversion and conspiracy" for an alleged 2019 coup against then-president Evo Morales. In early August, a judge ordered an extension of her preventive detention by six months. On August 21, Áñez made an attempt to take her own life. The government, however, persuaded her to provide adequate care.

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The Pandora Papers reveals info about the Latin American presidents

Three South American presidents and eleven former presidents were accused of tax evasion, tax havens, secret bank accounts, and money laundering.

Pandora Papers is a worldwide scandal in which information about the illegal activities of thousands of people, including 35 former and current presidents from around the world leaked. As many as 14 of them concern about South America.

The current presidents who have illegally enriched themselves include Guillermo Lasso, President of Ecuador, Luis Abinader, president of the Dominican Republic and (no surprise) Sebastián Piñera, President of Chile - one of the richest people in the country, a supporter of ultra-capitalist solutions, known for obstructing constitutional changes ordered by Chilean society in a recent referendum.

There are also 11 former presidents of the region. Among the best known are the Colombians César Gaviria and Andrés Pastrana and the Peruvian Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. The other former leaders mentioned in the papers were from Mexico, Honduras, Paraguay, and Panama.

In addition to the leaders, the documents mention over 100 active politicians and showbiz stars like Shakira.

Latin America remains one of the world’s most unequal regions. Tax evasion is one factor behind its countries' low levels of tax revenue collection when compared with their annual GDP.

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Toxic ashes detected in Colombia

Vapors from a volcano that erupted several days ago on the island of La Palma, on the Canary Islands, located off the north-west coast of Africa, traveled with the winds to Colombia.

The disturbing SO2 indicators were recorded today on 09/10/21. The dust moved over the ocean thanks to strong atmospheric currents at an altitude of 1,500 - 5,800 meters above sea level.


Brasil ends the program of free pads and tampons distribution for women in need

Bolsonaro vetoes the free distribution of pads and tampons to economically vulnerable women All articles that allowed the free availability of hygiene products, which is the main point of the program, were banned. The president's vetoes were published in the Official Gazette this Thursday. The bill was intended to benefit economically vulnerable students enrolled in public, homeless women or in situations of extreme social vulnerability, women detainees or prisoners, and inmates of socio-educational units.

In the reasons for the veto, the Federal Government alleges that the articles of the bill do not specify the source of financing or compensatory measure, which could violate the Fiscal Responsibility Law. According to calculations by the authors of the bill, the program aimed to benefit around 5.6 million women. The estimated fiscal impact would be 84.5 million Real per year.

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