News from Latin America

Venezuela 5-24-2016 President Maduro plans to change the constitution

While the country slides deeper into chaos, President Maduro continues to hold orchestrated rallies to announce his decisions and actions. At one such rally, he announced his decree to convene a constitutional assembly to rewrite the constitution. He said that the body to consider the terms of the new constitution would be made up a cross-section of the community. Also, the President has not indicated what changes he believes are necessary to quell the growing discontent of the people. Opposition leaders and members of the National Assembly believe that President Maduro is more interested in consolidating his power than listening to the complaints of the people. Since April 1 more than 50 civilians have been killed in the daily street protests. It is believed by most knowledgeable pundits on Venezuelan affairs that President Maduro will modify the constitution to allow for suppression of opposition.

Haiti 5-23-2017 citizens receive a reprieve of 6 months

In 2010, a power earthquake struck the island of Haiti. The devastating was incredible. International aid poured into the country. Many countries sent expert personnel to the country to aid in helping the Haitians cope with the disaster. Unfortunately, due to corruption and political infighting, the reconstruction of the country’s infrastructure has fallen behind anticipated pace. As a humanitarian gesture, the US granted Haitians who were illegally in the country at the time of the quake TPS (status) so that they could remain in the United States. The large communities of Haitians have been worried that their TPS might not be extended. They are probably right, thought the Trump Administration has extended it an additional six months. Regardless, DHS officials are privately saying that the Haitians should be getting their affairs in order to return to their country of origin. US officials have begun investigating those Haitians who have criminal records or have been receiving benefits. No new petitions for TPS status will be received during the extension.

Mexico 5-10-2017 second most dangerous place to live

The news media regularly report the deaths and atrocities that occur in Syria. The alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians received extensive press coverage for weeks. In 2016, more than 50,000 people lost their lives in the Syrian conflict that has lasted for years. Other countries in the area also recorded high lives of deaths. What most people do not know is that Mexico record about 26,000 civilian deaths. Most experts and government officials attribute these deaths to the ongoing drug wars and related conflicts. These deaths are not caused using military grade weapons. There are no helicopters, tanks, or airplanes in use by the drug gangs. Most of Mexico’s killings is attributed to small arms. The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), which issued its annual survey of armed conflict. Mexican officials were quick to attack the report. They claim that the comparisons between Mexico’s killings and those that take place in Middle Eastern countries are appropriate.

Brazil 5-21-2017 President wants probe suspended

Now its President Temer’s turn to face the icy allegations of official corruption. He is being accused of corruption and obstruction of justice. In an investigation conducted by a news concern, the President is heard on an audio recording approving the payment of hush money. Apparently, he was happy to learn that payments were to be made to former speaker of the House, Eduardo Cunha, not to implicate him. President Temer remains defiant in denying any wrongdoing. Over the last few days, he has fended off requests that he resign the presidency. The tapes would seem like conclusive evidence of some form of wrongdoing. At the minimum, the tape’s suggestion is a cloud over his presidency. His popularity was never high among the ordinary citizens. He had replaced former President Rousseff who had been impeached for her involvement in corruption. Her removal from office fractured the country’s political cohesion. She accused Temer of being behind her removal from office. There does not seem to be any end in the corruption scandals that are paralyzing the country.