With an early start to 2019-A dozen Latin American governments and Canada have delivered a blistering rebuke to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, questioning the legitimacy of his soon-to-begin second term and urging him to hand over power as the only path to restoring democracy in his crisis-wracked South American country. In Peru, a bloc of 14 western hemisphere countries known as the Lima Group all but agreed with that assessment. And all but one of its members said they won’t recognize the legitimacy of Maduro’s new presidency. They instead called on Maduro not to take the oath of office next Thursday. The Lima Group members who signed the statement included major Latin American countries like Brazil, Argentina and Colombia, as well as Canada.
Spite the fact that only 8% of the world population presides in Latin America and the Caribbean; Mexico's Citizens' Council for Public Security's annual ranking of the world's most violent cities; 50 cities on the list, 42 are in Latin America, including 17 in Brazil, 12 in Mexico, and five in Venezuela. Colombia had three, Honduras had two, and El Salvador, Guatemala, and Jamaica all had one.
Just five decades ago, in 1970, Latin America was 92 per cent Catholic. Mexicans, Argentines and Brazilians, for example, were born into the Church and lived out their lives as Catholics, although most of them were not regular churchgoers. However, after a half-century of precipitous decline, Latin America, home to 39 per cent of the world’s 1.3 billion faithful, will no longer be majority Catholic by 2030. A new survey by the respected Chilean polling firm Latino barómetro finds Latin America now to be only 59 per cent Catholic, down from 80 per cent in 1995
“Tropical Trump” Jair Bolsonaro, has won Brazil’s runoff election with a 55 per cent majority. He gained media headlines in September when he was stabbed, lost 40% of his blood, and after recovering went on to win the election. His win is a voter rejection of the leftist administrations that have governed Brazil for most of the last 15 years. Latin America's largest economy has been stuck in recession since 2014. The political establishment has been rocked by a high-level corruption scandal, and crime and murder rates have spiked. Jair Bolsonaro is now the President of a country of 200 million people the size of the USA with a $2.0 trillion dollar economy (8th largest economy in the world).
But Bolsonaro’s meteoric rise to power is also explained thanks to the support of Brazilian Evangelicals, who make up, according to some surveys, 26 to 27% of Brazilians, a figure that has shot up in the past two decades. Brazil soon will no longer hold the position as the country with the largest number of Catholics in the world. For years the numbers of people who have declared themselves Roman Catholic are in grave decline, and the last survey by Datafolha Institute indicates a loss of about 9 million faithful since 2014 to 2017.
Colombia thus becomes NATO’s first global partner in Latin America. Those in other regions include Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, New Zealand, Japan, Mongolia, and South Korea. But planning for Colombia’s association with NATO apparently preceded that for the seven other nations. As a global partner, Colombia isn’t bound by Article 5 of NATO’s founding treaty of 1949 which declares that an attack on one member state is an attack on all of them, something applying to the 29 fully-fledged members.The job description of a global partner, according to the NATO website, is to “develop cooperation with NATO in areas of mutual interest, including emerging security challenges, and some [partners] contribute actively to NATO operations either militarily or in some other way.” Thus an “intimate bond between the country and the structure of NATO” involves “close collaboration in most military areas.”Colombia boasts two qualifications for associating with NATO. One, it’s a regional military power. Representative numbers tell that story: Colombia’s military force includes 550,550 troops (369,100 active duty), 273 helicopters, 1,345 armed fighting vehicles, and $8.976 billion in budgeted military spending for 2017. Only Brazil, at $25.75 billion, exceeds Colombia in this regard in Latin America. The Colombian government spends 13.1 percent of its total outlay on military spending, which accounts for 3.4 percent of Colombia’s GDP, the highest such rate in South America, says a source citing a percentage of 3.1.
Columbia also gained a spot light as Venezuela Opposition leader Julio Borges said “There’s no democratic way out of this crisis,” said Julio Borges, an opposition politician now living in Colombia. “The army have a new enemy and it is Nicolás Maduro – they know he is taking the country down the worst path.” The secretary-general of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, said that a "military intervention" to "overthrow" Nicolas Maduro's government cannot be ruled out. Almagro made the remark while visiting the Colombian city of Cucuta, a border city that has borne the brunt of the Venezuelan refugee crisis. "With regards to a military intervention aimed at overthrowing the regime of Nicolas Maduro, I think we should not exclude any option," the chief of the Washington-based OAS said, adding that Caracas was committing "crimes against humanity" on its people. The general focus on because Venezuela has been devastated by a deep economic crisis, which the US says has triggered the departure of 2.3 million people since 2014. According to Colombia's government, almost a million of those Venezuelans are currently living in the country.
In August 2017, reports surfaced that American and Canadian diplomatic personnel in Cuba had suffered a variety of health problems, dating back to late 2016, and accusations were made that these were a result of an attack by someone using unspecified technology, possibly sonic in nature. The media has taken to calling these reported incidents "Havana Syndrome". In August 2017, reports began surfacing that American and Canadian diplomatic personnel in Cuba had experienced unusual, unexplained health problems dating back to late 2016. The number claiming symptoms was 26 as of June 2018. The health problems typically had a sudden onset: the victim would suddenly begin hearing strange grating noises that they perceived as coming from a specific direction. Some of them experienced it as a pressure or a vibration; or as a sensation comparable to driving a car with the window partly rolled down. The duration of these attacks ranged from 20 seconds to 30 minutes, and always happened while the diplomats were either at home or in hotel rooms.
Mexico’s government has called on the military to fight the growing problem of gasoline theft at national oil company Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) by organized criminals, president Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Thursday. Gasoline theft is driven by Mexico’s drug cartels were moving into the gasoline industry — infiltrating the national oil company, selling stolen fuel on the black market and engaging in open war with the military. The scourge of “huachicoleo,” a colloquial term for fuel theft, caused a loss of approximately 60 billion pesos ($3.05 billion) for Pemex last year, López Obrador said at his morning press conference, a figure he said will likely be surpassed this year. “What’s been stolen this year could finance 40% of a refinery,” said López Obrador, whose government plans to build a refinery in Tabasco state at an estimated cost of $8 billion. “In other words, three years of fuel theft is equivalent to a new refinery.” At least nine states are now affected by gasoline shortages, a situation which President López Obrador says is the result of the government’s new strategy to combat petroleum theft. Shortages of varying severity have been reported in Michoacán, Querétaro, México state, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Puebla, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas and Hidalgo.
While the president and officials initially said they were not ready to provide a number of homicides for December because a new mechanism to count the number was still being worked on, reporters were told there were more than 1,700 homicides in December. According to a November report by ADN Politico, citing official figures it attributed to the Interior Ministry, as of October there were 24,022 homicides in Mexico in the first 10 months of the year, 3,406 more than in the previous year. Over the course of this year 540 people have been killed in Cancun. This year the murder total for Cancun in 2018 has increased by 313 deaths compared to last year's toll of 227, earning it a reputation for violence rather than its non-stop party scene or stunning views. Ciudad Juárez registered 1,247 homicides in 2018 amid a raging cartel turf war, this is almost twice as many as 2017.
In the nine months leading up to this weekend's presidential election, 132 politicians have been killed. That's according to Etellekt, a risk analysis and crisis management firm. The group's report, released Tuesday, found that 22 of Mexico's 31 states have seen a political assassination since campaigning began in September. in the southwestern state of Guerrero alone, nearly 200 people decided to give up their candidacies because of the violence. Others in Mexico have come to the same decision because of pressure from organised crime groups. The extent of the violence and intimidation is such that in some municipalities in Guerrero, Oaxaca, Michoacan and Puebla – all states in the south of the country – have decided to dissuade their candidates from running. In addition to the killings, more than 400 other cases of aggression against politicians and political operatives have been reported this season, including assassination attempts, threats, intimidation and kidnappings, according to Etellekt
The 2018 Nicaraguan protests began on 18 April 2018 when demonstrators in several cities of Nicaragua began protests against the social security reforms decreed by President Daniel Ortega that increased taxes and decreased benefits. After five days of unrest in which nearly thirty people were killed. It is estimated ongoing protests have led to the 500+ deaths, 2,800+ injuries , and 350+ arrests. Upwards of 60,000 citizens have fled the country. Some are relieved to have escaped persecution. Others wait and organize, looking for the opportunity to return home and continue their anti-government protests. Furthermore,
Venezuela's economy has collapsed. This is the result of years of socialism, incompetence, and corruption, among other things. An important element that mirrors the economy's collapse is Venezuela's currency, the bolivar. It is not trustworthy. Venezuela's exchange rate regime provides no discipline. It only produces instability, poverty, and the world’s highest inflation rate for 2018. Indeed, Venezuela’s annual inflation rate at the end of 2018 was 80,000%. It was reported in Buisness Insider,
Venezuela inflation hit an annual rate of 830,000% this year to October, according to new data released this week to the country's parliament. Various reports suggest inflation rates from 80,000% to 1,000,000%.
Venezuelans who have fled the country already surpass the 3 million mark, with over one million in Colombia. Colombian authorities have stated that they expect the amount of Venezuelans in the country to double over the next 12 months. Venezuela appears to be tragically stuck in a perverse modern-day “Malthusian trap”, where lack of access to food is an important determinant of the emigration rate. The current conditions are so bad that even if the government were to put all of its net income from oil—Venezuela’s main and almost only export, which is publicly owned—to feed the poorest of the poor, there would still be a substantial portion of the population whose basic caloric needs wouldn’t be covered.