Satellite image of a tropical storm forming in the Gulf of Mexico in September, with smoke from California wildfires visible as well. Photo courtesy of GOES images via Flickr.
This Week in Latin America

Tropical Storm Delta Heading Towards Mexico and the Caribbean

October 6, 2020 By Staff

TODAY IN LATIN AMERICA

REGION: Tropical Storm Delta is expected to become a major hurricane on Wednesday, with the potential to affect Mexico and Caribbean nations, according to the National Hurricane Center. Delta is forecast to leave heavy rainfall in portions of the Cayman Islands, western Cuba and Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. 

Mexico is still recuperating from Tropical Storm Gamma which left at least 6 dead and displaced more than half a million people. Tabasco state was hit the hardest, with more than 3,400 people evacuated to shelters. The country is now preparing for Delta, which formed near Jamaica on Monday morning and is intensifying faster than anticipated. 

Delta is the earliest 25th named storm to form in the Atlantic, beating the record from November 15, 2005. It is forecast to continue intensifying as its center of the storm passes Southwest of the Cayman Islands early Tuesday. Delta is expected to hit the northern Gulf Coast late this week as a hurricane.

Headlines from the western hemisphere

SOUTHERN CONE

BRAZIL: A three week military medical mission to Amazonian Indigenous tribes concluded on Monday. The medical mission prioritized the Guajajara Indigenous communities in the Maranhão state. According to the Defense Ministry, the military did 37,000 checkups and flew in 39 tons of supplies. The medical mission came after criticism that the government of Jair Bolsonaro was not doing enough to help remote Indigenous communities. The Indigenous health service (SESAI) has reported 447 coronavirus deaths.

ANDES

COLOMBIA: The Supreme Court declared on Monday that the legal process of former president and senator Álvaro Uribe Vélez would be decided by a penal judge. Uribe has been under house arrest since August for his alleged involvement in witness tampering. According to the Supreme Court, Uribe’s lawyers pressured witnesses to change their testimonies that linked Uribe to the formation of paramilitary groups. Uribe resigned his senate seat in August so that the Supreme Court would not be the judicial body to investigate his case. By renouncing his senate seat, this process was transferred to the ordinary penal justice system. 

BOLIVIA: The constitutional court denied a legal action on Monday by Senator Carmen Eva Gonzáles that requested the removal of the Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) party’s legal status. The court ruled that the legal action had no basis to strip the legality of the party of ousted former president, Evo Morales. MAS supporters took to the streets of La Paz in celebration of the ruling that will allow their continued participation in the Oct. 18 election.

VENEZUELA: Over $1 billion in gold were left in limbo in a London Bank after a British court on Monday overruled a July-court decision that recognized Juan Guaidó as the legitimate interim president of Venezuela. A British Court of Appeals overturned the July decision after the Central Bank of Venezuela appealed the decision. The Bank of England currently refuses to release the money to neither Guaidó nor Nicolás Maduro. According to the Maduro regime, the gold will be withdrawn to pay for the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

CARIBBEAN

CUBA: Cuba is making progress in developing the COVID-19 vaccines Soberana 1 and Soberana 2, according to its official state news agency. President Miguel Díaz-Canel visited the Finlay Institute of Vaccines last Friday and later assured on his web page that Soberana 1 had demonstrated great safety so far. The vaccines are currently in the second stage of human trials. The institute hopes to distribute the vaccines in February 2021. According to the Cuban scientist who tested on 40 volunteers, Soberana 1 showed minimal adverse effects during the first phase of clinical trials. If approved by medical authorities, the clinical trials for Soberana 2 will begin in October. 

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Government officials announced Monday that they intend to finalize all contractual relationships with the Brazilian construction conglomerate Odebrecht. The Legal Consultant of the Executive Power Antoliano Peralta said that he had instructed the Ministry of Public Works to revise different aspects of contracting between the state and the contractor. He also pointed out that the government should reaffirm its “commitment with transparency” in regards to public contracting and the management of public resources. Odebrecht bribed Dominican Republic officials with a total of  $92 million between 2001 to 2014. 

NORTH AMERICA

UNITED STATES: Former son-in-law of Raúl Castro and head of the conglomerate of military companies GAESA, Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Calleja, has been sanctioned by the United States. Rodríguez López-Calleja has been placed on a specially designated nationals and blocked persons list. Rodríguez López-Calleja’s sanction, Mike Pompeo said, is an effort to end economic practices that “disproportionately benefit the Cuban government” at the “expense of the Cuban and Venezuelan people.” All of his assets in the U.S. will be frozen and under the control of U.S. functionaries, and all U.S. companies are banned from doing business with him. 

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