Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)
This Week in Latin America

Mexico’s Confidence in Police Is Second Lowest in Latin America

October 30, 2020 By Staff

TODAY IN LATIN AMERICA

MEXICO: Mexicans’ confidence in police is the second lowest in all of Latin America, behind only Venezuela. According to a newly published Gallup survey, Mexican citizens have only slightly improved in their perception of security and the police since last year. This comes after President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s move to replace the federal police with the National Guard. Of all countries surveyed, Mexico is in the bottom ten countries that have low public trust of the police. The results were published on the same day the National Guard announced six agents have been arrested for murdering a woman at a protest in Chihuahua, and months after Giovanni López died as a result of a beating in police custody in Jalisco, sparking nationwide protests.

Headlines from the western hemisphere

SOUTHERN CONE

CHILE: An Australian judge ruled in favor of the extradition of Adriana Rivas to Chile on Thursday for alleged participation in the disappearances of political opponents during the regime of Gen. Augusto Pinochet in the 1970s. Rivas served as the secretary of Manuel Contreras, who was the chief of Pinochet’s secret police. The National Intelligence Directorate was responsible for the disappearances and persecution of political opponents. She is accused of participating in the kidnapping of seven people, including Víctor Díaz who was the leader of the Chile’s Communist Party at the time. Rivas was arrested in Australia in February 2019, and has denied the charges.

ARGENTINA: Over 4,000 officers forcefully removed protestors occupying the outskirts of Buenos Aires after 100 days of failed negotiations. More than 1,400 families were living on the contested land in Guernica just outside of Buenos Aires. Clashes broke out resulting in 25 people injured and 30 arrested. The government was negotiating with the protestors to peacefully leave the land, but began the police operation when a judge denied a delay on the eviction order.

ANDES

COLOMBIA: Indigenous leader and Senator Feliciano Valencia survived an assassination attempt on Thursday. Valencia was traveling in southern Colombia to the commemoration of an Indigenous leader massacred last year when armed men tried to stop his car. The senator’s security ignored the checkpoint of the armed group and was shot at multiple times. The incident occurred in Toribio, Cauca. Valencia was one of the many Indigenous leaders who promoted the Indigenous mobilization, or “minga,” against the national government last week due to constant killings and violence. 

PERU: Vice Minister of Health Luis Suárez Ognio confirmed the first case of Diphtheria on Wednesday in the country after nearly 20 years. The sickness is caused by the Corynebacterium Diphtheriae bacteria, which attacks the respiratory system and secretes a deadly toxin which gets into other organs. The case was detected in a five year old who didn’t finish her vaccination schedule. The disease is highly contagious with a 10% mortality rate, but is easily prevented with a vaccine.

VENEZUELA: President Nicolás Maduro announced on Wednesday that the Amuay Refinery on the Caribbean coast suffered a “terrorist attack” on Thursday. According to Maduro, the attack was carried out by a “powerful weapon” and managed to topple a large tower in the facility. Despite having one of the largest oil reserves in the world, Venezuela’s oil facilities have fallen into a state of disrepair due to years of harsh sanctions and mismanagement.

CARIBBEAN

PUERTO RICO: Laboratories in Puerto Rico can now conduct antigen and molecular diagnostic COVID-19 tests without a medical order, with results available in less than an hour, President of Clinical Laboratories Association Juan Rexach confirmed on Thursday. However, Rexach recommends citizens to communicate with their preferred laboratories since the availability of the tests in Puerto Rico is still low and added that antigen tests could cost $60. There are five types of COVID-19 tests available in Puerto Rico, with the molecular one being the most precise. 

HAITI/DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: President of Dominican Association of Exporters Elizabeth Mena expressed the sector’s concern over the new $800 exportation fee imposed by Haitian authorities, in addition to 27% taxes. Haiti is the second largest trading partner of the Dominican Republic and exported $536 million in goods this year between January and September. The new measure is a “severe blow” to the Dominican Republic’s competitiveness. Former representative of the Dominican Republic to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Luis Manuel Piantini said that a Haitian elite benefits from the taxes at the cost of the Haitian population and proposes the possibility of bringing the case to WTO. Mena called on official institutions such as the Ministry of Foreign Relations and ProDominicana to seek a solution to this measure.

CENTRAL AMERICA

COSTA RICA: Costa Rica announced this Wednesday it will offer tourists the opportunity to purchase carbon offsets, which will directly fund the National Fund for Financing Forestry, in an effort to promote ecotourism. The initiative is to increase financial resources and funds for the Payment of Environmental Services Program. Secretary of Environment and Energy Andrea Meza calls this initiative “a green motor for the sustainable economic recuperation of Costa Rica”. The National Fund for Financing Forestry, created in 1996, has helped Costa Rica reverse deforestation and build its reputation as an ecotourism destination. 

GUATEMALA: The United States Department of State designated Guatemalan First Secretary of Congress Felipe Alejos Lorenzana, Guatemalan former Deputy Delia Bac and their immediate family members as ineligible for entry into the U.S. due to corruption involvement, declared Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday. The published designation explains that Alejos “seriously [harmed] U.S. businesses’ international economic activity” while Bac used her political influence for personal gain. It adds that their corruption “undermined the rule of law and the Guatemalan public’s faith in their government and their country’s democratic institutions and public processes.” Bac’s daughter Eva Monte Bac is Deputy to the Central American Parliament.

NORTH AMERICA

MEXICO: Nearly 60 bodies were found buried in clandestine pits in the state of Guanajuato by Mexico’s National Search Commission. The organization said that more bodies could still be uncovered. Most of the bodies discovered were young men and between ten to fifteen young women. The army and national guard stood by to provide security as the excavation started one week ago, following a tip from family members of the disappeared. Guanajuato has the highest number of homicides in all of Mexico, recording 2,250 homicides between January and August of this year, which is more than a 25% increase from that same time period in 2019. The burial site is the largest found so far in the state.