Mexico & Central America News and Discussions

caltrek
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U.S.-Backed Haitian Government Reportedly Requests American Intervention
But some Haitian civil society groups say this is the wrong approach. They argue there’s no way to hold free and fair elections in Haiti this year given the collapse of the country’s institutions. And they’d kindly like the US and the international community to stay out of it.

“The international community and the US should just let us figure out our problems and solutions,” Rosy Auguste Ducena, a lawyer and human rights defender with the Haiti-based National Network for the Defense of Human Rights, told me. “Some governments will be asking for elections in September, but today, the situation on the ground is more complex than that.”

Auguste Ducena and her colleagues are instead demanding that the country form a transitional government and chart a new course for the future of Haiti. They want to postpone elections — potentially for several years — to give the transitional government time to rebuild the country’s political institutions.

I called Auguste Ducena to find out more about what’s happening on the ground right now, why she thinks a transitional government is the right way to go, and what, if anything, she thinks the US and the international community should do to help bring stability to Haiti.

Our conversation, edited for length and clarity, (is included in the article linked below)
https://www.vox.com/22575993/haiti-civi ... government
caltrek
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“When There’s a Disaster, That’s When People Want to Know About Haiti”
by Nathalie Baptiste
July 15, 2021

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/20 ... -diaspora/

Introduction:
(Mother Jones) One week ago, like everyone else in the world, I awoke to the news that Jovenel Moise, the president of Haiti, had been assassinated in his home. Even though he was not a hugely popular leader and was facing increasing demands from his opponents to step down because, they argue, his five-year term should have ended earlier this year—not to mention the fact that violence between different political factions had been increasing—I was still surprised.

In the forty years my parents have lived in the US, they’ve watched their country (Haiti) go through a relentless series of cataclysms. Between 1988 and 2004, there were four coups. In 2008, four hurricanes and tropical storms hit the island, killing approximately 800 people. In January 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the island, killing hundreds of thousands of people and displacing millions more. That same year, the United Nations unintentionally introduced cholera in Haiti but then refused to take responsibility for years afterward. It was against this backdrop of the chaos of recent Haitian history that Moises was killed.

The first few days after the assassination, social media platforms like WhatsApp and YouTube were flooded with a torrent of misinformation. “Fake news is killing Haiti,” Dad declares. My mother weighs in, “Anyone can say anything on YouTube,” she says, “and it just spreads.” Mom says. (This does not surprise me.)

So what were the most outlandish rumors they’d heard so far? The recurring theme seemed to be that Moise was still alive, but there were lots of ways to get to that dubious conclusion. My dad’s nomination for the craziest conspiracy theory came from a Haitian pastor, in the US diaspora, who told his devoted congregation that Moise wasn’t assassinated at all. Instead, Satan had taken him as revenge for the rising violence across the country. “People really, really believe in their religion,” Dad says. “And when you have a charismatic pastor, you can do a lot of damage.” (Incidentally, a Florida-based Haitian pastor has been arrested in connection with the assassination. Authorities allege he helped recruit the gunmen who are accused of killing Moise.)
The author with her parents and brother in 1989
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Credit: Nathalie Baptiste
caltrek
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Martine Moïse, Wife of Slain President, Returns to Haiti
July 17, 2021

https://www.npr.org/2021/07/17/10173982 ... s-to-haiti

Introduction:
(AP via NPR) PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Martine Moïse, the wife of Haiti's assassinated president who was injured in the July 7 attack at their private home, returned to the Caribbean nation on Saturday following her release from a Miami hospital.

Her arrival was unannounced and surprised many in the country of more than 11 million people still reeling from the assassination of Jovenel Moïse in a raid authorities say involved Haitians, Haitian-Americans and former Colombian soldiers.

Martine Moïse disembarked the flight at the Port-au-Prince airport wearing a black dress, a black bulletproof jacket, a black face mask, and her right arm in a black sling as she slowly walked down the steps of what appeared to be a private plan one by one. She was greeted by Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph and other officials.

Earlier this week, she tweeted from the Miami hospital that she could not believe her husband, Jovenel Moïse, was gone "without saying a last word," she wrote. "This pain will never pass."

On Friday, government officials had announced that Jovenel Moïse's funeral would be held on July 23 in the northern Haitian city of Cap-Haitien and that his wife is expected to attend.
caltrek
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Haiti, Ask the Right Questions
by Amélie Baron
July 18, 2021

https://making-of.afp.com/amelie-baron (You may need to hit the "translate" button to read the English version.)

Introduction:
[(AFP) These days, my phone keeps ringing. "Why was Jovenel Moïse murdered?" my interlocutors ask me tirelessly, after the brutal death of the Haitian President, who was shot dead in his home on 7 July. Banish "why" from your vocabulary. This is precisely the advice that I gave for a time to foreigners who had just arrived in Haiti.

Inevitably, everyone immediately asked me why. After this quip, I explained to them that a "why" would lead to many other questions, that they would not have time to listen to and that the conversation would end inexorably on "Haiti, it's complicated".

Why such a lack of knowledge? Haiti is absent from our history books. Even at the Faculty of Nantes, although I took hours of lectures on the Napoleonic Wars, I never heard the names of Toussaint Louverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines, heroes of the war of independence against the French colonial power. It was only by choosing to devote my mastery to the crisis of the democratic transition in Haiti that I began to learn.

I then discovered that the paradisiacal beaches prized by the international jet set of the 1970s were no longer included in a tourist guide but that less than two hours by plane from Miami, mass tourism had conquered two-thirds east of the territory that gave birth to Haiti, the island of Quisqueya, better known as the Dominican Republic.

Because immediate history is not learned in books, I decided to go to Port-au-Prince in February 2005. My first trip alone. My first outing from the European continent. A crucial journey to try to grasp the reality of a daily life so far from mine. It is also essential to question the witnesses and actors of the political crisis of the time. The one that had just brought Haiti back to the front page of the newspapers: the ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from power.
/quote]

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AFP - Hector Retamal
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caltrek
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In Mexico, Travel to the Country Where Little Girls are Sold
by Jennifer Gonzalez
June 27, 2021

https://making-of.afp.com/au-mexique-vo ... -fillettes

Introduction:
(AFP) Metlatónoc - I have often traveled the geography of the Mexican state of Guerrero, a territory bordered by the Pacific where mountain peaks and valleys follow one another, land of poor farmers, mostly indigenous. This state is also one of the most violent in the country. I produced numerous reports on drug trafficking, the missing, the killings and even on a morgue. I had never before approached a practice which is still common there in certain villages: the sale and the purchase of young girls to be married, given up at their first period.

I had launched a first attempt, four years ago, by contacting several NGOs, social workers and researchers. They were willing to talk, but much more reserved about putting us in touch with the victims.

“It's very delicate. On the one hand because the victims could suffer reprisals within their communities if they speak out, but also because we would lose their confidence if things went wrong and suddenly, they would no longer be supported ”, by our NGO m 'explained one of my contacts after several conversations.

So we momentarily gave up on the subject, but I felt I had an obligation to broach it, as one more brick in Mexico's infamous poor record in terms of violence against women.

The opportunity

The opportunity arose a few weeks ago, when I learned that one of the NGOs dealing with these children, the human rights organization Tlachinollán, was very upset after an article in a daily newspaper. Mexican on this subject, without any testimony from victims. I contacted a local source again.
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AFP - Pedro PARDO
caltrek
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"There’s No Turning Back": A Cuban Dissident on What’s Really Happening in Cuba
Tania Bruguera
July 21, 2021

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/ ... era-500421

Introduction:
(Politico) On Tuesday, Cuban security forces surrounded the house of Tania Bruguera, an artist and noted dissident. They took her to Villa Marista, a Cuban state security prison known for its detention of political prisoners, where they interrogated her for trying to undermine the government in Havana.

After 11 hours, she was released with three charges against her, which accused her of plotting against the government through protests and performance — and an injunction to remain at home.

The arrest came amid an unprecedented wave of protests sweeping Cuba, in which thousands of people took to the streets in more than 40 cities — undeterred by police crackdowns and the government's shutdown of the internet — calling for freedom and an end to the 62-year-old dictatorship.

In Washington, the protests pose an unexpected challenge for President Joe Biden, who has gestured at liberalizing relations, but risks further losing Cuban voters in Florida if he's seen as anything but hard line on its communist government.

Bruguera, a renowned installation and performance artist, didn’t join the protests. She remained at home, where she has been largely confined the past eight months with near-constant police presence posted outside her apartment in Havana.
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Anti-government protesters march in Havana, Cuba, July 11, 2021.
| AP Photo/Eliana Aponte
weatheriscool
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Biden to announce sanctions on Cuban officials
Source: POLITICO
MIAMI — President Joe Biden on Thursday plans to slap targeted individual sanctions on Cuba regime officials, bucking the progressive voices in his own party who called for an end to the embargo.

Biden’s response to Cuba — which also includes measures to bring increased internet access to the island and calls for more international pressure on the totalitarian government — was outlined Wednesday night in a call with Democratic Cuban-American activists in Miami who had been calling for more action ever since the July 11 uprisings on the island.

But it’s the proposal to extend the targeted sanctions of the Magnitsky Act, originally passed in response to Russian government oppression and then extended to governments such as Venezuela, that has most encouraged activists who want more pressure on Cuba.


“This is huge,” said Sasha Tirador, a top Miami political operative who was briefed on the plans Wednesday night.
Read more: https://www.politico.com/news/2021/07/2 ... uba-500534
caltrek
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What’s Really Going on in Cuba
by Helen Yaffe
July 23, 2021

https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/07/23 ... n-in-cuba/

Introduction:
(Counterpunch) On Sunday 11 July, dozens of anti-government protests, apparently coordinated via social media, took place simultaneously throughout Cuba. In several places, including in San Antonio on the outskirts of Havana and in Matanzas, where Covid-19 cases have been surging, protests turned violent, with windows smashed, shops looted, cars overturned, rocks thrown and people assaulted.

The international media has exaggerated and manipulated these events to depict mass opposition to the Cuban government, police repression of peaceful protests and a regime in crisis. Meanwhile, the role of external forces, the existence of a concerted social media war on Cuba, the pernicious impact of US sanctions and the mobilisation of thousands of Cubans in support of the revolutionary government have been deliberately downplayed or ignored.

In most of the Americas, including in the US, such social disturbances are common, and often involve serious casualties and multiple arrests. In Cuba, however, the last violent protest was the Maleconazo uprising in 1994 – the worst year of the so-called ‘special period’ of economic crisis in which Cuba’s GDP fell by 35% after the collapse of the socialist bloc which accounted for nearly 90% of Cuba’s trade. Hoping to push the country over the edge, the US government enacted the Torricelli Act in 1992 and Helms Burton Act in 1996, tightening US sanctions and obstructing Cuba’s trade with the rest of the world. While scarce resources were harnessed to prioritise welfare, Cubans faced shortages in every sector: food, fuel, medicines, housing, industry, transport, and so on. Life was tough.

These conditions are returning to Cuba today as a direct result of US sanctions. Reversing Barack Obama’s tentative rapprochement, the Trump administration tightened the US blockade to unprecedented levels, adding 243 new actions, measures and sanctions to cut off Cuba’s trade with the world, fine ships carrying fuel to Cuba, scare away foreign investors, block remittances and family visits, and prevent Cuba’s access to the international financial system which is dominated by US dollars.

Over 50 of those coercive measures have been taken since the beginning of the pandemic…
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Cubans take part in a mass rally in defence of the Cuban Revolution and calling for an end to US sanctions, July 2021.
Photo: Helen Yaffe.
weatheriscool
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Shots fired, forcing Rep. Fortenberry, others to depart funeral for Haitian leader
Source: Omaha World Herald

By Paul Hammel

LINCOLN — U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry and a delegation of American officials were forced to abruptly exit a funeral service for assassinated Haitian President Jovenel Moïse on Friday after shots were fired nearby.

Fortenberry and a group that included United Nations Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield and U.S. Rep. Greg Meeks, D-N.Y., were hustled to an airplane and returned to the U.S. safely Friday afternoon, according to Andy Braner, Fortenberry's chief of staff.

In a video shot before the delegation boarded their plane, Fortenberry sounded shook up but expressed regret that the Americans had to leave the funeral service so hastily.

"Circumstances on the ground here are very tense. The situation is volatile. There's a lot of anger," he said.

Read more: https://omaha.com/news/local/govt-and-p ... op-story-1
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