Around Latin America

-Although Brazil arrested 8 police officers connected to the murder of a judge who had been cracking down on extrajudicial violence in the police force, the potential for justice is questionable at best. According to this report, a colonel in the military police visited a lieutenant detained for his connections to the murder, promising that “everything will pass” and providing yet another unfortunate reminder that the police forces in Brazil too regularly kill civilians and remain unpunished for their acts. The colonel’s promise seems to be yet another case of the police protecting their own rather than seeking justice for extrajudicial murders.

-Brazil is also making news in the international community, as Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff  made her first official trip to Europe as Brazil’s President this week. She is in Belgium, where she is working on Brazilian-EU economic relations. At the same time, she is also meeting with FIFA to discuss Brazil’s preparations to host the 2014 World Cup.

-This is an old story, but it flew under the radar back in July, when the Nicaraguan Supreme Court reduced the rape to a “crime of passion.” By reducing the crime to a “crime of passion,” the court made punishment for rape much less severe. More importantly and tragically, there is no national court where an appeal can take place. Worst of all, the court’s ruling cited the presence of so-called “‘ permissive cooperation” by the victim, because she had had a few beers with him.” Suffice to say, this is the worst kind of victim-blaming possible, and it just marks a terrible and appalling precedent for women’s rights in Nicaragua.

-Also in Central America, Panama is preparing for Manuel Noriega’s return to his home-country. While Panamanians have overlooked and “forgotten” the impact of his government in their country, his return is forcing many to reconsider and re-examine a past that they had preferred to forget.

-In Bolivia, indigenous peoples are set to continue protesting and marching against the creation of a highway through the Amazonian lowlands of their country. The road is a major piece of Evo Morales’ efforts for development and autonomy (although it is sponsored by Brazil). Violent confrontation between indigenous protesters and the police brought the protests to a temporary halt in late September, and have highlighted the increasing tensions between some indigenous groups in Bolivia and Morales, who rose to power as Bolivia’s first indigenous president with the support of native peoples from throughout the country.

-Bolivia is not the only country contending with state-indigenous conflict. In Chile, Mapuches continue to protest their unequal treatment in Chile. The Chilean government has overlooked Mapuche interests and ignored Mapuches’ rights in Chile for generations, but tensions have become particularly heightened after the leftist government of Michele Bachelet continued to use a Pinochet-era terrorism law to prosecute Mapuche protestors. This weekend, three police officers were injured in a confrontation with Mapuche activists. While this is really Scott’s area of expertise, I would simply note that many, many more Mapuches have been injured at the hands of the police in these confrontations with less media fanfare; nonetheless, this particular story, while failing to go into the complexities of the struggles, demonstrates that Chile’s indigenous peoples have not weakened in their demands or protests in spite of government efforts to stop the movement.

-Finally, over a million Argentine faithful made the annual pilgrimage to pay homage to Nuestra Senora de Lujan, the Argentine patron saint, this week.

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About Colin M. Snider

I have a Ph.D. in history, specializing in Latin American History and Comparative Indigenous History. My dissertation focused on Brazil. Beyond Latin America generally, I'm particularly interested in class identities, military politics, human rights, labor, education, music, and nation. I can be found on Twitter at @ColinMSnider.
This entry was posted in 2014 World Cup, Argentina, Around Latin America, Bolivia, Brazil, Catholicism in the Americas, Chile, Futebol (Soccer), Human Rights Issues, Impunity, Indigenous Peoples, International Relations, Latin America, Mexico, Military Dictatorships, Nicaragua, Paramilitary Groups, Women's Rights. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Around Latin America

  1. crago728 says:

    Thank you for bringing in the Mapuche part of the story. Research has kept me away from commenting on this. There are some great articles out there on the contradiction in policy regarding ethno-national rights and neoliberal expansion. I will provide links here soon

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