News from Latin America

Bolivia 9-18-2020 interim president drops out of race

Interim President Jeanine Anez has quit the presidential election. Her campaign is being suspended. Anez offered a reason for her withdrawal from the race. She said that her decision would help preserve democracy. After consulting the opinion polls, she believed that her candidacy would split the moderate vote. Consequently, Evo Morales might be able to return to power. Luis Ance is leading in the polls. He could possibly win the election outright; consequently, a runoff would not be necessary. The polls show Ms. Anez trailing in 4th place. She was sworn in after former President Morales resigned from office after a disputed election. He is currently living in Argentina. According to Morales, he was forced by the military to leave office. He held the office for 14 years as a result of being elected three consecutive times.

Colombia 9-17-2020 bodies are piling up?

San Andres is a small island located off the coast of Colombia; the island sits in the Caribbean. According to official records, there are about 75,000 people living on the island. San Andres does not appear to have a severe problem with the coronavirus, though Colombia has the world’s six largest outbreak. It is not clear what percentage of the San Andres population is infected with the virus. Still, the governor claims that “bodies are pilling up.” Nine people have died due to Covid-19. The island’s only funeral directed has contracted Covid-19. She is currently receiving treated on the mainland. Her son, who acts as her assistant, has also contracted Covid-19. There is only a clerical staff member working in the funeral parlor. Governor Hawkins said his administration is buying refrigerated trucks to hold the bodies.  

Latin America 9-16-2020 opening to soon might allow the coronavirus to spread

Countries in South and Central America are, according to the WHO, are rushing to reopen their economies. The countries must relax their coronavirus restrictions to get the economies again moving. Quarantines and social distancing measures were enacted to keep the virus’ spread in check. WHO Regional Director Carissa Etienne warns against premature reopening. She notes that in parts of Mexico, Ecuador and Costa Rica deaths rates from Covid-19 are rising at alarming rates. The pandemic still requires major controlled intervention. She also points out that coronavirus cases in Colombia’s border areas with Venezuela has increased tenfold in just two weeks. She sees serious setbacks in the progress already made in fight back the spread of the virus.

Colombia 9-15-2020 ex FARC leaders admit wrongdoing.

In 2016 the government signed an unpopular peace deal with FARC. The agreement led to the disbanding of the rebel group in exchange for many concessions. During the 52 years of the conflict, the rebel group engaged in systemic kidnapping to advance its agenda. Eight former commanders of the group have issued a formal apology. They admit that the policy of kidnapping was wrong and caused pain to many. Some of those kidnapped were released after paying hefty ransoms. Others remained in captivity for years and were rescued by the military. Some simply died in captivity while others were executed. The apology does not respond to the families,who want to know what happened to their loved ones that never made it back home. It does not appear that the commanders are responding with specifics. The apology appears to have been offered in an attempt to receive leniency for their crimes. The Special Jurisdiction for Peace is tasked with investigating crimes committed by FARC during the conflict.  It is not clear if the commanders have already been charged with any crimes.

Panama 9-15-2020 Governor is detained in drug bust

Police say that they acted on an anonymous tip when they stopped a car. It is believed that the car was either approaching a check point. Law enforcement officials suspected that the occupants were transporting drugs. After pulling the vehicle over, the police detained and arrested two Panamanians. A search of the car revealed 79 packets of drugs, which were later displayed in front of the car. The packets had been concealed under the seats. Local news media reported that one of the men arrested was Ericke Martelo, the Governor of Guna Yala. President Cortizo reacted on twitter to the arrest of the governor. He has asked the Interior Minister to start proceedings to remove Martelo from office. The removal is inline with the Presidents zero tolerance for drug trafficking and corruption.