News from Latin America

El Salvador 11-24-2022 protected lake is full of pollution

The Cerran Grande Reservoir is the country’s largest freshwater lake. This previously pristine body of water was a vast ecosystem for plants and animals. The local indigenous group refers to the lake as a “place of flowers.” The only thing growing in the lake are mounds of plastic and other toxic pollutants. On paper, the site is legally protected. From the air, the extent of the pollution is clearly visible. The lake is one of Central America’s most polluted bodies of fresh water. The Lempa Rivera transports tons of pollutants from Guatemala and Honduras into the reservoir in El Salvador. Also, the country’s capital contributes raw sewage to the cocktail of pollutants in the lake. It is unclear why the government has not taken steps to clean up the lake. El Salvador must enter talks with the offending countries to control pollution from their ends.

Brazil 11-23-2022 Bolsonaro challenges election results

The Presidential election has come and gone. The runoff between Jair Bolsonaro and Luiz Lula took place on October 3, 2022. Lula who was President before Bolsonaro was elected to serve another term. He won an extremely close election by 50.9 % to 49.1 %. The election results have been confirmed by the country’s Superior Electoral Court. Consequently, political scientists and legal experts doubt the success of a challenge to the results. Bolsonaro has filed a petition attacking the integrity of 280,000 voting machines. It is not clear if he is claiming that the machines somehow illegally altered or influenced the election results. Importantly, though he has not conceded the election, he has given the go-ahead for an orderly transition.

Colombia 11-21-2022 restarts peace negotiations with ELN

The left-wing ELN now has about 2,500 active members. The group did not participate in the previous peace process. Those negotiations with FARC ended decades of civil strife. Talks between the government and ELN negotiators are taking place in Caracas Venezuela. It must not be forgotten that President Petro is a former guerilla leader. Unfortunately, though talks are proceeding, there has been no cease-fire put in place. In 2019 talks were halted when ELN rebels attacked a police academy. More than 20 cadets lost their lives. The bombing caused the government to pull out of negotiations. Venezuela, Cuba, and Norway are sponsoring the negotiations. It is not clear what issues are currently being discussed. There has been much discussion over possible concessions the government might make.

Mexico 11-20-2022 detains thousands of foreign migrants

Over the last four days, Mexican authorities have detained more than 16, 000 migrants. The National Institute of Migrants announced these figures. Those being detained represent more than 46 nationalities. Most of the detainees are from Venezuela and Central America. They were moving across Mexico in the hopes of arriving at the U.S. Border. More of the migrants are spending more time in Mexico, which is creating a humanitarian crisis. President Biden is suffering a record low approval rating primarily due to the migration fiasco. The U.S. President cannot use Title 42 to return the illegal migrants because a judge has ruled the law illegal. The migration flow has become a crisis for both countries. Apparently, Mexico has stepped up enforcement at centers across the country. It is clear that the traveling migrants are not going to give up and return home.