BRAZIL: On Friday, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro named a new education minister, the second in less than two weeks. Milton Ribeiro, a Presbyterian preacher and former deputy dean of Mackenzie University in São Paulo, will replace Carlos Decotelli, who only held the post for five days after reports surfaced that he had lied about his resume. Ribeiro’s selection is a win for Evangelical groups in Brazil who support Bolsonaro and want to increase the influence of Christianity in schools.
If confirmed, Ribeiro will be the fourth education minister since Bolsonaro took office last year. In June, former Minister of Education Abraham Weintraub abruptly resigned and flew to Miami. Weintraub was allegedly involved in disinformation campaigns that the Supreme Court was investigating before his departure.
HEADLINES FROM THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE
BRAZIL: Brazilian scientists have discovered a fossil of a new dinosaur species in the Araripe Basin in the state of Ceará. The dinosaur roamed the Earth 115 million years ago and died at a young age, the scientists said last week when they presented their research. Called “Aratasaurus museunacionali,” the fossil may have have been part of a line of dinosaurs even older than the line that produced the Tyrannosaurus rex.
COLOMBIA: The mayors of Bogotá and Medellín, Colombia’s two largest cities, announced the resumption of partial lockdowns over the weekend as coronavirus cases continue to increase. Just last week, President Iván Duque had announced he would continue to relax lockdown measures as he tries to restart the economy. The Ministry of Health said yesterday that Colombia has surpassed 150,000 confirmed cases, exceeding the number of cases in Argentina, Canada and Qatar.
VENEZUELA: Oil minister and former Vice President Tareck El Aissami said Friday that he has tested positive for COVID-19. He is one of several prominent Venezuelan politicians to contract COVID-19. Diosdado Cabello, the leader of Maduro’s socialist political party, and Zulia state Gov. Omar Prieto have also tested positive. More than 40 leaders in Latin America have contracted the virus as cases surge in the region.
GUYANA: The Organization of American States insisted again on Friday that the government of President David Granger accept the results of the presidential election recount, which favored opposition candidate Irfaan Ali. The OAS statement was issued in response to a new report from Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield, who has maintained that Granger won the March 2 election. Without naming Lowenfield, the OAS accused him of “hindering the natural unfolding of the democratic process in Guyana.”
HAITI: Justice Minister Lucmane Délile was fired last week after he spoke out against a demonstration attended by armed gang members. President Jovenel Moïse named Rockefeller Vincent as the new minister. Délile’s firing may have implications for the case of death squad leader Emmanuel “Toto” Constant, whom the Trump administration recently deported back to Haiti. Constant was detained in Haiti, but he could be freed, as the government prosecutor claims he does not have the necessary information about Constant’s alleged crimes to keep him imprisoned.
REGION: The San Salvador-based International Regional Health Organization issued an alert on Saturday about a possible plague of locusts in Central America. Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua face the biggest risk due to recent flooding. The organization called on agriculture ministries to monitor potential outbreaks closely and respond immediately. The locusts are known to damage crops of corn, beans, sorghum, soybeans, peanuts, sugar cane and more.
MEXICO: Former Chihuahua Governor César Duarte could face additional money laundering charges when he is extradited to Mexico. Duarte was arrested in Miami last week on corruption charges. He fled Mexico three years ago after he was accused of embezzling public funds. Earlier this year, Mexico’s National Intelligence Unit filed complaints against Duarte, alleging his involvement in diverting $96.6 million in public funds to bank accounts linked to him.
UNITED STATES: President Donald Trump floated the idea of “selling” Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017, according to Elaine Duke, former secretary of Homeland Security. Duke told the New York Times that the idea was never seriously considered, but that Trump asked whether the government could “divest of that asset.” She also said she clashed with Mick Mulvaney, former director of the Office of Management and Budget, over whether to declare an emergency before the hurricane hit the island. She recalled that Mulvaney told her, “It’s not about the people, it’s about the money.”