MEXICO: Officials found unmarked graves filled with 113 bodies in the state of Jalisco. The State Attorney General’s office stated that this is the largest gravesite ever found in the area, and that officials are attempting to identify the remains. So far, 30 bodies have been identified, 28 of them being men and two being women. Jalisco is home to the New Generation Cartel, a powerful group that has been linked to other gravesites found in the area in the past. According to Mexican officials, nearly 900 bodies have been recovered from secret graves in Jalisco alone since 2006. More than 600 of those bodies were found during President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s administration, which began in 2018.
Disappearances in Mexico have become increasingly common in the past decade. More than 75,000 people have disappeared throughout the country since 2006, with the number of disappeared going up higher and higher every year. Last year’s number was the highest on record, with more than 8,300 people reported missing. A new database was introduced in late 2019 to address the crisis which allows family members to directly report new cases of missing people, even if they have not yet reported to the police.
HEADLINES FROM THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE
CHILE: Protestors took to the streets on Monday after the government of President Sebastián Piñera announced that it planned to block a second pension withdrawal project. The project would allow citizens to withdraw from pensions to help alleviate the economic blow of the COVID-19 pandemic. The government has argued that it views the mechanism to withdraw the money as unconstitutional and will move to have the project stuck down on those grounds. Groups of protestors were met with heavy police presence outside of Congress, with officers prepped with gas, water hoses and horses. No arrests have been reported yet.
COLOMBIA: The fatal victims of a weekend massacre in the department of Antioquia rose to 10 after three wounded succumbed to their wounds on Monday. Members of the Clan del Golfo paramilitary group stormed a coffee farm on Sunday and killed seven workers. The three additional victims died after being transferred to Medellin for treatment. The government put a bounty on the alias “Rubén,” the regional Clan del Golfo commander, for his alleged role in the massacre.
BOLIVIA: An interdisciplinary team of experts from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights began its investigation of the 2019 political unrest on Monday. The team is composed of members from England, Colombia, Argentina and Brazil. The Commission laid out its methodology to investigate the violations of human rights during the turmoil preceding and following a coup d’etat against the 14 year presidency of Evo Morales. The social unrest yielded over 30 deaths and hundreds of injured between September and December 2019.
PUERTO RICO: The State Elections Commissions will resume counting ballots from the island’s general elections this Tuesday after Puerto Rico’s Supreme Court ordered the work to continue. The court’s decision stems from a suit brought forth by the Citizen Victory Movement party to obtain the lists of all absentee and early voters. The court ordered the lists to be provided to electoral officials as the boxes of ballots are opened. A week after the U.S. territory’s November 3 general elections, almost 200 boxes with uncounted ballots surfaced, casting doubts on preliminary results.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: President Luis Abinder on Monday asked the Chamber of Deputies to extend the state of emergency set to expire on December 1. Abinader has emphasized the necessity to continue social distancing measures and curfews to contain the spread of the coronavirus, and said he did not want a surge of cases in the country. The Dominican Republic has been under a state of emergency since March. Dominican authorities have reported over 138,800 COVID-19 cases and 2,311 coronavirus-related deaths as of Monday.
GUATEMALA: Guatemala suspended the ratification process of the 2021 budget after its approval by the legislature sparked a wave of protests over the weekend. The president of Guatemala’s Congress, Allan Rodríguez, on Monday said the budget will not be sent to the president of the country for his signature. Surrounded by lawmakers, Rodríguez said in a prerecorded message that the process was halted “to maintain the governability of the country.” The budget included cuts to health and education, and an increase in public debt. On Saturday, demonstrators set fire to Guatemala’s Congress building over the budget.
MEXICO: The Ministry of Public Function sanctioned nine contracting companies in the health sector this past month for failing to deliver COVID-19 supplies to multiple locations in need. The sanctions total to more than 18 million pesos (USD $896,000) and disqualifies the companies from signing contracts with the government for three years. According to The Ministry of Public Administration, the companies’ failure to provide the supplies has obstructed the work of health care personnel and beneficiaries.
UNITED STATES: President-elect Joe Biden is set to nominate Alejandro Mayorkas as the Secretary of Homeland Security, making him the first Latino and immigrant to ever be in the role. Mayorkas is originally from Cuba and worked in the Department of Homeland Security under President Barack Obama’s administration. Between 2008 and 2013, Mayorkas helped develop the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which President Donald Trump has attempted to end since 2017. Mayorkas considers himself a “centrist” according to the Associated Press, and if his nomination goes through, will reportedly attempt to handle the humanitarian crisis at the border while also ensuring border security stays intact.