VENEZUELA: Representatives of the Venezuelan opposition and government have started talks to resolve the crisis facing the country. On Friday, the two sides met in Mexico City and signed an agreement to begin negotiations, which will be mediated by Norway. The government is represented by close allies of President Nicolás Maduro, while the other side is represented by leaders from four opposition parties. The talks ran into trouble when the government said they will not negotiate with opposition representatives who hold positions in the government-in-exile of self-declared acting President Juan Guaidó. One opposition envoy, Tomás Guanipa, resigned as Guaidó’s ambassador to Colombia to participate in the talks, but another, Carlos Vecchio, continues to hold a position as Guaidó’s ambassador to the United States. Meanwhile, Venezuela released opposition leader Freddy Guevara from jail on Sunday. Guevara was arrested on July 12 for treason and terrorism.
BRAZIL: The singer and former Deputy Flordelis dos Santos de Souza was arrested for involvement in the 2019 killing of her husband, the evangelical pastor Anderson do Carmo on Friday. Earlier in the week, Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies voted to expel dos Santos, stripping her of the parliamentary immunity that had previously shielded her from arrest, even though she had been charged with the murder a year ago.
Flordelis’ husband do Carmo was shot 30 times in the garage of the home where the couple lived in June of 2019. According to prosecutors, Flordelis was the mastermind of a conspiracy to kill do Carmo that also involved several of her children.
CHILE: Workers at the Escondida copper mine in northern Chile have reached an agreement to avoid a strike with BHP Billiton, the Australian company that owns the mine. On Friday, the around 2,000 members of the union that represents the workers voted to accept the company’s proposal, which includes a bonus for each worker of around US $23,000. Escondida is the world’s largest copper mine and accounts for 10% of Chile’s GDP.
Meanwhile, workers at Codelco, Chile’s state-owned copper company, began a work stoppage last Thursday, demanding the employer provide access to healthcare to all workers.
REGION: As of last Wednesday, August 11, the Andean Community instituted a multilateral immigration agreement allowing citizens of Peru, Bolivia, Colombia and Ecuador to travel between those countries without needing to apply for visas or passports. The agreement, called Decisión 878, also makes it easier for Andean citizens to request temporary or permanent residency in the member countries. Travelers can be admitted as tourists for up to 90 days, and are only required to present a national ID card. The agreement is mandatory for all four member nations of the Andean Community.
HAITI: Over 1,200 people are dead and 5,700 injured after an earthquake struck southwestern Haiti early Saturday morning. The 7.2-magnitude quake was stronger on the Richter scale than the disastrous 2010 earthquake, which had a magnitude of 7.0 and killed between 100,000 and 316,000 people. But unlike the 2010 earthquake, whose epicenter was only 16 miles west of Haiti’s densely populated capital, the epicenter of Saturday’s quake was 60 miles further to the west, in the relatively remote department of Sud on the Tiburon Peninsula. Most of the deaths took place in Sud, while there were also casualties in Nippes, Grand‘Anse and Nord-Ouest. Around 13,000 buildings were destroyed, and another 13,000 were damaged.
CUBA: As COVID-19 cases surge in Cuba, the island republic is racing to vaccinate its population using shots developed domestically. As of last Thursday, over 11 million doses had been applied and almost 3 million people were fully vaccinated using the Soberana 2, Soberana Plus and Abdala jabs. On August 8, authorities announced that all health workers had been inoculated with the Soberana Plus vaccine, which consists of the two-dose Soberana 2 vaccine plus a separate booster shot. The Abdala vaccine requires a course of three doses. Cuba says that data show the shots are highly effective, including against the Delta variant.
NICARAGUA:: Nicaraguan police raided the offices of the newspaper La Prensa on Friday and announced an investigation against the paper for customs fraud and money laundering. La Prensa is the oldest newspaper in Nicaragua and the only daily with national distribution after the 2019 closure of El Nuevo Día. On Thursday, Nicaraguan customs officials had retained around 100 tonnes of newsprint being imported by La Prensa, forcing the paper to stop producing a print edition. The paper, owned by the prominent Chamorro family, is often critical of the Sandinista government of President Daniel Ortega.
GUATEMALA/UNITED STATES: The United States and Mexico have expelled hundreds of migrants to the remote Guatemalan town of El Ceibo, Petén department. The migrants were first expelled from the United States by plane to the city of Villahermosa in the Mexican state of Tabasco, before being bussed by Mexican authorities to El Ceibo, without being given the choice to stay in Mexico. The migrants were mostly from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.
President Joe Biden had justified the policy of flying migrants to southern Mexico with the Title 42 order, a rule that allows authorities to expedite expulsions of migrants, and with the argument that sending migrants into the Mexican interior would discourage repeat crossings.
MEXICO: Members of Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies voted to remove the parliamentary immunity of their colleague Deputy Mauricio Toledo, who is accused of illicit enrichment while he was executive of the Mexico City borough of Coyoacán, between 2012 and 2015. Mexico City prosecutors say that during that time, Toledo’s personal wealth grew by an amount that could not be accounted for by his salary as a public servant. Toledo, a member of the Labor Party (PT), left Mexico for Chile, where he is a citizen, in June. During a hearing last week, a Mexico City prosecutor called on Toledo to return to Mexico to face justice. Under the extradition treaty between the two countries, Chile is not required to extradite its citizens to Mexico.
MEXICO: Fighting between the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and Cárteles Unidos in the town of Coalcomán, Michoacán has forced 3,000 people to flee their homes. According to a letter written by Jorge Luis Martínez, a parish priest in Coalcomán, the criminal groups have been terrorizing the population by destroying roads and cutting telephone lines, but that security forces have done little to quell the violence. Earlier this month, Cárteles Unidos used heavy machinery to destroy a part of the highway connecting Coalcomán to the city of Aguililla, with the goal of slowing the advance of the CJNG.
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