Honduran supreme court accused of constitutional override

On 23 April the leadership of the Honduran opposition Partido Liberal (PL) called for the supreme court (CSJ)’s constitutional chamber magistrates to face a political trial in congress for treason, after they voted to derogate the constitutional ban on re-election, which the constitution itself is clear cannot be removed.

Farc attack damages Santos and guerrillas

Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos is resisting intense pressure to suspend the peace process with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Farc). Renewing aerial bombing was his immediate response to the killing of 11 soldiers in a military patrol by Farc guerrillas on 14 April but as details of the savagery of the attack which violated the terms of the indefinite unilateral ceasefire declared by the Farc last December have come to light public indignation has mounted and Santos was compelled to deliver a strong message demanding that the Farc pick up the pace of negotiations and show a genuine commitment to peace. The Farc can risk pushing Santos but if the public attitude hardens against a peace deal then whatever is agreed in Cuba will be academic when it comes to an eventual referendum on the accord.

Astori the austere

At one level, nothing has changed. The new centre-left Frente Amplio government that took office in Uruguay on 1 March is a continuation of the two Frente Amplio administrations dating to 2005. The new president, Tabaré Vázquez, has done the job before (2005-2010). So too has the new economy minister, Danilo Astori (2005-2008; Astori was also vice-president in 2010-2015). Yet in economic policy terms, a different ball game looks to be shaping up.

US sanctions against Venezuela trigger regionwide rejection

When on 9 March the US government announced a new batch of sanctions against Venezuelan officials, it looked like a tit-for-tat response to President Nicolás Maduro’s late February announcement of forthcoming ‘reciprocal’ sanctions against US officials. However, the manner in which the US announcement was relayed by the media, and eagerly picked up by the Venezuelan government, gave Maduro the excuse to obtain extraordinary powers and order a military alert to resist an expected military intervention. It also led to almost universal condemnation in Latin America of the US action, portrayed as interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs — even by governments deemed far friendlier to Washington than to Caracas.

To impeach or not to impeach?

In mid April, local pollsters Datafolha released what, on the face of it, appeared a rather striking finding. Sixty-three percent of Brazilians would support the opening of impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff, according to the survey, published in the daily O Folha de São Paulo on 11 April. However, the poll also revealed widespread ignorance over what that would mean. Only 37% of those who were in favour of impeachment proceedings realized that the vice-president, Michel Temer, would take Rousseff’s place; 15% thought Senator Aécio Neves, the defeated 2014 opposition presidential candidate, would take over. Some 40% admitted they had no idea what would happen.

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