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Weekly Report - 15 July 2021 (WR-21-28)

LEADER
Another week, another crisis on a Caribbean island...
ANDEAN COUNTRIES
The most notable arrest in response to last week’s three-day shootout between Caracas street gangs and the police was not that of a gang member, but a politician...
Colombia’s vice-president and foreign minister, Marta Lucía Ramírez, addressed the United Nations Security Council on 13 July, whose members expressed concern that insufficient progress had been made since Colombia’s 2016 peace accord with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Farc) guerrilla group...
Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso announced his government’s intention on 13 July to pursue a free trade deal with the US...
BRAZIL & SOUTHERN CONE
A new bout of violence that erupted in Chile’s southern region of La Araucanía this week is raising concerns of an escalation of a conflict that successive governments have been at pains to pacify for many years...
An embattled President Jair Bolsonaro has once again resorted to what he knows best: inflammatory rhetoric that fires up his base and shocks his opponents...
After another round of discussions with International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff, the Argentine government has announced that it has reached “understandings” with the multilateral lender over the efforts to renegotiate the country’s outstanding debt and the provision of fresh financial assistance to help it overcome economic difficulties...
MEXICO
Mexico’s foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, confirmed on 13 July that he would be running for president in 2024 after meeting to discuss the matter with friends and associates...
A new self-defence group of armed civilians, or autodefensas, has appeared in the southernmost state of Chiapas in response to growing violence from organised criminal groups...
CENTRAL AMERICA & CARIBBEAN
Following the shocking assassination of President Jovenel Moïse last week, the international community has recognised interim prime minister Claude Joseph as Haiti’s current leader...
“An important step for justice.” This was how US-based human rights lobby group Washington Office on Latin America (Wola) described a verdict handed down by a Honduran court which unanimously found Roberto Castillo, executive president of hydroelectric company Desarrollo Energéticos (Desa), guilty of helping to plot the 2016 killing of  environmentalist Berta Cáceres, the leader of local indigenous organisation Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras (Copinh), whose murder had shocked the local and international community alike...
POSTSCRIPT
The Brazilian government announced on 12 July that the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (Inpe), the respected national space research institute which is part of the science & technology ministry, will no longer be responsible for monitoring forest fires in the country, a task it has carried out for decades...
“It is brutal, cruel and inhuman that a moment has been chosen in which the country is going through the worst scenario of the pandemic...

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