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Guatemala crisis deepens as UN backs return of Cicig chief

On 19 September the United Nations (UN) Secretary General António Guterres said that he sees “no reason to change his existing position of support for Commissioner Iván Velásquez”, the head of the UN-backed International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (Cicig).

Vizcarra’s brinkmanship pays off in Peru

Peru’s President Martín Vizcarra scored a notable victory over congress this week, which should lead to the imminent approval of four significant judicial and political reforms and their subsequent presentation to the public in a referendum before the year is out. Constrained by his minimal backing in congress but emboldened by his public support, Vizcarra squared up to the main opposition Fuerza Popular (FP, Fujimoristas), accusing the party of holding up the reforms and calling a vote of confidence in his government. This backed FP into a corner. Accept the reforms or face fresh elections. The party did not accede without protest. With its popularity in tatters, however, it could not risk fresh elections and had no choice but to back Vizcarra.

Venezuela’s surreal red package

Venezuela’s descent into hyperinflationary chaos accelerated in August. A set of economic measures announced on 17 and 20 August, known as the ‘red package’, was intended to turn the economy around and put it on the path to recovery. But with analysts describing the measures as “incoherent” and even “surreal” there seemed little chance of a change in direction: subsequent announcements have caused additional uncertainty.

Environmental activists in the firing line

Latin America is one of the most dangerous places in the world to campaign on environmental and land issues, according to a report by Global Witness, a lobby group. The report says that at least 207 land and environmental defenders were murdered in 2017; nearly 60% of those killings took place in Latin America, led by Brazil (57) and followed by Colombia (24) Mexico (15) and Peru (8).

Introduction

The September edition of the Regional Report: Brazil and Southern Cone contains articles on diverse issues, ranging from economic to negative public security and political trends. The way in which these trends evolve in the coming months will have major implications for their respective countries.

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