Review of the press for January 24, 2022
Journalist killed in Tijuana, she is the third reporter murdered in 2022 in Mexico. The Cuban regime arrested a group of Ladies in White. Biden. Rio de Janeiro. Venezuela. Perù. Colombia
Journalist killed in Tijuana, she is the third reporter murdered in 2022 in Mexico
In March 2019, Lourdes Maldonado had reported to President López Obrador that she feared for her life due to legal problems with a former governor from the same party as AMLO. The journalist was killed yesterday and was part of the Lower California Journalist Protection Program. Her entry into the program was due to fears of a problem with former governor Jaime Bonilla, of the National Regeneration Movement, the party of AMLO Morena, now in power. She is the second journalist killed in Tijuana in 2022, after photojournalist Margarito Martínez, who was shot on January 17 while journalist José Luis Gamboa Arenas, director of digital media Inforegio, was assassinated in Veracruz on January 10.
The Cuban regime arrested a group of Ladies in White demanding the release of political prisoners
Among those arrested were Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White, and Bárbara Farrat, mother of the minor Jonathan Farrat, who is awaiting trial for participating in the July 11 anti-government protests in Cuba. They were on their way to mass. Farrat has been particularly active in the networks denouncing the situation of her son and participating in actions with groups that follow the judicial processes of those who have joined the largest protests in recent decades on the island. The Ladies in White were born in 2003, following a wave of repression by the Cuban government that was called "the black spring." Two years later, they won the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The EU, Human Right Watch and Amnesty International condemned the arrests.
Why doesn't Joe Biden confront Cuba?
During his press conference last week, President Biden was asked to comment on U.S. foreign policy in the Western Hemisphere. He mentioned Central America, said he spent "a lot of time talking" about Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro, and incoherently referenced Chile and Argentina. But oddly, the president never mentioned the region's heart of darkness, the 63-year-old military dictatorship in Havana. Cuba's intelligence and security apparatuses direct repression in Venezuela and Nicaragua and support the one-party state in Bolivia. Cuba actively seeks to undermine democratic institutions in Colombia, Peru, and Chile. At home it uses torture, imprisonment, and exile to suppress dissent. Freedom in the region cannot be secured without confronting totalitarian Havana. Mr. Biden's failure to prioritize this task is alarming. It is why, despite the historic July 11 uprising, hope for a Cuba that awakened last summer is fading.
Cocaine and Christ unite in Rio de Janeiro
Rio's so-called "gangs of God" mix faith with narco-violence. A good example is Juju Rude, a rapper in the evangelized favelas known as Complexo de Israel, who sings about a favela ruled by God-fearing gangsters. "Pastor, do you think we could hold a service at my house next Thursday? "asks a young gangster, with an AK-47 in his lap as he sits next to the man of God. He had just bought his first house with the fruits of his illegal work for one of Rio's drug factions. Now, he wants to give thanks for the blessings he believes he has received from above. "I have dodged death so many times. He is the one who delivered me from evil," the 23-year-old drug trafficker reflects as he begins another 12-hour night shift on the front lines of the drug conflict in the Brazilian city. When the drug conflict in Rio erupted in the 1980s, Brazil's evangelical revolution was still gaining momentum and many gangsters looked to Afro-Brazilian deities like Ogum, god of war, for protection. Drug kingpins were building shrines in Orixás and showing their devotion to Umbanda and Candomblé. Four decades later, there are Bible sculptures and Last Supper murals as a new generation of born-again criminals takes power, influenced by a fraternity of Pentecostal preachers.
Venezuela: dictatorship gives just 12 hours to collect 4.2 million signatures for referendum against Maduro
The promoters of a call for a referendum to interrupt the mandate of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced over the weekend their refusal to collect the more than 4.2 million signatures required by the conditions set by the electoral authorities, considering that they make the consultation impractical. In fact, the National Electoral Council (CNE) announced Friday that the promoters of the referendum will have only 12 hours next Wednesday, in 1,200 centers, to collect the necessary signatures. A mission impossible. "We really consider it inappropriate to waste time in queues. We cannot act rashly and irresponsibly throw people into queues that will not produce the result we want: to call the referendum," César Pérez Vivas, leader of the opposition, commented yesterday.
Peru declares 'ecocide' emergency and asks for help after environmental disaster
Peru's government yesterday asked for international help to contain a 6,000-barrel oil spill on its coast. The oil spilled into the sea when a tanker was unloading at the La Pampilla refinery, located 30 kilometers north of Lima. The disaster was the result of violent waves that hit the Peruvian coast following a tsunami caused by the eruption of a volcano in the Tonga archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. Peru's environmental control agency estimated that 1.7 million square meters of land and 1.2 million square meters of sea were affected by the black mass of oil. Spain's Repsol, which owns the refinery where the spill occurred, says it is not responsible for the disaster because Peruvian maritime authorities did not issue warnings about a possible wave surge after the Tonga eruption. Fishermen are starving and the fishing environment has been destroyed because of this ecocide.
Colombia opens presidential year with murders and massacres
Groups that were left out of the peace agreement in 2016, impose violence and control activities such as illegal mining and drug trafficking. The assassination of nine social leaders in early 2022 in Colombia has been accompanied by a series of massacres that show an escalation of violence. One of the victims is Breiner Cucuñame, who was 14 years old and wanted to be an indigenous guard. On January 14, members of the Jaime Martínez column, one of the FARC's dissident groups, shot him. Guillermo Chicame, another indigenous guard, was also killed in the attack. On January 17, Luz Marina Arteaga, a peasant leader, doctor, and land claimant who had disappeared five days earlier and whose body was dragged to the banks of the Meta River, was killed, along with Mario Jonathan Palomino, a 35-year-old teacher and environmental advocate.