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LATIN AMERICA
In brief
Latinamerica Press
9/29/2016
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Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Peru

The Chamber of Deputies of Brazil removed Deputy Eduardo Cuhna from his post on Sept. 13 by 450 votes in favor and 10 against. He was considered the architect of the impeachment against former President Dilma Rousseff (2011-2016) on Aug. 31. Cunha, a conservative evangelist, was accused of passive corruption, money laundering and of hiding bank accounts abroad totaling US$5 million, coming from bribes paid by Petrobras in the corruption case known as Lava Jato. The legislator, who was the former speaker of the Chamber of Deputies between February 2015 and May 2016, lost his parliamentary immunity and could face justice for these crimes.

The State Council of Colombia — the highest tribunal in charge of legal processes involving the State — sentenced the Nation, represented by the Ministry of Defense, the Army and the National Police, for crimes related to the murder of journalist Jaime Garzón on Aug. 13, 1999. According to the ruling, published on Sept. 14, the former Intelligence Deputy Director of the Administrative Department of Security (DAS) José Miguel Narváez and the former Intelligence Chief of Brigade 13 of the Army Ret. Colonel Jorge Eliécer Plazas Acevedo, shared information with the paramilitary chief Carlos Castaño, to whom they suggested order the murder of Garzón for considering him “a guerrilla collaborator.” The court ordered a monetary compensation to the relatives of Garzón and also that the highest ranking officers of the Army and the Police make a public apology for the murder.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) presented to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (I/A Court H.R.) on Sept. 17 the case of human rights violations committed against 11 women who were detained and raped in May 2006 during the police repression against demonstrators in the town of San Salvador Atenco, as a result of the state of México not fulfilling its obligation to investigate the facts occurred. The IACHR established that the women were illegally and arbitrarily detained by the security forces, and without being told the reason for their detention or what they were being charged with. It also established the existence of serious acts of physical and psychological violence, including rape. Despite the time elapsed, not a single person has been convicted for this case.

The government of Nicaragua granted on Sept. 6 asylum for two years to former President of El Salvador Mauricio Funes (2009-2014), thus considering him a “politically persecuted person.” The former president is being investigated by the Salvadorian Prosecutors Office for illicit enrichment, embezzlement, illicit business dealings, misappropriation and influence peddling during his term as he has not been able to explain the origin of income to his wealth totaling US$600,000. The Nicaraguan government explained the granting of the benefit, which also extends to his wife and children, pointing out that the Constitution “ensures asylum to political persecuted persons, sheltering those who fight in favor of democracy, peace, justice and human rights”. Funes, a 56 year old journalist, headed the first government of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), the ex-guerrilla group.

More than seven years after the Bagua massacre in northeastern Peru, the Criminal Court of that town acquitted on Sept. 22, 52 indigenous people who were accused of the murder of 10 natives and 23 police officers during an uprising of Amazon natives that took place on June 5, 2009, who were demanding the repeal of a series of legislative decrees that infringed on their territorial rights.  The court was not able to prove any criminal responsibility of the accused for instigating violence or for aggravated homicide, forceful possession of weapons, serious injuries, or any crime against public security. After the court ruling, the Public Ministry, who had requested a life sentence for the accused, filed an appeal requesting the annulment of the judgment. There are still three processes pending for the deaths of the police officers, the disappearance of Major Felipe Bazán of the Police Force, and for the deaths of the natives.


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