Last week it was reported that the former vice president of Guatemala, Roxana Baldetti, had been formally sentenced to 15 years in prison following her involvement in what is being called the “Magic Water” scandal. Baldetti was found guilty of participating in and directing a criminal network in the multimillion-dollar scheme, which redirected state funds intended to clean the contaminated Lake Amatitlan (Al Jazeera 2018).
News and Politics
This September, the trial began for the murder of former Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations in Hondoras (COPHINH) coordinator and 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize winner, Berta Cáceres. On March 2, 2016, Cáceres and Mexican environmentalist Gustavo Castro were attacked in Cáceres’ home by hitmen hired by the executive president of Desarrollos Energéticos SA (DESA). The company leadership targeted Cáceres due to her involvement with indigenous protests against DESA’s plans to build a hydroelectric dam along the Gualcarque river.
On September 6th, Brazil Presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro was stabbed during a campaign rally in Juiz de Foro. Following the attack, Bolsonaro lost a significant amount of blood and was placed in the intensive care unit at Santa Casa Hospital where he was prepped for surgery. According to his doctor, all of his life-threatening injuries were stabilized during the procedure. Although a week of lost campaigning time so close to the election could seem detrimental to a candidate, the attack has actually increased Bolsonaro’s polling numbers, marking a turning point in the campaign.
On August 26th, the Colombian people headed to the polls to take part in a historic vote intended to curb the unchecked corruption that has plagued the country for many years.
This week, Paraguay’s new president declared that he will be reversing his predecessor’s decision to open a Paraguayan embassy in Jerusalem, now moving the embassy back to Tel Aviv. This decision by Mario Abdo Benítez, who just took office less than a month ago, has seen an angry reaction from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who immediately ordered the closing of Israel’s embassy in Asuncion and the recall of its ambassador.