On Tuesday, Ariel Henry—a trained neurosurgeon and former Minister of Social Affairs and Labor and Minister of Interior and Territorial Communities, who had been named prime minister-designate by Moïse only two days before his death—was sworn in as Prime Minister and acting President of Haiti in a ceremony in Port-au-Prince, replacing former interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph, who had ruled the country as de facto head of state since Moïse’s killing. Joseph, who will evidently retain a ministerial role as Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced over the weekend that he would step down, ceding power to Henry “for the good of the nation.”
This past Sunday, the largest popular protests in decades erupted in Cuba, with thousands of demonstrators across the island taking to the streets to decry acute shortages of basic necessities (including food and medicine), rolling blackouts, and suffocating restrictions on political freedoms that persist over six decades after the Cuban Revolution.
Last Friday, the helicopter of President of Colombia Iván Duque was struck by multiple bullets as it approached the airport of the city of Cúcuta, capital of the Norte de Santander region, located on the Venezuelan border. No passengers were injured by the small-arms fire, although Duque’s government released photographs showing the helicopter’s exterior lacerated by bullet holes. The attack occurred in the context of escalating levels of violence in Colombia—as the landmark 2016 peace deal signed with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) lurches unsteadily toward its fifth anniversary—and record-low approval ratings for President Duque.
In Brazil—still in the throes of the pandemic, as evidenced by the country’s ignominious passage through the threshold of 500,000 dead from COVID-19—public dissatisfaction with the government of President Jair Bolsonaro collided this week with a looming socio-environmental catastrophe: a historic drought that has parched large swathes of Brazil’s Centro-Oeste (i.e., the states of Goiás and Mato Grosso do Sul) and populous southeast (in particular, São Paulo, Minas Gerais, and Paraná, three of the most populous states in the country) in advance of the annual Amazon wildfire season.
This week in Nicaragua, President Daniel Ortega continued to crack down on critics and opposition leaders in advance of the November elections that will see him vying for a fourth consecutive presidential term (and fifth term overall). Over the past two weeks, Ortega’s government has arrested and detained 13 prominent opposition figures, including four prospective presidential challengers.
In what amounts to perhaps the most aggressive crackdown on Nicaragua’s opposition since the deadly suppression of popular antigovernment protests in 2018 left hundreds dead, the government of President Daniel Ortega has arrested six opposition leaders—including four potential challengers to Ortega in November’s upcoming presidential election (Cristiana Chamorro, Juan Sebastián Chamorro, Arturo Cruz, Jr., and Félix Maradiaga)—in the past two weeks alone.
This past weekend, following a series of revelatory Senate hearings investigating the government of President Jair Bolsonaro’s catastrophic response to the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of thousands of Brazilians took to the streets in over 200 cities, condemning the Bolsonaro administration and demanding his impeachment or resignation.
On Monday, Guillermo Lasso took office as President of Ecuador, using his inaugural presidential address to underscore his commitment to reviving an economy battered by the COVID-19 pandemic and years of painful austerity.
This past weekend, Chileans cast ballots for the 155 delegates to the Constitutional Convention that—per the result of a national plebiscite held last October, in which over 78 percent of voters opted to commence the process of constitutional reform—will be tasked with replacing the 1980 constitution promulgated by the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.