Saturday, August 8, 2020
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Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Peru, Panama

The Supreme Court of Chile resolved on June 5 to grant Peru authorization to open trial against ex-President Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000) for crimes against humanity and unlawful association for the massacre of six people in the city of Pativilca, in the north of Lima. The killings took place on Jan. 29, 1992, by the so called Grupo Colina, a death squad led by officers and agents of the Army Intelligence Services, also responsible for other killings as those in La Cantuta and Barrios Altos, for which Fujimori is now serving time. In February, the Chilean Judge Ricardo Blanco admitted the request by the Peruvian justice to broaden the grounds of the Fujimori extradition to prosecute him for this case. After being extradited from Chile in 2007, Fujimori was tried and sentenced in 2009 to a 25-year prison term for human rights violations, aggravated kidnapping and corruption.

Cuba has recorded a steady reduction of its coastal sandbanks of 1.2 meters (3.9 feet) per year, and indications of erosion have been observed in 82 percent of the 499 beaches in the country, according to studies conducted by the Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment released on June 5, World Environment Day. Among the “noticeable” effects of climate change in the coastal areas, experts point out to the “slow and steady” rise of the sea level and a rise of almost 1º C (1.8 º F) in the average temperature since the mid 20th century, with the first decade of the 21st century being among the warmest in history. At the moment, the Cuban archipelago has 20 percent less freshwater than in 1990. In April, the Cuban government approved the State Plan to Address Climate Change that includes concrete actions to minimize the impacts of this phenomenon.

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected on June 19 the appeal presented by a group of Ecuadorian citizens against the US oil company Chevron demanding that it takes responsibility for contaminating the Amazon jungle of Ecuador. The plaintiffs demand from Chevron the payment of a compensation of US$ 9.5 billion, awarded in 2011 by an Ecuadorian court for the contamination of water and soil by Texaco — acquired by Chevron in 200 — between 1964 and 1992, when it operated in Ecuador. The oil company maintains that an agreement reached in 1998 between the Ecuadorian government and Texaco relieves Chevron from responsibility. The plaintiffs argue that the decision of the US Supreme Court cannot meddle in legal actions filed in other countries to collect the compensation payment.

Nicaragua presented on June 13 a report on the HIV/AIDS situation in the country. Since the first detected case in 1987, the document states, 12,157 patients have been diagnosed with HIV, of which 65 percent are men and 35 percent women; 69 percent are between the ages of 20 and 39. In the last 30 years, 20 percent (2,429) have died of the disease. Currently, the Ministry of Health has 9,728 people registered with the disease. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) recognized that one of the major advances of Nicaragua in the fight against AIDS has been the eradication of the mother-to-child transmission in the prenatal period, by guaranteeing treatment to pregnant women that test positive to the virus. In 2007, out of 47 pregnant women presenting the HIV virus, 45 infants were born with the virus; in 2016, out of 114 pregnant women with HIV, only two newborns carried the virus.

The ex-President of Panama Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014) was arrested on June 12 in Miami, United States, following an arrest order handed down by the Supreme Court of Panama in December 2015. Martinelli is accused of using public funds to illegally spy on hundreds of members of the political opposition during his term in office. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs requested his extradition in September 2016 and a red arrest alert was issued by Interpol in April. Martinelli requested political asylum in the United States in June 2015, claiming to be a victim of political persecution by the current government of President Juan Carlos Varela. The former President also faces court proceedings for corruption including receiving illegal commissions, use of privileged information, extortion and granting pardons. If the extradition is approved, he could only be tried in Panama for the crimes included in the extradition request.

Latinamerica Press / Noticias Aliadas
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