Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Monday Memo: OAS General Assembly – Brazil World Cup Preparations – Sánchez Cerén – Leopoldo López Hearing – Uruguayan Primaries

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OAS General Assembly in Paraguay:  The Organization of American States (OAS) will hold its General Assembly in Asunción, Paraguay from June 3 to 5. At least 29 foreign ministers have confirmed their attendance—the highest number to do so since the 2009 General Assembly in Honduras, following the coup that removed former President Manuel Zelaya from office. OAS member states remain divided over the political crisis in Venezuela, proposed changes to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and the participation of Cuba, among other issues. Those attending the assembly are expected to sign a declaration to signal their commitment to promote social inclusion and reduce poverty and social inequality in the hemisphere.

Brazil’s Public Ministry to Create a “Crisis Cabinet” for the World Cup: With only ten days left before the start of the World Cup, Brazil’s public minister, Rodrigo Janot, declared that the government would create a “Crisis Cabinet” to monitor any future protests during the World Cup and address “excesses” on the part of either protesters or security forces during public manifestations. The Cabinet will include state attorney generals from all states that will host the World Cup, as well as the federal district that includes Brasília, and will receive additional assistance from a support group made of other public officials from the public ministry and attorney general’s office. June 6 marks the one-year anniversary of protests that erupted across Brazil in response to transit costs, poor public services, corruption, and high spending on the World Cup.

Sánchez Céren Sworn in as Salvadoran President: Former FMLN guerrilla Salvador Sánchez Céren was sworn in as El Salvador’s president on June 1, after narrowly defeating rival candidate Norman Quijano in a run-off election on March 9. Sánchez Céren said that he would fight corruption and violence during his term and would prioritize security, employment and education. El Salvador faces one of the world’s highest homicide rates, according to the UN, at 41 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2012, though the rate was even higher in 2009. Sánchez Cerén was vice president during the government of former President Mauricio Funes.

Leopoldo López Hearing Begins in Venezuela: Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López has been transferred to Venezuela’s Palacio de Justicia to begin a preliminary hearing on Monday. The hearing will determine whether López should be tried for promoting violence and instigating damage to public property, among other charges, during Venezuela’s February 12 protests. López, who was detained in February, has been held in a military prison for the last several months, and he faces a potential sentence of more than 13 years in prison, according to Venezuelan Attorney General Luisa Ortega Díaz.

Uruguayan Primary Elections: Uruguayans voted in primary elections on June 1, with a paltry turnout of only 39 percent of eligible voters selecting presidential candidates for the country’s three major political parties: the Partido Nacional (PN), Partido Colorado (PC) and the Frente Amplio (FA). The results were predictable for the FA—with popular former president Tabaré Vázquez easily defeating senator and political scientist Constanza Moreira—and the PC, which elected Pedro Bordaberry, a former presidential candidate and son of ex-President Juan María Bordaberry. However, Luis Lacalle Pou unexpectedly defeated favorite Jorge Larrañaga in the PN primary, creating a need for the PC and FA to reevaluate their strategies for Uruguay’s presidential election on October 26.

Tags: 2014 World Cup, Leopoldo Lopez, OAS General Assembly
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