The Urgent Need to Consolidate Democracy and the Rule of Law in Haiti

Gaël Pétillon*

Versión en español aquí. 

According to the Haitian Constitution, the legislative, executive, and judicial powers constitute the essential foundation on which the State’s organization is based. Within the exercise of their respective powers, duties, and functions, they are entirely independent. However, since January 2020, the failure to hold legislative elections has resulted in a gradual deterioration of this branch of power, the mandate of all deputies and two thirds of the senate having ended. The assassination of President Jovenel Moïse on the night of July 6th to 7th, as well as the death of the President of the Court of Cassation have worsened the situation from an institutional standpoint. This situation has exacerbated the dysfunction of the three branches: the National Assembly and the Superior Council of the Judiciary (Conseil Supérieur du Pouvoir Judiciaire – CSPJ) are now null, while the executive struggles to lead the nation effectively. An institutional vacuum is being created on top of the political and health crisis. Moreover, the recent earthquake of August 14, 2021 generated additional urgent needs, further exacerbating the aforementioned shortcomings and suggesting an upcoming deterioration of the human rights situation in Haiti.

Seguir leyendo

Lending an Ear to Venezuela

Ana Lorena Delgadillo*

Versión en español aquí. Originally published in Proceso.

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Venezuela for the second time in three years. In my last visit in December 2018, I recall witnessing disturbing food and medicine shortages. This time round, I experienced a different Venezuela, but in a worse situation.

Despite the heartbreaking situation, Venezuela overflows with humanity and affection. While talking to Venezuelans, it is impossible not to think of the destruction wrought upon the democracy and institutions in the country.  In its 2020 report, The International Independent Fact-Finding Mission on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, created by the United Nations Human Rights Council, noted that serious human rights violations have been committed since 2014. The Mission also identified patterns and «highly coordinated crimes in accordance with State policies and part of a widespread and systematic course of conduct that constitutes crimes against humanity.» 

Seguir leyendo

The significance of the Engel list: against corruption and in defense of democracy

Katharine Valencia*

Adapted from an article originally published on Revista Factum.

Spanish version available here.

There has been much attention to the “Engel List” in Central America in recent weeks. The list of corrupt and undemocratic actors published by the US Department of State on July 1 was highly anticipated, especially after a list of corrupt Central American officials requested by Congresswoman Norma Torres was published in May. With the Torres list paving the way, a total of 55 individuals from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras were included on the Engel List, including high-level judges, members of Congress, and (in the case of El Salvador) presidential administration officials. 

Many of those placed on the list or associated with those named have sought to downplay its importance or asserted a lack of evidence against them. But what does inclusion on the Engel list actually mean? How important is it from the US perspective and what weight does it have? 

Seguir leyendo

Presidential Elections in Peru Reveal a Deeply Divided Country

David Lovatón Palacios*

The fox from above and the fox from below– José María Arguedas

Country of Jauja a possible utopia, which is that of respectful and enriching coexistence between cultures– Edgardo Rivera Martínez

Last Sunday, June 6, the second round of elections took place in Peru between two presidential candidates who obtained the largest number of votes in the general elections on April 11: the leftist, Pedro Castillo of the Free Perú (Perú Libre) party and the right-wing, Keiko Fujimori of the Popular Force (Fuerza Popular) party. At the time of writing this article, the Peruvian National Office of Electoral Processes (Oficina Nacional de Procesos Electorales, ONPE) had already processed 99.82% of the electoral records; the result, although very close, is clear: Castillo obtained 50.204% and Fujimori 49.796% of the votes. By a difference of only 71,441 votes, in an electoral universe of almost 25 million voters, it is most likely that Pedro Castillo will be the next president of the Republic for the 2021-2026 five-year term.

However, Fujimori and her party have still yet to recognize this result, and have announced that they will fight for each and every vote. Fujimori’s team has already officially filed appeals before the electoral justice challenging around 800 voting tables, which would imply the revision of around 500,000 votes, arguing that serious irregularities could have been committed in those voting tables to favor Pedro Castillo.

Seguir leyendo

General Elections in Peru 2021: The pandemic has won

David Lovatón Palacios*

Spanish version here.

On April 11, the general elections took place in Peru to elect the new President and Congress for the period 2021-2026, with an absolutely unpredictable and discouraging result from a democratic perspective. The following is a brief analysis of what the two presidential candidates who have made it to the second round of elections represent and the very difficult scenarios that may arise in the next five years for Peru.

Seguir leyendo