Fachin’s List: the end of political bias in the Brazilian coup?

Last Tuesday, Minister Edson Fachin, the Supreme Court judge responsible for the Lava Jato (Operation  Car Wash) investigations in Brazil, responded to the request from the Attorney General, Rodrigo Janot, to approve investigations by the Supreme Court into serving politicians implicated by the plea bargain testimony of the CEO and other executives of the Odebrecht … Continue reading Fachin’s List: the end of political bias in the Brazilian coup?

Does the Mexican government really want to make Dr. Mireles a martyr?

Dr. José Manuel Mireles Valverde was one of the original leaders of the autodefensa movement in Michoacán that played a central role in confronting the Caballeros Templarios drug cartel (for the history, see my book The New War on the Poor). He was the leading Mexican protagonist in the award-winning US documentary Cartel Land. Mireles … Continue reading Does the Mexican government really want to make Dr. Mireles a martyr?

Deepening crisis in Brazil

Yesterday afternoon a light plane carrying four passengers crashed into the sea off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. One of the bodies recovered was that of Teori Zavascki, the Supreme Court judge responsible for oversight of the Operation Carwash (Lava Jato) corruption investigations and judgement of cases against politicians who, by virtue of currently … Continue reading Deepening crisis in Brazil

Brazil’s prison crisis

This first week of January has seen two massacres of inmates in Brazilian prisons. The first took place in Manaus. Fifty-six inmates died, the highest number to be killed since the Carandiru prison complex massacre in São Paulo in 1992. But in that latter case it was the police who did the killing. In Manaus … Continue reading Brazil’s prison crisis

Calling police to account in Bairro da Paz

This post is mostly about a recent event in a community in Salvador, the capital city of the state of Bahia, which I began to study in 2006. Bairro da Paz is an irregular settlement with a population of 60,000 residents, formed by a land invasion during the last years of military rule. The remarkable … Continue reading Calling police to account in Bairro da Paz

Postscript on the Brazilian coup

The legal farce of the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff is set to continue a little while longer. Her defence team has appealed to the Supreme Court for the decision of the Senate to be annulled and Michel Temer returned to his prior status as interim president pending a final decision. It is difficult to imagine … Continue reading Postscript on the Brazilian coup

The Brazilian STF and Eduardo Cunha

This morning the supreme court judge responsible for overseeing the Lava Jato investigation ordered the suspension of the PMDB's Eduardo Cunha from his mandate and from his position as president of the chamber of deputies. This decision was ratified in a plenary session later in the day. Cunha, whose patronage powers have won him an … Continue reading The Brazilian STF and Eduardo Cunha

Something rotten in the state…

In yesterday's La Jornada newspaper, journalist Blanche Petrich published an interview that the paper conducted with Nestora Salgado, former communal police commander of the community of Olinalá, in the Mexican state of Guerrero. On August 23, 2013, Nestora Salgado was arrested and charged with the kidnapping, on the orders of Ángel Aguirre, the state governor … Continue reading Something rotten in the state…

Cemeí Verdía looks to new governor for support

A judge has now determined that the indigenous autodefensa leader Cemeí Verdía has a case to answer on the murder charges brought against him by the state government prosecutor. He will therefore remain in the Mil Cumbres gaol. Cemeí and his lawyer have argued that the case is "political in nature", and the indigenous leader … Continue reading Cemeí Verdía looks to new governor for support

Michoacán es otro?

In his final report to the state congress, outgoing interim governor, Salvador Jara Guerrero, insisted that he was leaving Michoacán in a more secure condition than he found it. "Hoy el estado es otro". Really? The state's public prosecutor has now brought the anticipated murder charges against coastal autodefensa leader Cemeí Verdía, former communal police … Continue reading Michoacán es otro?