LatAm Daily Briefing: Ecuador’s President to Donate Salary; Mexico Decriminalizes Abortion

8 September: Find out what's been happening in Latin America with our latest news update.

Posted Wednesday, September 8th 2021
LatAm Daily Briefing: Ecuador’s President to Donate Salary; Mexico Decriminalizes Abortion

Argentina is hosting the High-Level Dialogue on Climate Action on September 8th, a one-day virtual event that brings together countries in the Americas to discuss the shared commitment to enhancing actions to mitigate climate change. US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry will attend and offer remarks during the high-level opening segment of the dialogue along with Latin American and Caribbean heads of state, the UN Secretary-General, and other special guests. The event is designed to build further momentum for climate action ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), which will be held October 31st to November 12th in Glasgow. Wednesday’s event in Argentina is co-organized by the governments of Argentina, Barbados, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Panama.

A former advisor to US former president Donald Trump was briefly detained and questioned by Brazilian authorities in the country's capital on Tuesday. Jason Miller told media he and members of his entourage were questioned for three hours by authorities at the airport in Brasilia. He posted on Twitter that he was in the country to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference there, which was held in early September. "We were not accused of any wrongdoing, and told only that they 'wanted to talk,'" Miller said. Tuesday was Brazil's Independence Day, and scores of people gathered in protest in cities across the country, both in support of and against President Jair Bolsonaro, who faces a looming election court investigation and plummeting popularity.

Albemarle, the world's top lithium producer, said on Tuesday it has maintained output from its Chile operations despite an ongoing strike by one of the company's four unions in the South American nation. The 135-member Albemarle Salar union, which the company said comprises about half the workers at its Salar plant, went on strike in August after failing to reach a labor contract deal with the US-based mining company. The strike continues, but operations continue apace at the mine and at its La Negra processing plant nearby, the company said. "We have a solid contingency plan that maintains operational continuity and our production at La Negra to continue meeting our customers' needs," the company said in a statement.

Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso has confirmed that he will donate his presidential salary each month. Lasso said he will donate his monthly salary of $5,635 to a different charity each month, and that his wife, first lady María de Lourdes Alcívar, will be in charge of deciding which foundations will receive the money. Lasso had announced in April, two weeks after being elected president, that he would not benefit from his salary during his presidential term, nor from the lifetime pension that all former Ecuadorian presidents get, and that he would instead donate the salary to a number of charities.

Mexico’s Supreme Court will decriminalize abortion in all of the country, and which will invalidate criminal penalties handed down for women who have previously had abortions, the court’s presiding minister, Arturo Zaldívar Lelo de Larrea, said. Currently, the voluntary interruption of pregnancy is subject to a 28-day jail term in several states of the country, and is only permitted in Mexico City, Oaxaca, Veracruz and Hidalgo. The court declared articles of the penal code of the northern state of Coahuila that punished voluntary abortion with up to three years in prison as unconstitutional. "Today is a historic day for the rights of all Mexican women and pregnant women; as of today it is a watershed in the history of the rights of all women, especially the most vulnerable," Zaldívar said.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday accused the Colombian government of trying to give instructions to his political adversaries in an attempt to derail the dialogue under way in Mexico between government delegates and opposition groups allied . Colombian President Iván Duque said on Twitter on Tuesday that "the return of democracy to Venezuela is fundamental and any agreement that consolidates the dictatorship will be a continental tragedy that will only encourage exodus and misery". Maduro's government broke off relations with Colombia in 2019 arguing that Bogotá was pushing plans to oust the Venezuelan government.