This Latino Week

Three dead in Venezuela protest, Trump meets with Anti-FARC former Colombian Presidents, Brazilian goalkeeper facing re-arrest
by: 
Jim McKenna

The massive demonstrations that took place throughout Venezuela ended in conflict, with three people dying in the violence that ensued. Tens of thousands of protestors took to the streets as expected, with anti-government demonstrations being met with counter-protests from those supportive of President Maduro.

An estimated 400 people were also arrested during the clashes, but the focus has been on the deaths that occurred. Two of the deaths were protestors, with opposition forces claiming that they were murdered by pro-government armed agents. The other fatality was a member of the armed forces, who government supporters alleged were murdered by protestors.

The violence has died down over the past few days but continues to be running throughout Venezuela. Youth groups have retaliated against riot police with Molotov cocktails and other weapons. The violence came after weeks of build-up, with economic woes being combined with political authoritarianism. The government has remained entrenched following the demonstrations, claiming that protestors are not representative and condemning their actions.

Trump meets with Anti-FARC former Colombian Presidents

A quiet and unarranged meeting took place in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, this week – with U.S. President Donald Trump seeking time with Alvaro Uribe and Andres Pastrana. The two former Presidents of Colombia are nowadays most prominent as critics of the FARC peace deal, which was passed through Congress by President Juan Manuel Santos this year. The meeting is still clouded in mystery, with Senator Marco Rubio denying that he was responsible for organizing the encounter.

The exact topic of conversation is unknown, but it is presumed that Trump was seeking advice about the peace process within Colombia. President Santos has made it clear that he requires international solidarity and assistance to ensure the goals of the deal can be met. This is particularly true of the United States, which President Santos is optimistic will be one of the largest financial backers of the deal.

The deal has been staggering along recently, with many of the initial goals regarding amnesty and financial assistance for former FARC fighters unlikely to be met. This week has also seen documents stressing that the government must step up its attempts to protect activists, with local community figures being increasingly targeted by threats of violence since the signing of the deal.

Brazilian goalkeeper facing re-arrest

Bruno Fernandes, one of Brazi’s most popular and successful goalkeepers before his arrest in 2013, faces returning to prison only a few months after being released. Prosecutor Rodrigo Janot has requested that be return to jail after serving only part of his 22 year sentence.

Fernandes was released temporarily on February, due to his attempts to appeal against the murder sentence of 2013. He signed a short-term contract with Brazilian team Boa Esporte and played several matches in a bid to return to professional football. The early release angered most Brazilians, who viewed the leniency as unfair after such a brutal crime.

Before his arrest Bruno was first-choice goalkeeper for top-tier side Flamengo, and was considered an outside shot for Brazil’s national football team. His contract was ended in 2010 when reports of his crimes were clear, namely the murder and disposal of his former partner Eliza Samudio. Fernandes has always protested his innocence, and has constantly tried to appeal his sentence since it was first announced four years ago.

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