Hello everyone. Today at WPR, we’re covering the implications of extraterrestrial visits to Earth on international politics, as well as the global backlash against abortion rights.
But first, here’s our take on today’s top story.
Colombia-ELN cease-fire: A cease-fire between the Colombian government and the country’s largest remaining rebel group, the National Liberation Army, or ELN, took effect yesterday and is set to last six months. It is the longest cease-fire the group has agreed to in the 60-year history of the conflict, which has killed roughly 450,000 people. (New York Times)
Our Take: Brokering a cease-fire with the ELN was high on the agenda of Colombian President Gustavo Petro, who during last year’s presidential campaign promised begin talks with rebel groups and finish implementing the 2016 peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which had been undermined by the previous administration.
After initially stumbling upon taking office by offering unilateral cease-fires without conditions to rebel groups, a formal cease-fire with the ELN now stands as a significant accomplishment for Petro and offers a chance to begin the much more complicated process of trying to reach a permanent peace deal.
There are, however, plenty of obstacles ahead. Most notably, the ELN, unlike the FARC, does not have a rigidly vertical hierarchy, meaning splinter groups can much more easily ignore this cease-fire and any future peace agreement. Any eventual deal with the ELN would also only be one part of Petro’s broader “Total Peace” agenda and wouldn’t address other armed groups fueling violence in Colombia’s rural areas, including paramilitary groups, drug cartels and other criminal organizations that have profited from power vacuums left behind by demobilized FARC rebels.
Despite a congressional hearing last Wednesday that suggested the U.S. government possesses UFOs, skepticism still seems warranted. But for the sake of argument, let us suspend disbelief. What if it is eventually confirmed that intelligent, extraterrestrial life forms have visited Earth and continue to do so?
Columnist Paul Poast breaks down the impact that revelation would have on international politics:
One year after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing women’s constitutional right to choose an abortion, it is easy to forget that the U.S. remains a global aberration, one of only four countries that have regressed on abortion rights since 1994. In contrast, 59 countries have liberalized their abortion laws over the past three decades.
Yet despite this story of overall progress, women’s rights advocates around the world are sounding the alarm. As Saskia Brechenmacher and Caroline Crystal write, three overlapping trends are leading to a global backlash that is causing concern among reproductive rights champions.
A federal appeals court in the U.S. ruled that the Biden administration can continue to enforce its restrictive asylum policy while government lawyers appeal a judge’s order last month that struck the new rules down. The policy, put in place in May, presumes that most migrants who illegally cross into the U.S. from Mexico are ineligible for asylum.
The Biden administration has prioritized a reduction of northbound migration at the border with Mexico at any cost. As Stephanie Brewer wrote in May, this approach not only violates the international human right to seek asylum, but also increases the dangers for vulnerable migrants and asylum-seekers who face violence and human rights abuses.
May 3, 2023 | With Title 42 set to end May 11, the US and Mexico are coordinating to maintain a harsh immigration and border control policy. Read more.
In Colombia, the eldest son of President Gustavo Petro has admitted to receiving illicit funds that went into his father’s 2022 presidential campaign. The son, Nicolas Petro, was arrested this past weekend on charges of money laundering and illicit enrichment.
The corruption scandal involving Petro’s son first appeared in March and is one of multiple scandals Petro is battling this year, the others of which involve Petro’s brother and members of his inner circle of advisers. Frida Ghitis broke down the scandals and their implications for Colombian politics in two separate stories earlier this year:
March 23, 2023 | Colombian President Gustavo Petro faces two corruption scandals, as his son and brother allegedly accepted bribes by prominent drug traffickers. Read more.
That’s all for today’s Daily Review. Coming up, we’re covering Spain’s regional nationalist parties and democracy in Southeast Asia.
Have a great day,