1 – 15 May – The Americas Bulletin

  • 01.05.2021


Draft about sanctions on Turkey

A group of Senators from the Democratic Party in the USA submitted a draft to the Senate calling for sanctions on Turkey if it fails to take effective steps against human rights violations. The bill, which is a repetition of the drafts submitted in the past in 2017 and 2019, called the “Turkey Human Rights Incentive Act 2021”, has the signatures of Democrat Senators Ed Markey, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley.

Source: The National News. US senators push bill to impose sanctions on Turkey over human rights record. Accessed on 01.05.2021 from https://www.thenationalnews.com/world/the-americas/us-senators-push-bill-to-impose-sanctions-on-turkey-over-human-rights-record-1.1214360


  • Panama port activity

The port activity was one of the few sectors in the Panama economy that did not come to a standstill during the pandemic despite the measures adopted to control the spread of the coronavirus. According to the preliminary registry of the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP), during the first quarter, the port system, made up of six terminals, mobilized 2,900,435 TEU (unit equivalent to 20 feet long).  Compared to the first quarter of 2020, there was a growth of 7.5% or 146,347 TEU in the first three months of this year. If it is related to the first quarter of 2019, the growth is almost 500,00. TEUs.

Source: Newsroom Panama. Panama port activity  beats pandemic – up 7.5%. Accessed on 01.05.2021 from https://www.newsroompanama.com/index.php/business/panama-port-activity-beats-pandemic-up-75



  • Refutation from the USA to Iran

Iran state television announced that Tehran would release 4 Americans accused of espionage in exchange for Washington’s release of 4 Iranians held in America and the re-use of frozen $ 7 billion Iranian resources. US Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ned Price also told Reuters that the news that a prisoner swap agreement was reached is not true. Price also emphasized that Americans who are imprisoned or disappeared in Iran always express their situation and will not stop until they bring them together with their families.

Source: USA. Today. US denies Iranian state TV report on deals to release US, British prisoners. Accessed on 02.05.2021 from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2021/05/02/iranian-state-tv-reports-prisoner-swap-deals-us-britain/4914494001/



  • Warning from US Secretary of State Blinken to China

US Foreign Minister Antony Blinken said that outside of China’s borders is more aggressive and increasingly hostile. Speaking in the “60 Minutes” program broadcast on CBS television, Blinken was asked whether Washington could engage in military friction with Beijing. Blinken replied to the question, “Even getting to that point or moving in that direction is against the interests of both China and the United States.”

Source: BBC News. US-China relations: Blinken accuses China of acting more aggressively. Accessed on 03.05.2021 from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-56967211

  • Message from President Joe Biden

President Joe Biden said, “Journalists are indispensable for the functioning of democracy” in the message he published on World Press Freedom Day. Biden’s message, ”Thirty years ago today, African journalists came together in the face of oppression and violence. The establishment, maintenance and promotion of an independent, pluralistic and free press are essential for the development and maintenance of democracy in a country and economic development. He published his declaration. Since then, under great personal risks, we celebrate the courage of those who refuse the repression and reveal the facts and emphasize once again the vital role of journalism and the free press all over the world.”

Source: The White House. Statement by President Joe Biden on the Occasion of World Press Freedom Day. Accessed on 03.05.2021 from https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/05/03/statement-by-president-joe-biden-on-the-occasion-of-world-press-freedom-day/

  • Biden’s Decision to Increase the Refugee Quota

The Biden administration announced two weeks ago that the refugee quota would be kept at the level of 15,000 under the former Republican President Donald Trump. However, Biden turned from his decision. President Joe Biden stated that he will increase the refugee quota of being admitted to the country to 62,500 this year. Biden’s refugee quota at the lowest level in the history of the United States caused had been the reaction of its supporters.

Source: Voice of America. Biden to Quadruple Number of Refugees Allowed in US Accessed on 03.05.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/usa/biden-quadruple-number-refugees-allowed-us

  • The Step of Reducing Hydrofluorocarbon Gases from the USA.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a gradual end to the production and use of greenhouse gas hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) used in refrigerators and air conditioners.  The new rule proposed by the EPA is considered to be the continuation of the law passed at the Congress in December and approving the end of the use of hydrofluorocarbon gases within 15 years. Accordingly, it is suggested that the production and use of HFC gas in the USA will be reduced by 85 percent in the next 15 years. HFC gas is considered as one of the factors that fuel global warming and suggestions are made to reduce the use of this gas all over the world. President Joe Biden pledged to comply with the global agreement reached in 2016 to reduce HFC gas.

Source: New York Times. EPA to Sharply Limit Powerful Greenhouse Gases. Accessed on 03.05.2021 from  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/03/climate/EPA-HFCs-hydrofluorocarbons.html



G-7 Nations Vow to End Syrian War, Top US Diplomat Says:

“US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday that the Group of 7 industrialized nations has vowed to end the 10-year civil war in Syria.  “My @G7 counterparts and I reaffirmed our commitment to a political resolution for ending the conflict in Syria,” Blinken tweeted as he and other G-7 members attended their first in-person meetings in two years. 

Source: Voa News. G-7 Nations Vow to End Syrian War, Top US Diplomat Says. Accessed on 04.05.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/usa/g-7-nations-vow-end-syrian-war-top-us-diplomat-says


  • Canada is facing legal action

The Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers filed the legal action in federal court claiming the policy is unlawful because it fails to consider the situation of asylum-seekers and whether they have reasonable alternatives available.

Source: Global News. Canada is facing legal action over the COVID-19 policy that pushes asylum-seekers to the US Accessed on 04.05.2021 from https://globalnews.ca/news/7833027/canada-court-asylum-seekers-policy/


  • Apology to the Maya people of Mexico

The federal government on Monday apologized to the Maya people of Mexico and beyond for what it said was five centuries of abuse committed by foreign and Mexican authorities and longstanding discrimination that continues to the present day.  President López Obrador offered the apology at an event at the Caste War Museum in Tihosuco, Quintana Roo, saying that it was an “imperative of government ethics” and a result of his own personal convictions.

Source: Mexico News Daily. Government apologizes for 5 centuries of abuse against Maya people.Acessed on 04.05.2021 from https://mexiconewsdaily.com/news/government-apologizes-for-centuries-of-abuse-of-maya/.



  • New Target in Vaccination from President Biden

President Joe Biden stated that they are aiming for maybe 70 percent of them to have received at least one dose of the vaccine by July 4, the US Independence Day. It is aimed that 160 million adults will be vaccinated by July 4.

Source: New York Times. Biden Shifts Vaccination Strategy in Drive to Reopen by July 4. Accessed on 05.05.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/04/us/politics/biden-vaccination-strategy.html

  • Facebook’s Decision to Continue Ban on Trump

Whether the Supervisory Board’s former President Donald Trump’s Facebook account will remain closed or not is a long-awaited clue as to how Facebook’s rules violating the world will throw it against world leaders. Facebook’s global affairs officer, Nick Clegg, said in a blog post published after the decision: “Now we will evaluate the decision of the Board and define a clear and proportionate move. He said that the blocking on Trump’s accounts will continue during this time.

Source: Voice of America. Facebook Oversight Upholds Trump Ban Linked to Storming of US Capitol.  Accessed on 05.05.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/usa/facebook-oversight-upholds-trump-ban-linked-storming-us-capitol


The federal government of Canada will send up to 350 much-needed ventilators from its national emergency stockpile and up to 25,000 vials of antiviral redeliver to help.

Source: Global News. Canada sends medical supplies to India as COVID-19 overwhelms the country’s health care. Accessed on 05.05.2021 from  https://globalnews.ca/news/7836207/canada-medical-supplies-india/



  • Support Promise from the US to Ukraine

The US Minister of Foreign Affairs met with Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelenski during his visit to Ukraine to support Russia’s military activity on the border with Ukraine. Foreign Minister Antony Blinken noted that after Russia deployed troops on the Ukrainian border, Washington could increase its security support to Kiev. Blinken noted that even after Russia announced that it withdrew its troops from the Ukrainian border, it left a large number of troops and ammunition in the region. Russia’s deployment of troops at the border had caused the strain in its relations with western countries.

Source: Voice of America. Accessed on 06.05.2021 from https://www.voanews.com/episode/blinken-pledges-us-support-ukraine-against-russian-military-threats-4680161



  • The Ministry of Justice Confiscated the Telephone Records of Our Correspondents

The Washington Post newspaper announced that during the Trump Administration period, the phone records of three reporters of the Ministry of Justice were confiscated by secret court order. Reporters were examining the federal investigation into Donald Trump’s relations with Russia in the 2016 election.This event, announced by the newspaper to the public, seems to fuel the debate between the press organizations and the groups that support freedom of the press and the federal government. The freedom of journalists to be informed is under the constitutional guarantee in the USA.

Source: New York Times. Accessed on 07.05.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/07/us/politics/justice-department-washington-post-phone-records.html

  • Reviving the Iranian Nuclear Deal is possible

The United States and Iran are still divided over key issues, but they could reach an agreement within weeks on reviving the 2015 nuclear agreement if Tehran makes a political decision to make it happen, a senior US official said Thursday. Still, the official, who was not authorized to speak on the record, said the negotiations would need to speed up to clinch an agreement in the next few weeks before Iran holds a presidential election on June 18. “If Iran makes the political decision that it genuinely wants to return to the JCPOA as the JCPOA was negotiated, then it can be done relatively quickly, and implementation can be relatively swift,” the official said. “But we don’t know if Iran has made that decision.”

Source: NBC News. Reviving nuclear deal possible if Iran makes ‘political decision,’ US official says. Accessed on 07.05.2021 from https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/national-security/reviving-nuclear-deal-possible-if-iran-makes-political-decision-u-n1266605



Critical Pipeline Targeted Cyber Attack in the USA.

Colonial Pipeline company, which operates a fuel pipeline in the eastern states of the USA, temporarily suspended its activities by declaring that it was the target of ransomware. The company did not provide information on the organizers of the attack or how much ransom was requested. The company, which transports gasoline, jet fuel and fuel oil from the Gulf of Mexico refineries to the state of New Jersey and Texas through oil pipelines, transports 45 percent of all fuel used on the east side of the USA.

Source: Financial Times. Cyber-attack shuts major US pipeline system. Accessed on 08.05.2021 from https://www.ft.com/content/2ce0b1fe-9c3f-439f-9afa-78d77849dd92


  • The Panama Canal Transits

The reduction of cruise ships transiting the Panama Canal has been offset by the transportation of grains and liquefied natural gas (LNG). However, in the sale of electricity to the country’s interconnected system, there was a drop of $4.9 million, and the sale of drinking water to the National Aqueduct and Sewer Institute (Idaan) also had a decrease of $774,000. The easing of trade tensions between the United States and China, following the coming to power of Democrat Joe Biden in January, has led to a large movement of grains from North America to feed China’s pig herd. This explains the great growth of this segment.

Source: Newsroom Panama. Canal transits benefit from Biden election. Accessed on: 08.05.2021 from https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/canal-transits-benefit-from-biden-election



US 5th Fleet Illegal Weapons Addressed

USS Monterey, a guided missile warship belonging to the 5th Fleet of the American Navy, seized illegal weapons in the international waters of the Arabian Sea. In the statement made by the 5th Fleet stationed in Bahrain, it was stated that the weapons included dozens of Russian-made anti-tank missiles, Chinese assault and machine guns, assassination weapons and rocket launchers.

Source: Reuters. US 5th Fleet seizes weapons shipment from stateless dhow in Arabian Sea. Accessed on 09.05.2021 from https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/us-5th-fleet-seizes-weapons-shipment-stateless-dhow-arabian-sea-2021-05-08/



Biden East European Countries to Increase Cooperation Developing

President Joe Biden attended the Eastern European countries summit in Bucharest, the capital of Romania, via video conference. Security and Ukraine in the Black Sea region were on the agenda of the summit. In the statement made by the White House, it was stated that “President Biden expressed the importance of increasing resistance against harmful economic and political actions of rivals, who support NATO’s deterrence and its desire to strengthen its defense.”

Source: Reuters.Romanian president says more NATO presence needed in Eastern Europe. Accessed on 10.05.2021 from https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/biden-join-eastern-european-nato-states-summit-focus-seen-ukraine-2021-05-10/

  • The Step to Separate Science and Politics from the White House

Biden management, to bring a new venture to encrypt science. With this obligation, 46 accurate scientific achievement task force is established. The Board will hold its first meeting on Friday. The task force’s goal is to research scientific data scientifically since 2009 and seek ways to keep politics and science different in the future.

Source: The Times of India. New White House panel aims to separate science, politics. Accessed on 10.05.2021 from https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/new-white-house-panel-aims-to-separate-science-politics/articleshow/82522300.cms


  • Economic stagnation drives migrants north from Central America

Unauthorized border crossings into the US from Mexico have soared this year to near 20-year highs. This poses an acute political problem for President Joe Biden, who has asked Vice-President Kamala Harris to deal with the crisis and has earmarked the US $4 billion in aid for the Northern Triangle. How this will be spent is not clear.

Source: Mexico News Daily. Economic stagnation drives migrants north from Central America. Accessed on 10.05.2021 from https://mexiconewsdaily.com/news/economic-stagnation-drives-migrants-north-from-central-america/



Medical Rights of Transgender Individuals are Protected Again in the USA.

The Biden administration announced that the US will protect gay and transgender people from gender discrimination regarding healthcare services. The administration reversed the Trump-era policy of trying to narrow the scope of border legal rights regarding medical care. The Ministry of Health’s new step has confirmed that federal laws prohibiting gender discrimination in medical services also protect homosexual and transgender people. The Trump administration defined “gender” as meaning gender at birth, thus removing transgender people from the protective umbrella of the law.

Source: The Commonwealth Fund. Federal Government Reinstates Health Care Protections for Transgender Americans. Accessed on 11.05.2021 from https://www.commonwealthfund.org/blog/2018/federal-protections-health-care-risk-transgender-americans

  • US -Iran Tension in the Strait of Hormuz

It was announced in approximately 30 warning shots after a ship belonging to the US Coast Guard in the Strait of Hormuz, 13 ships from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Navy approached the US Navy. The US Defense Department spokesman John Kirby said that Iranian torpedo boats were fired after they came within 130 meters of six US military ships, including the USS. Monterey, which was escorting the guided-missile submarine Georgia.

Source: WION. US military ship fires 30 warning shots after an encounter with Iranian vessels.  Accessed on 11.05.2021 from https://www.wionews.com/world/us-military-ship-fires-30-warning-shots-after-encounter-with-iranian-vessels-384212

  • Vaccine for kids

The USA has been approved to reduce the age of application of the vaccine developed by Pfizer / BioNTech against Coronavirus to 12.

Source: Global News. COVID-19 vaccinations could start for US kids aged 12-15 this week. Accessed on: 11.05.2021 from https://globalnews.ca/news/7850808/covid-vaccine-children-us-this-week/



President Biden said that he had spoken with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel “for a while” on Wednesday amid escalating fighting between Israelis and Palestinians and asserted his “unwavering support” for Israel’s “right to defend itself.”

Source: NY Times. Biden, speaking with Netanyahu, asserts Israel’s ‘right to defend itself.’ Accessed on 12.05.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/12/world/middleeast/biden-netanyahu-israel.html

The US Sends Ambassadors to the Middle East

The US sends representatives to the region after the tension between Israel and Palestine escalates. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that it took a deputy undersecretary diplomat to decide on the region to call on the parties to end the extremely sad violence

Source: NY Times. U.S. envoy is heading to the Middle East. Accessed on: 12.05.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/12/world/middleeast/israel-palestine-blinken.html

The Biden administration sought the review under the novel “rapid response” mechanism in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement and took effect last summer. Under the mechanism, penalties can be brought against a specific factory for violating workers’ rights of free association and collective bargaining.

Source: NY Times. US Asks Mexico to Investigate Labor Issues at GM Facility. Accessed on 12.05.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/12/business/economy/mexico-investigate-trade-gm.html


  • False statements during the 2019 election campaign

Election’s commissioner Yves Cote says his office investigated some 400 complaints about false statements allegedly made during the 2019 federal election campaign. While 400 may seem like a large number, Cote says the complaints were clustered around roughly a half-dozen allegedly false statements — with many of them using identical language, suggesting an organized campaign.

Source: Global News. Around 400 complaints of false statements made during 2019 election campaign investigated. Accessed on 12.05.2021 from https://globalnews.ca/news/7857674/false-statements-election-2019/


  • Energy projects worth US $35 billion

Energy sector projects worth more than US $35 billion are stalled because they haven’t been granted government permits, according to a high-ranking official with Mexico’s most powerful business lobby. Roger González, president of the Business Coordinating Council’s energy commission, said that 128 projects – among which are gas, fuel storage and electricity generation projects are ready to start but can’t due to a lack of permits.

Source: Mexico News Daily. Energy projects worth US $35bn on hold as government withholds permits. Accessed on 12.05.2021 from https://mexiconewsdaily.com/news/energy-projects-worth-us-35bn-on-hold-as-government-withholds-permits/



  • Cyber Attack to the Colonial Pipeline and restart

Colonial Pipeline, operator of the largest US fuel pipeline, said Wednesday it is restarting operations after being shut down for five days due to a cyberattack. The company shut down its entire operation Friday after its financial computer networks were infected by a Russia-tied hacker gang known as DarkSide, fearing that the hackers could spread to its industrial operations as well.

Source: NBC News. Colonial announces pipeline restart, says normal service will take ‘several days. Accessed on 03.05.2021 from https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/security/colonial-announces-pipeline-restart-says-normal-service-will-take-seve-rcna917


  • Diversity campaign in Montreal

Montreal police have launched a campaign in an effort to change the force’s image.  On Thursday, police launched a program to recruit more young people from ethnically and racially diverse backgrounds, including Indigenous youth.

Source: Global News. Montreal police launch diversity campaign. Accessed on: 13.05.2021 from https://globalnews.ca/news/7860379/montreal-police-diversity-campaign/



  • President Joe Biden revokes Trump

President Joe Biden on Friday revoked a number of his predecessor’s executive orders, including one to create a statuary garden that reflects “the awesome splendor of our country’s timeless exceptionalism.”  Trump had called the garden America’s answer to a “reckless attempt to erase our heroes, values, and entire way of life.”  Biden also got rid of Trump’s requirement that legal immigrants have health insurance. Biden said it doesn’t benefit the United States to block immigrants who “lack significant financial means or have not purchased health insurance coverage from a restrictive list of qualifying plans.”

Source: USA. Today.  President Joe Biden revokes Trump orders on “heroes garden” and other issues.Accessed on 14.05.2021 from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2021/05/14/biden-revokes-trump-orders-heroes-garden-and-other-issues/5097056001/



Divisions within the party have burst into public view, with the party’s ascendant left viewing the Mideast conflict as a searing racial justice issue that carries echoes of US politics. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and other progressive members of Congress delivered impassioned speeches about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the House floor. In 1988, when James Zogby, the founder of the Arab American Institute, pushed Democrats to include a mention of Palestinian sovereignty in their platform, party leaders responded with a clear warning, he recalled: “If the P-word is even in the platform, all hell will break loose.” Eager to stave off an angry confrontation at the convention, the issue was shelved without a vote.

Source: NY. Times. Tension Among Democrats as Left Defends Palestinians Grow Over Israel. Accessed on: 15.05.2021 from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/15/us/politics/democrats-israel-palestinians.html

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