Axios Latino

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Hi, hi! What a week!

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This newsletter, edited by Astrid Galván and Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath, is 1,137 words, a 4-minute read.

1 big thing: History-making drama in Peru

Peruvian President Dina Boluarte, in a yellow suit and a sash across her chest, raises both arms up in the air as she's sworn in

Dina Boluarte was sworn-in yesterday afternoon as the new president of Peru. Photo: Cris Bouroncle/AFP via Getty Images

Dina Boluarte made history yesterday by becoming Peru's first woman president.

  • Yes, but: It's likely that the series of events that led to her coming to power will be most remembered in Peru, Marina writes.

What happened: Boluarte was sworn in after Pedro Castillo was removed from office and arrested following his attempt to dissolve Congress ahead of a vote to impeach him.

  • Castillo justified his decree by arguing Congress was overstepping its power during its third impeachment attempt against him.
  • Ignoring Castillo's announcement, lawmakers voted 101-6 to remove him from office and named Boluarte, his vice president, as his replacement. Ten lawmakers abstained from the vote.

The big picture: The dramatic turn of events deepens the political crisis in the country. Including Boluarte, the nation has seen seven presidents in as many years amid corruption investigations and impeachments.

  • They also come as Peruvians contend with a growing food crisis and the ongoing economic and health effects of the pandemic.

What to watch: Boluarte will have to do a balancing act with Congress, as opposition lawmakers may grow to resent her having once had ties to Castillo as his vice president, says Noam Lupu, associate professor at Vanderbilt University.

  • Boluarte spoke yesterday during her inaugural address of building national unity, likely signaling to congressional leaders they can negotiate and work together more than they ever did with Castillo, Lupu tells Axios.
  • But "if that fails, I could imagine Congress coming up with grounds for impeaching her as well," Lupu adds.

Read more.

2. The major spike in non-English speakers

A Latino father lifts up his son to see a speaker at a rally in Alabama in front of the Governor's home in Montgomery, Alabama. Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

A Latino father lifts up his son to see a speaker at a rally in Alabama in front of the governor's mansion in Montgomery, Alabama. Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

The number of people in the United States who speak a language other than English at home — mainly Spanish — has nearly tripled over the last 40 years, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Why it matters: Major shifts in immigration from Latin America and Asia have transformed the nation's linguistic diversity and reshaped the United States, Russell writes.

By the numbers: The report found that 67.8 million (almost 1 in 5) people spoke another language besides English. In 1980, that number was 23.1 million (about 1 in 10).

  • Spanish was the most common non-English language spoken in U.S. homes (62%) in 2019.
  • The number of Spanish speakers grew from 11 million in 1980 to 30.6 million in 2019.
  • 55% of Spanish speakers are U.S.-born.

Yes, but: The number of people who speak only English grew by nearly 29% from 1980 to 2019.

Zoom out: The U.S. Latino population for decades has been shifting away from states with historically significant Hispanic populations, according to a Pew Research Center study released earlier this year.

  • Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, North Dakota, and South Dakota have seen some of the fastest Latino population growth over the last decade.
  • The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators says Latinos were elected this November to statehouses in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Vermont – states that previously had small Latino populations.

Federico Subervi, author of "The Mass Media and Latino Politics," tells Axios the shifts in migration are driven by job opportunities, but that they've resulted in anti-immigrant policies in some places.

  • Whether an immigrant does well in a new community largely depends on whether they have access to Spanish-language media to help them build community, says Subervi, adding that not having that could result in alienation and vulnerability to discrimination.

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3. Controversial approach to fighting gangs

two soldiers in full tactical gear stand in front of a row of men who have their hands up against a red wall

Honduran military forces frisk men as part of anti-gang operations under a state of emergency, Dec. 6. Photo: Johnny Magallanes/AFP via Getty Images

Honduras has become the latest Latin American country to take a strong-armed approach to deal with gangs, declaring a state of emergency that human rights groups warn will likely be ineffective and could lead to rights abuses, Marina writes.

The big picture: The partial state of emergency in Honduras, which went into effect on Tuesday, follows a similar controversial, yet popular, move by Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele earlier this year.

  • Gang and cartel violence have plagued Central America and Mexico for years, and it's becoming a growing problem across South America.
  • That's led to some Latin American leaders saying strong-armed crackdowns are necessary, even if they suspend some constitutional rights.

State of play: Under Honduras' state of emergency, authorities can arrest people and search homes without warrants in two of the country's largest cities. Some of the neighborhoods will also be under curfews.

  • Honduran President Xiomara Castro said the crackdown, which is set to last a month, was needed to combat the extortion of citizens by gangs.

In El Salvador, Bukele declared a state of emergency in March after a record number of homicides. Nearly 60,000 people have since been jailed indefinitely.

What they're saying: Experts say a policy of mass roundups or increased militarization has done little in the long term to curb the gang problem, and has in some cases exacerbated violence.

  • These tactics may seem attractive to leaders "because they project an image of strength," CĂ©sar Muñoz, associate director for the Americas at Human Rights Watch, tells Axios.
  • But they show weakness because "they avoid actually dealing with the underlying causes of crime," Muñoz adds.

A sustainable strategy would be to dismantle the criminal groups through strengthened justice systems and laws targeting the gangs' sources of income, even if results would take longer, he says.

Go deeper.

4. Latino workers' unemployment falls in November

Unemployed Latino workers during the pandemic seek benefits in  Calexico, California.

Unemployed Latino workers during the pandemic seek benefits in Calexico, California. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The unemployment rate for Latinos dropped to 3.9% last month from 4.2% in October, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released last week, Russell writes.

The big picture: The news ahead of the holidays signals a comeback for Hispanic workers hit hard by COVID-19 and is even lower than it was pre-pandemic. The rate has been fluctuating month-to-month.

  • The Hispanic unemployment rate peaked at 18.8% in April 2020, shortly after businesses and schools closed in response to the coronavirus outbreak, statistics show.
  • It was 14.7% for the overall population and 14.2% for white workers that same month.

By the numbers: Last month, Latino men had an unemployment rate of 3.5% while it was 3.6% for Latinas.

  • Latinos between the ages of 16 to 19 had an unemployment rate of 11.2%
  • The overall unemployment rate in the U.S. (3.7%) was unchanged in November.

5. Stories we’re watching

A supporter holds up a blue poster of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner that says "we are all with Cristina" in Spanish

Supporters of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner outside of Argentina's Congress, Dec. 6. Photo: Erica Canepa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

1. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Argentina's vice president and former president, has said she will no longer be a candidate for next year's elections after she was found guilty of embezzling public funds.

  • The conviction carries a six-year prison sentence but she has political immunity, so the verdict will still be considered by higher courts. She denies any wrongdoing.

2. The Nicaraguan government will allow the families of detained opposition members to visit them today in the high-security El Chipote prison, the National Police said yesterday.

  • Around 200 people in the country are considered by NGOs to be political prisoners. Several of them have been holding hunger strikes since the late summer to demand that their loved ones be able to visit.

That's all for today! Make sure you're signed up to get this newsletter Tuesdays and Thursdays. Thanks for the copy edits, Patricia Guadalupe!