Why Scientists Want To Get Rid Of Escobar’s ‘Cocaine Hippos’ In Colombia & More In Today’s News

Lead Photo: Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla
Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla
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Las Notis is a daily news column that gets you up to speed on the political, media + other going ons in Latin America and the diaspora—all in one quick digest. 

Here’s your glimpse at what’s going on today:

  • After House prosecutors released scores of video showing rioters breaking into the Capitol and several members of Congress running to avoid them, many Republicans have indicated that they don’t plan to convict Donald Trump for inciting the insurrection. Lindsey Graham was one of those Republicans, sharing his surprise that “we could lose the Capitol like that” while noting that his mind hadn’t changed about letting Trump off the hook. [CNN]
  • White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that most migrants trying to enter the United States at the southern border are being turned away. She also said that the administration needs more time to figure out their approach to border operations. “Due to the pandemic and the fact that we have not had the time as an administration to put in a humane, comprehensive process for processing individuals who are coming to the border, now is not the time to come,” she said. [USA Today]
  • Anthony Fauci said that he’s optimistic vaccinations will pick up in March and April and that “open season”—his way of describing vaccinations for Americans outside of priority groups— could begin around the spring. He also shared that he thinks the country may be able to vaccinate a majority of Americans by the middle or end of the summer. [CNN]
  • Rep. Raúl Grijalva of Arizona plans to introduce legislation he’s drafted proposing an end to federal contracts with private companies and remove federal prisoners and immigrant detainees from such facilities within two years. “For too long, private prisons and detention centers have benefited from lucrative government contracts and taxpayer dollars to profit off the pain and suffering of others,” Grijalva said in a statement. [NBC]
  • Three Cubans who were trying to get to the U.S. were rescued this week after a mechanical failure left them stranded on an uninhabited island in the Bahamas. The woman and two men reportedly survived off of coconuts, conchs, and rats for more than a month until a two-day Coast Guard team launched a mission to save them. They were transported to a hospital in the Florida Keys and are now detained at an immigrant detention center in Florida. [WaPo]
  • Critics say that authorities had been warned of severe problems in a special forces group accused of being involved in the murder of 19 people, including 14 Guatemalan migrants, near the border of Texas. Twelve officers from the 150-person group have been ordered held for trial on charges that they killed the victims, who were found burned and in conditions so bad that not all of them have been identified yet. [NBC]
  • Scientists in Colombia want to cull a species of hippos—known as “cocaine hippos”— first imported by drug kingpin Pablo Escobar for his private zoo. The animals have since multiplied and affected the country’s important waterway, the River Magdalena, and are only expected to keep growing in population size. [BBC]