Saturday, February 18, 2006

Australia wants Brazilian bobsled team out of the Olympics

The Australian Olympic Committee has demanded that Brazil’s Olympic bobsled team be banned from Torino due to a positive steroid test found in one of the bobsledders. Brazil won a tournament last year where the top two finishers automatically qualified for this year’s Olympics; Australia finished third.

Guatemalan police accused of trying to kill transvestite prostitutes

Guatemala’s human rights ombudsman accused four police officers of shooting at two transvestite sex workers, one of whom was killed, in December 2005. “I'm afraid to go out now because of what happened,” said the lone survivor of the shooting.

Criminal complaints filed against Peruvian presidential candidate

Criminal charges have been filed against Ollanta Humala, a former army colonel and leading presidential aspirant. Humala, who is running second behind Lourdes Flores, has been accused of human rights abuses while in command of a military base in 1992.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Chavez administration to U.S.: stay out of our business!

In the latest round of the diplomatic war between Venezuela and the U.S., Venezuelan Deputy Foreign Minister Mari Pili Hernandez demanded that the U.S. stay out of Venezuelan affairs. Hernandez’s words came in the aftermath of Condoleezza Rice’s recent remarks that Venezuela is “attempting to influence neighbors away from democratic processes” and is a “sidekick” of Iran. In another verbal battle between the two states, Venezuela’s Vice President accused the U.S. of running a “smear campaign” to block Venezuela from having a seat on the U.N. Security Council.

Florida man accused of selling Mexican women into sexual slavery

Eliseo Escalante was arrested yesterday of bringing women into the U.S. in order to force them into prostitution. The women, including an underage girl, were forced to service between 20 and 30 men a night in order to pay off their near $3000 debt to immigrate into the U.S.

A mountain of challenges await Haiti’s new elected president

A struggling economy, obtaining foreign aid, and the possibility of Jean-Bertrand Aristede’s return are several of the obstacles that await the presidency of newly-elected Haitian president Rene Preval. Preval, who had been president between 1996 and 2001, has yet to speak at length with the press since he was declared on Thursday as winner of last week's presidential election.

Brazilian court overturns verdict against policeman involved in 1992 prison massacre

Human rights groups, including Amnesty International, have reacted with shock and indignation towards a Brazilian court’s decision in favor of a police colonel implicated in the 1992 Carandiru prison riots. Ubiratan Guimares was convicted in 2001 of commanding police to kill over 100 unarmed prisoners during riots in Sao Paolo’s Carandiru Prison.

Guyana to cancel multimillion dollar debt owed to China

China will forgive Guyana’s $15 million debt with that Asian country in a move designed to build better relations between the two states.

Mexico creates special prosecutors to investigate crimes against journalists and women

The Mexican government formed two new special prosecutor posts this week; one will look into crimes committed against Mexican and foreign journalists, while the other will investigate cases of death and abuse against women including the unsolved murders of almost 400 women in Juarez.

Bush and Uribe discuss free trade in D.C. meeting

Presidents George W. Bush and Alvaro Uribe met in the White House on Thursday in order to continue negotiations on creating a free trade agreement between the U.S. and Colombia. Negotiations have gone on for over two years and have received the support of the Washington Post via an editorial published today.

Bolivia: Bush administration to reconsider drug policy; Evo refuses to expel U.S. officials

In what is viewed as a “major concession,” State Department officials hinted that coca farming may be allowed as part of a revaluation of U.S. counternarcotics policy in Bolivia. Meanwhile, Evo Morales refused to give in to demands by domestic coca growers to expel U.S. representatives from Chapere, a main coca growing area of Bolivia.

Argentine GDP growth fastest in 13 years

Argentina’s GDP increased by 9.1% in 2005 and the argentine economy has grown by over 8.0% since the worst recession in its history from 1998 to 2002. However, inflation has also grown by 4.9% in 2005.


Guatemala and Belize settle border dispute

In a deal brokered by the OAS, Guatemala and Belize agreed to negotiate a resolution over a disputed maritime area in the border shared by both states.

, ,

Marcela Sanchez

Washington Post's Marcela Sanchez discusses the World Bank's announcement that Latin America needs to cut poverty in order to stimulate growth, a departure from the strict adherence to market reforms the Bank has advocated in the past. (WAPO)

The nature of democracy

Eli Blake has an interesting post on the Haitian elections. When an administration like our promotes democracy abroad, what happens when others elect leaders we don't like? (Post)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Haitians celebrate Preval victory

Rene Preval was declared the winner of Haiti's presidential election Thursday under an agreement between the interim government and electoral council, staving off a crisis over last week's disputed vote in the Western Hemisphere's poorest country. (WAPO) Newsweek also discusses the victory. (Newsweek)

, , ,

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Iran’s president accepts invitation to visit Cuba

Iran’s president will visit Cuba in September in gratitude to Cuba’s International Atomic Energy Agency vote against reporting Iran to the U.N. Security Council. (Hindustan Times)

Op/ed: Latin American leftward shift is not as simple as it may appear

Characterizing (Latin America) as hopelessly drifting away from US interests…underestimates the complexity of both US relations and democracy in the region,” according to an op/ed article in this weekend's Christian Science Monitor. Moreover, the article analyzes recent and future presidential elections, and points out that U.S. policy should be one of engaging with Latin American leaders beyond an “ideological lens.”
Recent entries on Latin America's political shift to the left:
Mexico's Elections: Out-Foxing the Left; Kirchner's "tilt to the left " unnerves the Bush administration; Latin America: Elections in Review (November 2005).

Ticos take electoral recount in stride

Costa Ricans await the results of last week’s presidential election “with a quiet uncommon in Central America,” according to the Houston Chronicle. The waiting game affects citizens and politicians alike, especially Costa Rica's Congressional debate on its involvement in the Central America Free Trade Agreement.

Ten gang members found dead in Guatemala City gutter

Five men and five women that belonged to Guatemala’s Mara 18 gang were found shot and killed as part of a vigilante killing spree. Notes left on the bodies of the dead said “some people fell into their clutches and paid the money they demanded, others weren't so stupid and opted to eradicate them. God forever.” (Reuters)

Mexican government supports ICC

Mexico’s government will back the right of the International Criminal Court to prosecute U.S. troops even though the U.S. has threatened to withhold nearly $1 million in aid to Mexico. "This country will be irrefutable in supporting the protocols of the international court, whatever the cost," said a spokesman for Mexican president Vicente Fox. (El Universal)

Bolivian coca growing should be limited, says Evo

Bolivia’s coca farmers should not grow more than their personal share, said president Evo Morales in a speech on Saturday. Morales also criticized the heavy reduction of U.S. military aid to Bolivia by declaring that "the lives of Bolivians are not worth a million dollars." (CNN)

Haitian presidential election: Preval should be prez says Brazil; used ballots found in dump

Supporters of candidate Rene Preval have intensified their protests in light of television footage showing ballots and other election material discarded in a Port-au-Prince garbage dump.

Meanwhile, there have been calls from Brazil and Haiti’s interim government for Preval to be recognized as Haiti’s next president. With over 90% of votes counted, Preval holds a 37.1% lead over his closest rival, but is 1.3% short of avoiding a runoff.

Recent entries on Haiti’s presidential election:

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Interrogation center under Pinochet remodeled into art museum

-Contributed by Erwin Cifuentes. The Salvador Allende Solidarity Museum in Santiago, Chile is set to open next month in the same mansion used as a spy center under Pinochet's rule. Workers that remodeled the former spy center found objects such as passports and diagrams of locations under surveillance. (The Australian)

U.S. cuts military aid to Bolivia

The Center for International Policy's blog on the Colombia Program discusses the U.S. cut in military aid to Bolivia and the practical consequences it will have. (Plan Colombia and Beyond)

Ticos take electoral recount in stride

-Contributed by presidential election, with a quiet uncommon in Central America, according to the Houston Chronicle. The waiting game affects citizens and politicians alike, including Congress's debate on Costa Rica's involvement with the Central America Free Trade Agreement. (Merco Press)

Venezuela: Chavez publicly insults Bush and Blair

-Contributed by the greatest terrorist in the world" British head Tony Blair a pawn of imperialism who should hand the Falkland Islands to Argentina. Meanwhile, Venezuelan police apprehended Colombian drug lord Alonso Ojeda, one of the most wanted drug barons in Latin America.

Haitian presidential election: Preval supporters

-Contributed by (CTV) On the cusp of what appears to be Preval's victory, the Miami Herald shows the obstacles that lay ahead for Haiti's next president as well as Preval's problems during his previous administration. (Miami)