Friday, August 18, 2006

Afternoon briefs

*Suspect in the murders of hundreds of women in Juarez, Mexico arrested.

*Draft of new Trinidadian constitution to face legislative approval.

*Ancient Peruvian headdress found in England after being stolen in 1988. (Image via National Geographic).

*Apparently, distrust is growing within Venezuela’s armed forces.

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Grim data on AIDS for underdeveloped countries

With the 16th International AIDS Conference in Canada drawing to a close, statistics have shown a notable discrepancy on AIDS treatment and infection in different regions of the world. For instance, AIDS infection among gays has grown substantially including “consistent condom use of men who have sex with men in Latin America was 30%,” and malnutrition continues to hurt people with AIDS in lesser developed countries. Innovative tools for AIDS prevention may take far too long to reach underdevloped states due to lack of funds and political debating, while human rights advocates claimed that mandatory testing in health care facilities located in Latin America has created a stigma for those that take the tests. (Image via the World Bank).

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Strikes affect Chile and Mexico

Chilean miners striking at the worlds largest mine (image via Reuters) has forced its shut down as they blocked access roads to the Escondida mine. In the meantime, workers at Mexico’s Volkswagen plant in Puebla voted to strike due to an insufficient pay increase.

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National Guard curbs border crossings says Chertoff

Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff claimed that the presence of Nation Guard troops along the U.S.-Mexico border has helped decrease the number of illegal crossings nearly 50%. Meanwhile, several Border patrol agents said that some areas along the border were “short-handed” since they were assigned away from their usual posts in order to help National Guard troops.


Ecuadorian volcano may erupt again soon

The photograph seen above (via National Geographic) is of Tungurahua, a volcano in Ecuador that has wiped out several villages and may have killed dozens of people. According to a leading volcanologist "we cannot rule out more explosions."


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Evening headlines: Fishermen found after nine months missing while volcano kills one man in Ecuador

*While three Mexican fishermen amazingly survived nine months adrift on the Pacific Ocean, a group of Dominican fishermen claimed harassment by Bahamian immigration officials.

*Human rights group Amnesty International demands that Colombia’s government respect a court decision modifying the controversial Peace and Justice Law.

*A volcanic eruption in Ecuador has destroyed three villages and killed one person with over sixty reported missing.

*Support for the ruling party in Jamaica has fallen by 14% since March leading to added pressure for early elections to be held later this year.

*A thorough analysis of Hugo Chavez’ recent world tour, via a report from the Council on Foreign Relations.

*A conference in Morocco discussed closer relations between Middle Eastern and Latin American countries.

(Image of one of the surviving Mexican fisherman via The Sydney Morning Herald).

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Pablo Escobar = the new Scarface?

Rapper Timbaland will produce a biographical film on slain drug lord Pablo Escobar (image via ZDF), claiming that it will be a bigger hit than the 1983 version of “Scarface”. In the meantime, the Colombian government plans to convert Escobar’s lavish ranch, Hacienda Napoles, into a tourist destination including a theme park.

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Mexico: Court confirms conservative control in congress

Mexico’s top electoral tribunal confirmed July’s legislative elections with the ruling PAN having a plurality, but no a majority in both houses. Meanwhile, police set up fortified security around congress including riot police and water cannons. (Image via BBC).


Internacional capture Copa Libertadores soccer championship

Brazilian squad Internacional (image, via Sports Illustrated) won South America’s premier soccer club tournament last night over defending champions Sao Paulo. The Porto Alegre side won the title via an aggregate score of 4-3 and thus earned the first international title in the club’s near century of existence.


Doubt surrounds Ecuadorian presidential race

The lack of any clear favorite amongst the candidates for president in Ecuador has led some analysts to forecast a possible “political crisis” in the near future. No candidate has more than 25% popularity as “there is not a single candidate that awakens enthusiasm among voters” ahead of Election Day on October 15th, according to one pollster. (Image, the map of Ecuador, via the U.N.)

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Morning headlines: Ex-strongman Stroessner dead; prosecutors to go after Ollanta Humala

*Former Paraguayan dictator Alfredo Stroessner (image, via CNN) died from pneumonia after spending nearly a week in hospital.

*Mexican drug lord arrested hiding in a boat off the coast of Mexico.

*Several Colombian paramilitary members were arrested after being accused of violating demobilization agreement.

*Costa Rica to move their embassy in Israel from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv.

*Losing Peruvian presidential candidate Ollanta Humala may go on trial for human rights violations.

*Baptist churches appeal $34,000 fine by the U.S. for traveling to Cuba.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Morning briefs

*Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez will go to China later this month to sign bilateral energy agreements.

*There’s a new set of the “disappeared”- victims of Colombia’s right-wing paramilitary groups.

*U.S. immigration law favors Cubans over Haitians.

*Joint intelligence center established by Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.

(Image via this site).

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Evening headlines: U.S. political parties wary over Fidel’s possible death; Lula absent from debate

*Fidel Castro’s death could be disastrous for the Democratic and Republican parties, according to a commentator at the Guardian UK.

*President Vicente Fox says that Mexico will have its first budget surplus in 13 years.

*Apparently, columnist Andres Oppenheimer can see into the future.

*Brazil’s president was a no-show at a presidential debate.

*Increased DEA presence in Suriname highlights growing influence of the drug trade in that country.

*Via Hispanic Tips: More details on the U.S. version of “Betty la Fea” coming this fall. (Original post here).

*Jamaica to get more oil from Venezuela.

*Famed environmental attorney urges Puerto Rican legislature to bar resort construction in a small town.

(Image via this site).

Police deny brutality claims by AMLO protestors

Mexico City police denied overreacting on Monday during violent confrontations against supporters of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Hundreds of heavily armed police officers sealed Congress today in response to yesterday’s scuffle that left about 8 protestors injured. (Image via CNN).


Environmentalism + telenovela = sure-fire hit?

Brazilian television Globo will start filming a telenovela this month that is set in the Amazon rain forest and will emphasize the need for its preservation. The telenovela, entitled “Amazonia” will show the rise of the Brazilian state of Acre during the early 20th century as rubber capital of the world and its subsequent downfall and abandonment by the end of the century. (Image via this site).


Bolivian energy plan hits major problem: no cash

Bolivia’s plan to nationalize its oil and natural gas industry has been thrown in disarray due to a lack of funds. Opposition politicians responded by strongly criticizing the government led by Evo Morales though a spokeswoman for Bolivia's hydrocarbons ministry claimed that “nationalization is continuing.” (Image via this site).

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Playing the waiting game in Mexico

The Washington Post’s blog on Mexico’s presidential elections has a very detailed post on the issues surrounding the electoral snafu in Mexico. Ceci Connelly discusses such issues as the possibility of a clash between police and sympathizers of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (image via BBC) during next month’s Independence Day celebrations as well as how Mexicans are adjusting to the protests.

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Morning headlines: Chileans take smoking ban in stride; kidnapped TV reporter released

*Tough new anti-smoking laws take effect in Chile. (Image depicts a cigarette billboard in Bogota, Colombia).

*Blogger Boli-Nica covers several editorials on the formerly banned book “Vamos a Cuba.”

* Recently inaugurated Peruvian presidency Alan Garcia starts with high popularity.

*Review of BBC documentary that focuses on high number of women killed in Guatemala.

*Australians mourn tourist killed in Jamaica.

*Blogger Wonkette takes a tongue-in-cheek look at one of the photos published on Monday between Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro. (Link may be Not Safe for Work).

*Gang releases Brazilian TV reporter after holding him hostage for nearly two days.

*Copper prices rise due to Chilean mine strike.

*Prominent anti-Chavez activist escapes from jail.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Opinion piece advocates rethinking of U.S. policy towards L. America

In an opinion piece published yesterday, the director of Latin America studies at the Council on Foreign Relations says that U.S. policy towards Latin America needs to go beyond antiquated Cold War thinking and recognize recent changes in the region. According to Julie Sweig (image, via CFR), “the new generation reaching power today…reflects not Washington's wishes or nightmares, but the unique historic, ethnic and class conditions of their countries…For the United States to fashion new thinking that reflects these dynamics, it will have to exorcise the ghosts of the Cold War”.

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Mexico: AMLO supporters block Banamex locales while thousands rally in Oaxaca

*Protests in favor of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (image, via CNN) continue as supporters block several bank entrances.

*A look into one man’s vigilantism shows the fragmentation in the Minuteman Project.

*Financial analysts remain confident that Felipe Calderon will be the next president as the peso reached its highest point in five months.

*Thousands protested in Oaxaca calling for an investigation into the murder of a protestor killed during demonstrations last week.

*A survey done last week showed most Mexico City voters believed that there was fraud in July’s presidential election.

*Massive demand by Mexicans for U.S. visas feeds illegal immigration.

*Defending Mexican soccer champions Pachuca started the season with 2 straight losses while Atlas continue undefeated after routing UAG 6-1.

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Ex-Paraguayan dictator “very grave” in hospital

Former dictator of Paraguay Alfredo Stroessner (image, via BBC) was hospitalized in Brasilia over the weekend. The 93-year-old Stroessner ruled Paraguay from 1954 to 1989, longer than any other Latin American leader except for Fidel Castro.


New pics show bedridden Fidel

Cuban media published photos of Fidel Castro recuperating in bed on his 80th birthday along with his brother Raul and Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. In addition Granma published a letter written by Fidel over the weekend thanking Cubans for their support but also warning that his recovery will be slow. (Image via BBC of video released Monday evening by Cuban state television ).

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