Friday, January 18, 2008
Del Castillo revealed that Garcia told him years after the coup that “a close person informed him that he was the target of an assassination plot.”
“I am convinced that the (army) group which entered my house did so in order to physically eliminate Garcia” claimed Del Castillo who added that he received “information” from Susana Higuchi. [ed. Higuchi is the now-divorced wife of Fujimori.]
“That’s the information I received; she warned us of the threat via a liaison.” – [ed. Personal translation]
Del Castillo was secretly detained for five days after the autogolpe while Garcia fled to Colombia.
Fujimori is on trial for human rights abuses during his decade of rule and faces a maximum of 30 years in prison if convicted.
Image- BBC News
Sources (English)- Associated Press, Wikipedia, The Latin Americanist
Sources (Spanish)- La Republica, El Diario/La Prensa, El Expreso
The Assembly agreed with the president’s position “by requesting that the Colombian government recognize the belligerent character of the insurgent movements…as a sign of good faith towards a political status that would create faith in future negotiations…” according to the approved text…
The legislators also rejected the existence of “unilateral lists imposed by the imperialist U.S. government and other colonizing countries which consider freedom movements and other insubordinate states as terrorist.” – [ed. Personal translation]
The Colombian government has yet to reply to the Assembly’s statement though a pair of political analysts interviewed by RCN said that the measure could lead to the FARC and ELN establishing “embassies” on Venezuelan soil.
Image- BBC News
Sources (English)- BBC News
Sources (Spanish)- Clarin, El Tiempo, RCN
“fully implement measures that over time will lead to the attrition of our illegal immigrant population and…also pledge to make security of our borders top priority in my administration.”Huckabee has increased the rhetoric on immigration while campaigning in South Carolina. During an appearance on Tuesday, he advocated ending all immigration from countries that harbor or sponsor terrorists.
A new poll in South Carolina released yesterday showed that Huckabee and Senator John McCain are in a statistical dead heat.
Sources- Baltimore Sun, FOX News, Washington Times, boston.com
* A three-hour shootout between armed men and police in Tijuana ended with the execution-style deaths of six hostages.
* Latin America could be heading for an arms race according to this article from the Christian Science Monitor.
* A human rights group study found that violence in Venezuelan prisons went up in 2007.
Sources- Christian Science Monitor, Bloomberg, The Latin Americanist, Al Jazeera, Associated Press
Image- Guardian UK (“A Mexican policeman guards children during a stand-off against hit men in Tijuana.”)
Thursday, January 17, 2008
(Video link):Source- YouTube
Brazilian police claimed to have sufficient evidence to back their suspicions of the accused:
According to police inspector Juliano Ferreira, the parents "received money in exchange for allowing their sons to be sexually abused by the American and Brazilian couples."
Ferreira said such photos were found in both homes and included images of children allegedly victimized by the couples. He said police have identified 12 of those minors…
All of the boys lived in poor neighborhoods near the colony, police said.
Ferreira said that police found "DVDs and CDs containing hundreds of photographs of young boys posing nude or having sex with each other."
Sources- Associated Press, MSNBC
The Cuban Commission for Human Rights study on 2007 said that there were 82 fewer political prisoners since Raul Castro took over in July 2006. Nevertheless, the group claimed that there has been no improvement in Cuba’s human rights record during Raul’s rule:
"This sort of provisional government has done nothing to change the very bad situation of civil, political and economic rights that has exited in Cuba for more than four decades," the commission said, adding that authorities still deny freedom of expression, assembly and travel…
"Through its enormous repressive apparatus, the Cuban government continues to silence dissident voices and employs all forms of intimidation against militant opponents or ordinary citizen who speak out," the group said.
On a related note, journalism watchdog group Reporters Without Borders demanded the prompt release of 24 journalists jailed in Cuba.
Sources- Reuters, Reporters Without Borders, pr-inside.com, The Latin Americanist
Image- BBC News (“Cuban government supporters (R) chant pro-revolutionary slogans as a group of political prisoners' wives known as Ladies in White (L) march in Havana.”)
"We're trying to deal with it. We've talked to the Mexicans about it, and they're trying to deal with it," Mr Mukasey said.
"What happens is that there is organised rock-throwing to divert border guards, who then become involved in whatever exchanges they're involved in, then you get a bunch of backpackers running across the border with backpacks full of marijuana," Mr Mukasey said.
Image- USA TODAY (“Mexico's Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora, left, shakes hands with U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey during a news conference in Mexico City, Wednesday.”)
Sources- The Latin Americanist, BBC News, Monsters & Critics, New York Times, Reuters
At least it's not about who rightfully claims pisco.
Source : CNN
Image: Peru's President Alan Garcia addressing lawmakers on the issue yesterday in Lima.
Yesterday the U.S. Justice Department ordered the border city to temporarily give up 233 acres of land (for 180 days), the first step in paving the road for a fence creating a physical barrier between that city and Mexico. The Feds had to sue the city for access because local landowners and politicos refused to handover the land. Right now, the land handover will allow government surveyors to begin assessing sites for construction of the fence.
There are hundreds of other lawsuits against other landowners in Texas, California, and Arizona who refuse to give up their lands to the Feds.
The DHS (Department of Homeland Security) is under a congressional mandate to have 670 miles of fencing in place by the end of the year to toughen security on the porous southwestern border. The plan calls for roughly 400 miles of new fencing that will be added to existing barriers.Source : The Seattle Times
*Actor Sean Penn criticized the “increasingly lamebrain” San Francisco Chronicle for publishing an article critical of celebrities close to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
* Stocks throughout Latin America have taken a tumble amidst the global anxiety over the U.S. economy.
* Chile’s legislature approved a proposal to provide pensions for all the country’s workers.
* French firm Alstrom was chosen to build Latin America’s first high-speed rail line in Argentina.
Sources- AFP, Reuters, Associated Press, Bloomberg
Image- Sydney Morning Herald
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
(Video link):Sources- YouTube, Bloomberg
The migrants come through the highly traveled Mona Passage between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Over the last year, 4,300 illegal immigrants have been caught. [In 2006], almost 3,000 have been taken into custody. Most are Dominicans, but increasingly the migrants are Cubans — some 660 [in 2006]…
No one knows for sure how many have died trying to cross the treacherous, 3000-foot deep channel, but it's estimated that as many as 10,000 people attempt to cross it every year.
Image- Georgetown University (“Dominicans crossing the Mona Passage in a yola.”)
Sources- Canadian Press, Dominican Today, Wikipedia, CBS News
On Chavez’ recent comments on the FARC:
In short, Mr. Chávez was endorsing groups dedicated to violence and other criminal behavior in a neighboring Latin American democracy, and associating his agenda with theirs…Latin American leaders who until now have seen in Mr. Chávez a crude populist who buys his friends with petrodollars are faced with something new: a head of state who has openly endorsed an organization of kidnappers and drug traffickers in a neighboring, democratic country.
On international support of Chavez:
Some in Washington, London and Madrid where kidnappings are rare, are happy to embrace Mr. Chávez -- former congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II, for example, can be heard in radio advertisements touting his alliance with the Venezuelan leader. The FARC may think it can similarly find allies. Filmmaker Oliver Stone is already sold: He recently called the FARC "heroic."
On Colombia’s president:
The answer to this logic (by Stone and Kennedy) was provided by the press office of Colombian President Álvaro Uribe, who has been waging what is, in fact, a heroic battle against the brutal gangs that for decades have plagued his country. "The violent groups of Colombia are terrorists because they finance themselves through a business that is lethal to humanity: drug trafficking," the press office said.
So far, neither Chavez or the Venezuelan government has replied to the strongly-worded editorial.
Image- Caribbean Net News
Sources- Washington Post, El Universal, BBC News
"We can give an educated guess that the rodent would have been 3 meters long -- assuming that it was similar to a Capybara (the largest rodent alive today) and taking it into account that large mammals generally have relatively smaller heads. It's tail probably was closer to the one of capybara or guinea pig (very short) and not like a rat," Ernesto Blanco says.
It’s believed that the rodent, named Josephoartigasia monesi, was an herbivore and existed between two and four million years ago.
Image- BBC News
Sources- Guardian UK, Associated Press, CNN, Reuters
* In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
In 1493, Columbus may have brought Europe a new VD.
* Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa unveiled plans to decentralize the federal government and grant more power to provinces.
* Three senior police officials were among the six killed in a series of “linked shootings” in Tijuana, Mexico.
Sources- Wikipedia, Reuters, Bloomberg, Monsters & Critics, BBC News
Image- FOX News
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Last week a new site created in the style of Wikipedia was presented with the aim of teaching the correct use of the Spanish language. Creators of the website, called Wikilengua, have high hopes that their project will be a success:
"The first cyberspace forum that is open and dedicated to bringing together honestly all knowledge about the Spanish language was born today," said Alex Grijelmo, president of the Spanish national news agency Efe, part of the foundation that created the site.
Grijelmo may be on the right track; according to an Efe report, Wikilengua received roughly 35,000 hits within 24 hours after its public unveiling.
Sources (English)- TMCnet.com, Wikipedia, CBC, Wired
Sources (Spanish)- Wikilengua
A joint "task force cervelat" composed of scientists, bureaucrats and industry representatives has been convened to tackle the crisis caused by a shortfall in Brazilian cows' intestines used to encase the nation's favorite sausage, the Swiss meat association said…
But now the lightly smoked sausage has fallen victim to European Union restrictions on the import of cows intestines from Brazil because of fears over mad cow disease — bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE.
Swiss sausage makers are considering suppliers from other countries like Uruguay and Paraguay though they may not enough to cover the quantity that would come out of Brazil. With the possible windfall of selling sausages to droves of hungry tourists during the summer’s Euro 2008 soccer tournament, cervelat makers may have to rely on South America to save their industry.
Image- BBC News
Sources- Associated Press, BBC News, AHN, Wikipedia
Something to tide you over on what seems to be a slow LatAm news day...
Cuba will soon host a variety of visitors, including Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state, who wants to meet with Raul Castro in February, and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who will speak with Raul Castro this week during his visit to the country.
Bertone is the Vatican's most senior member after the Pope. Reuters reports his trip is partially related to the timing: It's the tenth anniversary of the late Pope John Paul II's 1998 trip to Cuba.
The Brazilian president will "sign important agreements in areas of shared interest," according to the article on Granma International's Web site.
Brazil is Cuba's second-largest trading partner.
Sources: Reuters, Granma International
Photo: Reuters, Raul Castro
* Care to find out what “socialism smells like?” Then why not try the new perfume from Spain’s Catalan Socialist Party.
* Less cocaine was intercepted by the U.S. in 2007 from Latin America than the previous year according to new data.
Sources- The Latin Americanist, Xinhua, MSNBC, Guardian UK, Bloomberg, AHN
Image- RFI.com (Alvaro Colom celebrates winning Guatemala’s presidential elections last year)
Monday, January 14, 2008
"For seven years, some of the media and several political sectors have already sentenced Alberto Fujimori. It is important for us to show how much people support him and we will do it with democratic weapons," said Congresswoman Keiko Fujimori, Alberto Fujimori's daughter...
"We are going to collect one million signatures throughout the next year and prove that people do not agree with the lynching of Alberto Fujimori that is taking place," affirmed Keiko.
Sources- Associated Press, Living in Peru, Xinhua, New York Times
Image- People’s Daily Online
In order to try to lessen the load of the millions of applications, the Bush administration approved an “emergency plan” last week. The program would involve rehiring several hundred retired government workers to cut the delay. However, according to one immigration official in an Associated Press article:
Linda Springer, director of the Office of Personnel Management, said Citizenship and Immigration Services estimates it needs 2,500 additional employees over the next few months to meet workload demands.
Image- MSNBC (“People line up outside the Immigration and Naturalization Service office in Detroit in Jan. 2002”)
Sources- Los Angeles Times, MSNBC, New York Times, Associated Press
Ricky Gervais- creator and star of the original “The Office”- told British daily The Sun:
“We stopped making The Office in 2003 but the rest of the world didn’t.
“I won’t be happy until I have seen an Inuit doing David Brent’s dance.”
Casting is underway for the Chilean series though the character of David Brent/Michael Scott will be played by Luis Gnecco.
Sources (English)- The Sun, Guardian UK, Chortle
Sources (Spanish)- El Periodista
Tags - ew.com
Lula’s visit to Cuba is designed to strengthen economic ties between Brazil and Cuba that have grown closer since he became president:
Higher growth rates have led to a surge in imports into Cuba, which almost tripled to $8.92 billion between 2002 and 2006, according to the Brazilian Foreign Affairs Ministry. Cuba's trade deficit widened to $6.35 billion in 2006 from $1.49 billion in 2002.
Brazilian exports to Cuba increased almost fivefold in the same period, reaching $343.8 million in 2006, the Brazilian Trade Ministry said, or about 0.2 percent of Brazil's total exports. Brazil's main exports to Cuba are electrical equipment, sugar, candy and meat products.
Image- The Trumpet
Sources- Reuters, Bloomberg, MercoPress, Granma International
The aftermath of last Thursday’s rescue operation has not been without controversy, unfortunately. Several politicos viewed unfavorably the sympathetic comments made by Venezuelan representative Ramón Rodriguez Chacín to the FARC guerillas during the handover. Even more controversial was a speech made by Hugo Chavez on Saturday calling for Colombia’s main rebel groups to be labeled as “armies” and not as terrorists.
Sources (English)- The Latin Americanist, YouTube, BBC News
Sources (Spanish)- El Tiempo
* U.S. First Daughter Jenna Bush traveled to Peru “to work with U.N. children's assistance programs”, according to one source.
* Puerto Rico’s pro-independence movement is not pleased at subpoenas handed down against three activists.
* Italian prosecutors are seeking 139 people involved with several South American dictatorships during the 1970s and 80s.
Sources- International Herald Tribune, newsday.com, Associated Press, The Latin Americanist
Image- MSNBC (“Jenna Bush reads from her recently published book "Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope," before a book signing”)