Friday, January 2, 2009

The key to deportation: nudity

We end our week with the following story which, yes, speaks for itself:
Juliana Lima, the Brazilian woman who scandalized Bolivians earlier this week when she stripped at the foot of the Christ the

Redeemer monument in the eastern city of Santa Cruz to get police to deport her, got her wish and is headed home, officials said…

Lima stripped early in the morning on Monday, hoping that police would immediately deport her because she lacked documents and a passport, but officers released her after two hours…

The Brazilian woman returned to the monument later in the morning and stripped once again, causing a traffic jam.
The moral: if you don’t succeed, strip again.

Online Sources- LAHT

Beyond the Americas: English athletes support Palestine charity

The sport of soccer is sometimes referred to as “the beautiful game”. Beyond glamorous goals and stunning saves, the saying becomes especially true when a charitable effort is involved:
Shirts worn by players in an FA Cup tie tomorrow will be the unlikely advertising hoarding for the plight of Palestinians. Kettering Town will have the slogan Palestine Aid emblazoned on their kit to show their support for Interpal, a charitable organization which distributes aid in the Palestinian territories.

"We are trying to raise awareness and charitable funds for the refugees in Palestine," Imraan Ladak, the Kettering chairman, said of the association with Interpal that began before the escalation last month of the conflict in Gaza.

Ladak, 30, chief executive of a recruitment business based in Milton Keynes, has no personal links with Palestine. "I just think there are certain areas in the world that are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance, for whatever reason," he said, "and Palestine is the one that's suffering the most.
Some soccer club uniforms are littered with all sorts of sponsors which makes a player look like a walking billboard. Other clubs (like my favorite team) are actually named after a particular sponsor. Yet in recent years some clubs have opted to enter into partnerships with charitable groups like the case of F.C. Barcelona and Argentine side Boca Juniors with UNICEF.

Image- Guardian UK
Online Sources- UNICEF, The Offside – Red Bull New York,, Guardian UK, IHT

Venezuela oil income boosted in ‘08

The price of oil may have plummeted over the latter part of 2008 and Venezuelan oil output may have fallen by nearly 1 million barrels over the past decade. Yet Venezuelan officials claimed that oil income skyrocketed last year.

Officials with Venezuelan state-run oil firm Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) said that oil income grew by 225% over the first nine months last year. Despite the troubles with oil prices in the latter part of 2008, PDVSA saved $10.8 billion of the $12.14 billion profit which will be used to pay for the country’s vast social programs:
President Hugo Chavez's socialist government relies on Venezuela's vast oil reserves for roughly half its federal budget and 94 percent of exports.

PDVSA payments to Chavez's numerous social programs dropped 52 percent to $2.1 billion in the first nine months, the report said. But Caracas-based economist Pavel Gomez said Chavez can fulfill his promise not to slash public aid projects by drawing on other resources.

"The government has money saved in funds that can finance social spending," he said.
In addition, PDVSA officials boasted that Venezuela’s oil reserves will allow the country to be the world’s top oil producer by the end of the year.

Despite the massive oil income, Venezuela’s government is planning an “austere” budget for 2009; one step in that direction was Wednesday’s edict by President Hugo Chavez to slash the foreign currency allotment for Venezuelans traveling abroad.

Image- BBC News
Online Sources- Prensa Latina, Bloomberg, AP, The Telegraph,

Zapatistas Celebrate 15 Years Since Chiapas Uprising

It was 15 years ago that the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional began a new era in grassroots struggles in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas.

The Zapatistas made themselves known and linked the poverty that exists among the communities of Chiapas to the global economy the same day that NAFTA went into effect, January 1, 1994. The EZLN took a revolutionary approach against the Mexican government to reclaim indigenous rights in the area and while the Mexican mainstream media focuses on how no official agreement between the Zapatistas and Mexico's government has been reached since the San Andres Accords, that acknowledged some Indigenous rights, the ELZN was successful in creating 32 autonomous areas and building a movement that has global support.

Sources : Global Voices, VivirMexico
, el Universal

Evo Morales defends ambassador’s expulsion

Last September, Bolivia was involved in a diplomatic row against the U.S. that included the expulsion of Ambassador Philip Goldberg (image) from La Paz. Shortly after being booted from Bolivia, Goldberg defended his actions and denied accusations that he encouraged Peace Corps volunteers to act as spies.

Earlier this week, Bolivian president Evo Morales backed his decision to remove Goldberg:
Bolivian President Evo Morales said Tuesday that the September expulsion of U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg was "a success and not a mistake because it "thwarted” an opposition coup plot.

At an evaluation meeting of his third year as president, Morales said that he did not make a mistake in deciding the "ambassador had to go," after his party "had endured the assault of the (Bolivian) right-wing."
Though the diplomatic crisis represented one of several low points between Morales and the White House in 2008, Morales admitted that relations could improve under an Obama administration. "I'm really hopeful ... We need the United States although maybe they don't need Bolivia," Morales mentioned roughly a month before Barack Obama ascends to the U.S. presidency.

Image- BBC News
Online Sources- The Latin Americanist, Xinhua, Reuters

Guatemala: Thousands deported from Mexico, U.S.

Oftentimes the immigration debate regarding Mexico emphasizes those who cross the country’s northern border into the U.S. Yet that overlooks the problems regarding migrants from Central American countries like Guatemala crossing into Mexico.

Mexico’s seemingly out-of-control drug violence has spilled over into neighboring countries south of its border. "If the Guatemalan authorities are unable to stop the infiltration of Mexican drug cartels in two years they could take over Guatemala City," said the chief of the UN's International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala to BBC News. Guatemalan officials plan to deploy several hundred troops along the border to contain the incoming violence.

The increasing violence and the weakening economy are two of the main reasons why Guatemalans into Mexico. Some of these migrants subsequently try to make their way into the U.S. though the immigration crackdown in both countries has made it much more difficult:
Mexico deported more illegal Guatemalan migrants than the U.S. in 2007 and 2008, according to information reaching here from Guatemala City on Thursday.

In 2008, Mexico repatriated 36,362 Guatemalans, a 26.5 percent reduction from a year ago, while the United States deported 27,929people, which represented a 21 percent increase, the General Direction of Migration from Guatemala (DMG) said.

In 2007, Mexico deported 49,475 Guatemalans and U.S. deported 23,062.
One of the downsides to the increased migration from Central America is the reported abuses committed by Mexican immigration authorities.

Image- (“A Guatemalan deportee has his US ID tag removed by a Guatemalan immigration official after disembarking from the plane upon arrival 06 August, 2007 at a Guatemalan Air Force base south from Guatemala City.”)
Online Sources- Latina, MSNBC, BBC News, AFP, Xinhua, Americas Society/Council of the Americas

Cuba: Fifty years of revolution

Yesterday marked the fiftieth anniversary of the Cuban Revolution where Fidel Castro led his rebel army to overthrow dictator Fulgencio Batista.

Cubans on the island celebrated to mark the occasion as President Raul Castro praised the revolution while noting that “it is time to reflect on the future.” Castro’s remarks came during a ceremony that included an 18-minute documentary on his brother Fidel who has not been seen in public since July 2006.

For Castro and his supporters the past fifty years have been successful and have brought great social and economic prosperity to Cuba. The mood is far different for exiles that have left the country:
Miami restaurant owner Ailin Fernandez left Cuba more than 20 years ago. She longs to return home and open a restaurant in the beach town of Varadero, but not under the current government…

Others, like Giselle Palacios, 18, have come to Miami to escape political persecution on the island. As the daughter of prominent dissidents, she fled after being kicked out of college for her political activities.
The future of Cuba remains to be seen; several Latin American nations have strengthened ties with the island and are shying away from isolationism. The recent discovery of offshore oil fields may boost the country’s sagging economy. The incoming Obama administration could help ease the hard line in U.S.-Cuba relations though that will also depend on the Cuban government’s efforts.

Cuba’s revolution has reached the fifty-year mark despite seemingly insurmountable odds. Will it make it to its centenary anniversary in 2059?

Image- The Age
Online Sources- BBC News, AFP, Voice of America, Reuters, Xinhua, NPR

Daily Headlines: January 2, 2009

* Colombia: Warner Brothers and Sony Pictures are vying to make a film based on the July 2008 rescue of Ingrid Betancourt and fourteen other hostages from the Colombian jungle.

* Nicaragua: This month Nicaragua will begin operating 19 windmills designed to contribute 6% of the country’s power.

* Peru: Peru’s main stock index plunged by 60% in 2008, more than any other Latin American index.

* El Salvador: Salvadoran troops stationed in Iraq are expected to start returning home by the end of this month or early February.

Image- Guardian UK
Online Sources- AFP, Reuters, Xinhua, MSNBC

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Daily Headlines: January 1, 2009

* Mexico: Mexican immigration agents commit a litany of abuses against Central American migrants according to a damning report by the country's National Human Rights Commission.

* Chile: Chilean unions vow to boycott the country’s biggest grocer which was recently purchased by Wal-Mart.

* Venezuela: A Venezuelan man is suing U.S. immigration authorities after he claimed that he was illegally deported twice.

* Nicaragua: Could President Daniel Ortega become Latin America’s version of Robert Mugabe or is the author of this op/ed piece exaggerating?

Image- (“Illegal immigrants travel in a train heading north, on their way to the U.S. in Arriaga, southern Mexico, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2008.”)
Online Sources- Brownsville Herald, Bloomberg,, MSNBC

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Your headlines of 2008

Over two weeks this month you voted for the top headlines of the year based on a variety of topics. Fifty-two votes were made as dozens of our readers let their voices be heard. Thanks to those who participated in our poll and many thanks to you, our readers, for making this blog worth the effort.

Here are the final results:

1st - 25%
  • Violence is out-of-control in Mexico
2nd - 21.15%
  • Ingrid Betancourt and fourteen other hostages are rescued
3rd - 9.62%
  • Regional economic growth slowed by the global financial crisis
4th – 5.77%
  • Fernando Lugo is elected to the Paraguayan presidency
5th (tied) – 3.85%
  • Argentine farmers strike against the government.
  • Authorities turn the screw on Puerto Rican "macheteros”
  • China strengthens ties to Latin America.
  • Honduras, Bolivia, Venezuela, and the U.S. are in a diplomatic spat
  • Junot Diaz wins the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
10th (tied) – 1.92%
  • Broadway audiences love “In the Heights”
  • Electoral fraud alleged in Nicaragua.
  • Haiti’s poverty (somehow) worsens.
  • Immigration is an ignored topic during presidential campaigns.
  • Latino voters pivotal during U.S. elections
  • Leaders debate pros and cons of free trade
  • No significant changes in Cuba under Raul Castro.
  • Raul Reyes killed across the border in Ecuador
  • Russia’s president tours several Latin American countries
  • Unrest does not stop in Bolivia.
May you all have a happy new year; see you tomorrow!

Image- Time (Mexico’s rampant and seemingly never-ending violence was cited by blog readers as the top news story of 2008)

De Musica Ligera: Tunes of ‘08

2008 is about to come to an end but before that why not enjoy some primo songs from the past year? Juanes, Sergio Mendes, and Julieta Venegas were a few of the great artists who released new and exciting music over the past year. The wide range of tunes released this year by Latin American/Latino musicians can satisfy just about every musical taste as evidenced by some of the exceptional songs below:
Image- (Colombian rockeros Aterciopelados were one of several great musical groups with new albums and music in 2008)
Online Sources- The Latin Americanist,

Daily Headlines: December 31, 2008

* Brazil: As Israel continues a fourth day of air strikes on Gaza, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is trying to coordinate an international diplomatic effort to stop the attacks.

* U.S.: Less than a month after Bernard Madoff’s fraud was publicized officials uncovered anther pyramid scheme that bilked thousands of investors from Florida's Haitian-American community.

* Colombia: A U.S. federal appeals court upheld a verdict absolving Drummond coal company from the murders of three Colombian labor leaders.

* Mexico: Mexican officials lifted the suspensions on meat imports from twenty U.S.-based processors.

Image- AP (“A Palestinian woman checks the damage to her house following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008”).
Online Sources- The Latin Americanist, Bloomberg, WTVM, Xinhua, Reuters

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Today’s Video: “Por favor señor fondle my butt”

Of all the personal joys I feel writing for this blog one of the most satisfying is the “Daily Video” series. Numerous types of videos have been featured over this past year on diverse subjects like at guerilla warfare, music with political messages, or racist TV shows of yore. Whether it be on purpose or merely accidental it is truly amazing to watch these videos.

For me the most memorable video of the year was one I stumbled upon while goofing off one evening on YouTube. It is from the brilliant, much-missed “Mystery Science 3000” where Tom Crow and company poke fun at a so-bad-its-good documentary. The 1960s era film shows the tribulations of a gringo who travels to Maracaibo and is contracted to work on a Venezuelan offshore oil field.

(Video link):

Ah satire!

Sources- The Latin Americanist, YouTube

Homicide rate skyrockets on Puerto Rico

2008 has not been a banner year for law enforcement on Puerto Rico:
Puerto Rico's homicide rates so far this year have surpassed 800 victims, 80 more homicides than reported in 2007 and the highest homicide rate in over a decade.

This weekend alone police reported that two homicide victims were found on Saturday and three others on Sunday.

So far, this year police have reported 802 homicides or Type 1 Crimes. According to police authorities Puerto Rico's highest homicide rates were reached in 1996 when some 868 violent deaths were reported.
Last year the Justice Department dispatched additional officers to fight crime on the Puerto Rican capital of San Juan yet that has been ineffective.

Police superintendent Pedro Toledo has called for a "serious" analysis to be done to examine the social roots of crime, while an increasing number of Boricuas are advocating changes to “the traditional, exclusively punitive system of dealing with criminals.”

Image- MSNBC (“Men carry the casket of Puerto Rican nationalist Filiberto Ojeda Rios (in 2005) as a crowd of supporters look on in eastern Puerto Rico.”)
Online Sources- MSNBC, LAHT, Caribbean Net News

Archives: Brits covered up Falklands incursion

Four years before the Falklands War British leaders attempted to cover up an Argentine invasion onto the disputed islands.

Top secret British documents from 1978 were declassified this week and painted a picture of a weak British defense. "Heaven help us if there is a war!" exclaimed then-prime minister James Callaghan whose government worried over possible Soviet attacks and dropped the ball on building Iranian unrest.

In early 1978, British authorities found out that Argentina established a secret military base on a “barren, uninhabited dependency” near the Falklands. British officials worried that word of the fake “scientific” base would leak out, upset residents on the Falklands, and derail sovereignty negotiations between Britain and Argentina.

As The Telegraph noted:
David Owen, James Callaghan's Foreign Secretary, feared that revelations about what he accepted was a "violation of British sovereignty" on Southern Thule would derail talks between the two countries about the future control of the Falklands themselves…

"We were concerned that the Argentine base on Southern Thule would become public knowledge," Lord Owen told the embassy in Buenos Aires on February 17, following the three-day talks…

"In the event of a leak … the British Government would need to make it clear publicly that they had protested to Argentina about a violation of British sovereignty.
The fake scientific base would remain in Argentine control until the British took over as part of the Falklands War in 1982. Argentine relations with Britain have gradually improved though diplomatic problems have continued over renewed calls of argentine sovereignty to the Falklands.

Image- BBC News (One of the recently declassified British National Archive documents)
Online Sources- Bloomberg, Guardian UK, The Telegraph, Voice of America

Hiroshi Nohara finally leaves Mexican airport

Do you remember the curious case of Hiroshi Nohara?

The Japanese traveler had stayed in Mexico City’s Benito Juarez airport since September sleeping on the ground and spent his days lingering in the food court. Yet unlike Merhan Karimi Nasseri (an Iranian who was “stuck” at Paris’ De Gaulle Airport for eighteen years) Nohara voluntarily stayed at the Juarez airport and could leave whenever he wished. (Would that make Nohara an attention whore?)

On Sunday Nohara finally left though under seemingly odd circumstances:
“Another Japanese person came for him yesterday, and they left in a taxi after spending 117 days in the airport,” said Victor Manuel Mejia, head of the airport’s press office. “We can’t remember any similar cases in the past, it was totally atypical”…

Nohara may have gone home with a woman who visited him often and invited him to stay at a house in the city’s Colonia del Valle neighborhood, newspaper Reforma reported today. The paper published a photo of Nohara walking to a cab with an unidentified woman.
Image- (“Hiroshi Nohara, 40, from Tokyo, is seen at the international airport in Mexico City November 27, 2008.”)
Online Sources- The Latin Americanist,, AFP, Bloomberg

ESPN: Cuban baseball stars defected

According to ESPN a pair of highly touted Cuban baseball players has defected from the island.

Based on this article on ESPN’s website, Cuban pitcher Yadel Marti and outfielder Yasser Gomez fled the island and are in hiding on the Dominican Republic. The pair had already been booted from Cuba’s domestic baseball league after they tried to escape Cuba by boat.

Both players will reportedly be able to skip the Major League Baseball draft and can be contracted by the highest bidding team. (In other words, at least one of them will likely sign an overpaid contract with the Yankees).

Marti and Gomez will surely be sought after, especially when noting Marti’s stellar performance in the last World Baseball Classic (image):
Marti, 29, was the star pitcher in Cuba's runner-up showing at the 2006 World Baseball Classic, the first global event with Major League Baseball talent featuring players competing for their homelands.

Marti went 1-0 in the 2006 tournament with two saves and a 0.00 earned-run average while not allowing a run in 12 2.3 innings. The Cubans lost to Japan in the championship game while the US hosts could not even reach the semi-finals.
Image- BBC Mundo
Online Sources- AFP, ESPN, Deadspin,

Chile to sue over false disappeared

The Chilean government plans to sue the families of three people who claimed to have disappeared during the Pinochet dictatorship but were later found out to be lying.

Investigations by victims rights groups revealed that three of those listed among the 1800 officially disappeared had either lived years after Pinochet ceded power or had died in 1955. Some of the families of the false disappeared had received government funds for victims of the regime; thus, the government has taken to the courts to see if there are any more fake claims.

President Michelle Bachelet- who was tortured herself during the military regime and whose father was killed for dissent- vowed that she will not “permit that this historic truth is thrown into doubt.”

It remains to be seen what the Chilean judicial system plans to do about the false disappeared scandal, especially after a pair of controversial Supreme Court rulings on Friday:
The Chilean Supreme Court has reduced sentences handed down to five agents of the country's 1973-1990 military regime for the disappearance of two leftists, judiciary officials said…

On Jan. 21, an appeals court in Santiago had upheld a 15-year sentence given to ex-DINA chief retired Gen. Manuel Contreras and two erstwhile colonels, Marcelo Moren Brito and Rolf Wenderoth.

But the Supreme Court, in a 3-2 ruling, reduced Contreras' sentence to seven years; the judges also reduced the sentences for Moren and Wenderoth to four years each…

In another 3-2 decision Friday, the Supreme Court ruled against victims' family members who had sued the state for reparations for the dictatorship-era crimes.
Image- BBC News (2001 image of Chileans calling for justice for Pinochet-era disappeared)
Online Sources- BBC News, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, AFP, LAHT

Daily Headlines: December 30, 2008

* Argentina: Memorial services are expected to take place to commemorate the fourth anniversary of a deadly Buenos Aires nightclub fire that killed 194 people.

* Spain: Hundreds of Cubans lined up outside the Spanish embassy in Havana in order to apply for a special program granting Spanish citizenship.

* Venezuela: The country’s economy grew by its lowest rate in five years according to central bank figures.

* Mexico: Billionaire telecom tycoon Carlos Slim denied reports alleging that he will buy the Honda Formula One team.

Image- BBC News (Ambulances transported over 700 injured from the Republica Cromagnon nightclub fire on December 30, 2004).
Online Sources- Guardian UK, Voice of America, Bloomberg, AFP, The Latin Americanist

Monday, December 29, 2008

Today's Video: Predicting the obvious

The following video from MSNBC looks at predictions made by Peruvian shamans for the upcoming year including further economic troubles for the U.S. and that incoming president Barack Obama's "conciliatory" government will help bring world peace:

In other predictions made by the shamans* conflict will continue in the Middle East, clouds are fluffy, and the sun settles in the east.

* (Okay, so I made that up for comic effect).


Mexico suspends U.S. meat imports

Three months ago the U.S. suspended the meat imports from seven Mexican processing plants. According to U.S. authorities, the move was done so that Mexican factories could improve their sanitary conditions.

Last week, Mexican officials suspended imports from thirty U.S. processors. They too cited issues of unsanitary factory conditions and the move led to a sharp drop in U.S. cattle and hog prices on Friday.

Though it may appear that the Mexican’s step was retaliatory, officials on both sides of the border deny it:
The U.S. Agriculture Department has been working with Mexican authorities and U.S. meat shippers to resolve concerns about shipments from certain U.S. meat plants, a spokeswoman said on Friday.

But Mexico's suspension of purchases from 30 U.S. meat plants was not done to retaliate against the U.S. country-of-origin labeling law, known as COOL, said Amanda Eamich of the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service.
Mexico recently joined Canada in filing a World Trade Organization complaint against U.S. meat regulations.

Online Sources- The Latin Americanist, Reuters,

Justice for Dorothy Stang

Last week was the 20th anniversary of the death Brazilian environmental activist Chico Mendes. One unfortunate part of his legacy was the slap on the wrist given to his convicted murderers; a trend which sadly continued with the killers of Dorothy Stang.

Stang was a U.S.-born Brazilian missionary who- much like Mendes- was outspoken in defending the Amazon rainforest. Her activism against landowners would lead to her demise in 2005. Though a Brazilian court convicted the two gunmen hired to kill Stang another tribunal freed one of them last May.

Despite the impunity, the case may be reopened against the alleged masterminded of Stang’s murder. Ironically, the arrest of Regivaldo Galvao was over the land that Stang tried to defend before her death:
Brazilian farmer Regivaldo Pereira Galvao, who was accused of masterminding the murder of U.S.-born Brazilian missionary Dorothy Stang in 2005, was re-arrested Friday for swindle.

He was arrested at his home in Altamira, Para state, for trying once more to claim possession of public land in Anapu, also in Para, according to the state's Federal Prosecutor's Office…

"Galvao's attitude of returning to the crime scene and once more declaring himself the owner of public lands demands the immediate intervention of the state," said Federal Prosecutor Alan Mansur Silva.
Image- MSNBC
Online Sources- The Latin Americanist, CBS News, Xinhua, AP, Global Voices Online, BBC News

Citizenship for Spanish exiles

Spain may be about to start an immigration crackdown affecting thousands of legal migrants from the Americas, yet a new law will help others in Latin America.

Under the country’s Law of Historical Memory, Spanish citizenship will be granted to the thousands of families who fled the country during the Spanish civil war and the Franco dictatorship. An estimated 300,000 in Argentina alone will be eligible for the program along with the decedents of thousands who escaped political persecution and resettled in countries like Uruguay, Chile, and Venezuela.

The application process begins today though some Cubans have lined up early:
In Havana, hundreds of people have been standing in line since Thursday outside the Spanish Embassy to obtain the necessary application forms.

Estimates indicate that some 200,000 Cubans on the island could be eligible for Spanish citizenship.

In South Florida, where about 1.3 million naturalized U.S. citizens of Hispanic origin reside, Santiago Cabañas, Spanish Consul General in Miami, said he believes that thousands may petition for citizenship, especially among the Cuban and Venezuelan communities.
Image- Guardian UK (“Refugees from Spain's civil war: their descendants can now apply for Spanish citizenship. Photograph: Getty Images.”)
Online Sources- BBC News, The Telegraph, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, The Latin Americanist

Republican National Hispanic Assembly splinters

About 20 members of the Nevada Republican National Hispanic Assembly have left the group after the firing of the Las Vegas chapter president.

One former member calls the firing a "power move" by the local business owner who replaced the president.

Lima said Cuban businessman Otto Merida was fired because he did not provide information requested by the group.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, Photo:

LatAm leaders speak out on Israeli air strikes

For the third consecutive day Israeli air strikes have been launched against purported Hamas targets in Gaza, killing approximately 300 people. Reactions worldwide to the actions have included the conciliatory by Pope Benedict XVI, the indignant from several Arab states, and the overtly political by the Bush administration.

Several Latin American governments have also spoken out on the events in Gaza, mainly to condemn Israeli actions:
  • A Cuban government communiqué termed the air strikes as "the bloodiest attack Israel has ever launched against the Palestinian people".
  • Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez condemned what he called “criminal” attacks and criticized the U.S.’ staunch defense of Israel.
  • A Brazilian government statement called on both the Palestinian and Israeli governments to cease the violence and regretted that attacks by both sides have “affected mainly the civilian population.”
  • Argentina's Foreign Ministry lamented the violence and called on Israel to allow humanitarian aid to enter Gaza.
The U.N. General Assembly president also gave his two cents on the Gaza actions. Nicaraguan Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann- who has been in the middle of a diplomatic spat with Israel- reportedly had this to say:
A statement, issued here early Sunday by his spokesperson, said:" The Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip represent severe and massive violations of international humanitarian law as defined in the Geneva Conventions, both in regard to the obligations of an occupying power and in the requirements of the laws of war."

"The behavior by Israel in bombarding Gaza is simply the commission of wanton aggression by a very powerful state against a territory that illegally occupies," the statement said.
Image- BBC News
Online Sources- The Latin Americanist, BBC News, AP, Xinhua, Prensa Latina, CNN, AFP,

Daily Headlines: December 29, 2008

* Haiti: The above photograph of a child walking through a Haitian slum was named as UNICEF’s 2008 “Photo of the Year”.

* Mexico: Organizers of the Queen of Hispanic America pageant stripped the title from Laura Zuniga days after she was arrested in the company of suspected drug traffickers.

* El Salvador: According to government figures 19,701 Salvadorans have been deported this year from the U.S., an increase of almost 5,000 people compared to 2007.

* Venezuela: “We’re preparing a series of measures and initiatives to keep the crisis from whipping us,” said president Hugo Chavez who will continue social spending despite plummeting oil prices.

Image- Spiegel Online
Online Sources- AFP, LAHT, Bloomberg, Global Voices Online, The Latin Americanist