Friday, June 26, 2009

Notable Quotable: Awarded behind bars

“It is my sincere hope that all political prisoners who remain jailed, including three of today’s award recipients, will be unconditionally released”.
---President Barack Obama called on the Cuban government to open the doors to democracy by freeing all of the country’s political prisoners.

Obama’s remarks came as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) awarded five Cuban dissidents its annual Democracy Award. None of the recipients traveled to Washington to receive their prize since three of them were behind bars while the other two were arrested for trying to organize a protest.

Despite a recent thawing in relations between Cuba and the U.S., one of the awarded dissidents criticized Obama for his “sterile approach” towards the Castro regime.

Online Sources- Miami Herald, Bloomberg, The Latin Americanist, AP

Defense official warns against Iran in LatAm

Another top U.S. defense official has warned against Iranian influence in Latin America.

Echoing similar concerns as Defense Secretary Robert Gates and other top military brass, the head of U.S. Southern Command Gen. Douglas Fraser had this to say:
"The real concern is not a nation-to-nation interaction, it is the connection that Iran has with extremist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah and the potential risk that that could bring to this region," Fraser told journalists ahead of taking up the post…

Commenting on Iran's ties to extremist groups in the region, Fraser said: "it is a concern, and it is an issue we will continue to monitor for any increasing activity."
Since coming into office in 2005, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has strengthened ties with countries like Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba. It remains to be seen how relations will be affected by the recent turbulence in Iran stemming from possibly fraudulent presidential election results.

Image- AFP
Online Sources- The Latin Americanist, AFP, PRESS TV

Legislators advocate for Haitian immigrants

A group of five U.S. lawmakers urged the Obama administration to enact Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian migrants.

The bipartisan delegation of Democratic and Republican Representatives from south Florida traveled to Haiti this week. There, they met with President René Préval and other diplomatic and military officials during the quick one-day visit.

As Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart observed, the White House would do well by revising the State Department travel warning to the Caribbean country as well as granting TPS to an estimated 30,000 Haitians:
"It's a beautiful country, Haiti, with an extraordinary history and one of the ways in which they are going to lift themselves up from poverty is with tourism," the Herald quoted him saying. "I would urge and I will, the Obama administration, the State Department to review that policy because the lack of security that has been at the cause of the warning to U.S. tourists has been improved."
Haitian exile groups, immigrant advocates, and even celebrities have long called for permitting TPS to Haitians. U.S. immigration officials under Obama and his predecessor have continually rejected requests for granting TPS.

Image- LAHT
Online Sources-, The Latin Americanist, UPI, Miami Herald

Daily Headlines: June 26, 2009

* Brazil: A late Dani Alves strike was just enough for Brazil to make it to the Confederations Cup final and face the U.S. in a rematch.

* Latin America: Should the International Monetary Fund be scrapped and replaced with a region wide body? Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa thinks so.

* Mexico: In the latest outbreak of violence the bodies of four people including two policemen were found abandoned in the state of Guerrero.

* Caribbean: A Dominican boat captain was sentenced to over nine years in jail for participating in a smuggling operation that ended with six deaths.

Image- AP (“Brazil's Daniel Alves reacts after scoring a goal during their Confederations Cup semifinal soccer match against South Africa at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, Thursday, June 25, 2009. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)”)
Online Sources- UPI, MSNBC, AFP, BBC Sport

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Today’s Video: Good bye Mike

It is very rare when one sees a figure so iconic that he not only excels in his profession but catches the attention of the public for both good and bad reasons. Such was the case of pop music legend Michael Jackson who died Thursday at the age of 50.
His talent as a gifted musician led him to transcend his industry and to be placed onto a high pedestal by his admirers. His life was tragic not only in his being exploited by so many sycophants but also due to his own foibles and shortcomings. Tonight his millions of fans and others will take a moment to remember him and mourn his passing.

(Yes, I’m aware that plenty of deaths happen daily and there are lots of unsung heroes who are not recognized for the lives they led. Furthermore, Jackson has nothing to do with Latin America per se. Yet his life, and his subsequent death, surely touched a nerve in even the most casual observer which is why we’ve briefly discussed his passing.)

Online Sources- CNN, YouTube, MSNBC

White House keeps flaking on immigration reform

During last year’s U.S. presidential election both Barack Obama and John McCain went out of their way to ignore the topic of immigration. (Except for a few ads, naturally). Once in the Oval Office, Obama has done very little on immigration despite lip service over claims that he backs “comprehensive immigration reform”.

Despite calls for something to be done, the possibility of immigration reform being debated (much less voted on) in Congress this year appears to be less and less.
Faced with what could be a backlash over inaction, the White House has started covering their backs:
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said today that there is not enough support in Congress now to pass a comprehensive immigration bill providing a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, though he would not rule out adoption of such a measure by the 2010 elections.

Speaking at a breakfast meeting with Washington-based reporters, Emanuel said one of the reasons the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and proponents of an immigration overhaul asked for a meeting at the White House later today "is because the votes aren't there."

"If the votes were there, you wouldn't need to have the meeting," Emanuel said. "You'd go to a roll call [vote]."
Actually, Rahm, could it be that the reason that there’s going to be yet another meeting with the CHC is because the White House continues to move the goalposts on immigration reform? Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle have admitted that they would be willing to debate the issue as early as this autumn. Will the White House continue to keep delaying reform and pass the blame onto legislators?

In short, how much longer must we wait?

Image-The Independent
Online Sources- Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, The Latin Americanist

Honduras: Uproar over armed forces firing (Updated)

Update (10:15pm):
Despite being ordered by the Supreme Court to restore the armed forces chief President Manuel Zelaya vowed to defy the tribunal's orders.

This is not good.

Original Post:
Earlier today we alluded to how the political situation has heated up over President Manuel Zelaya’s plans to reform the Honduran constitution. The situation came to a boil today with the firing and possible return of the armed forces head.

Four days before a constitutional referendum is to take place, Zelaya fired the armed forces chief and the Minister of Defense after both officials refused to back Zelaya. "There is a crisis generated by some sectors who have promoted destabilization and chaos with the intent of causing serious problems for democracy in Honduras," Zelaya said last night in a televised speech. In a move of solidarity the heads of the Army, Navy, and Air Force subsequently quit; thus leaving a crisis of power in the Central American country’s powerful armed forces.

Moments ago, however, the country’s top court intervened and ordered Zelaya to reinstate the armed forces head:
The Supreme Court reinstated Gen. Romeo Vasquez as head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff a day after Zelaya fired him for refusing to support Sunday's referendum, which is meant to measure voter support for possible constitution reforms.

Court President Jorge Rivera warned that if Zelaya does not honor the court ruling, "he will have to face penal consequences."'

The top court, Congress and the attorney general say the vote is illegal because it would violate constitutional clauses barring some reforms.
For his part, Vazquez said that he respected Zelaya’s decision though warned that the president is violating Honduran law.

The nonbinding referendum would ask voters if they want to move ahead and permit an assembly to make a new constitution.

Image- BBC News
Online Sources- Monsters & Critics, AP, CNN, BBC News

Congress to examine Puerto Rican status vote

Puerto Rican politicos traveled to Capitol Hill yesterday and argued for and against a congressionally ordered referendum to decide the island’s political status.

The Puerto Rico Democracy Act of 2009 was recently introduced to the House of Representatives for debate. If approved, Puerto Ricans on the island would get a two-tiered vote on whether to keep the island as a commonwealth or change the political status to an independent country or the 51st U.S. state. It’s vital to note the double-edged nature of the vote since Congress, not the Puerto Rican electorate, would have the final say on the island’s future. (Some vote, huh?)

Opponents of the proposal like Puerto Rico's House Minority Speaker Héctor Ferrer and other pro-commonwealth advocates argued that the bill unfairly favors a path to statehood. On the other hand, Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuño (representing the pro-statehood PNP) claimed that a referendum is beneficial:
“The reality is that the island’s current status does not enable the people of Puerto Rico to fulfill their potential for social, economic and political development,” the island’s governor said Wednesday in a hearing of the House Committee on Natural Resources.

Fortuño said that despite the inflow of some $20 billion in U.S. federal assistance each year, Puerto Rico continues to suffer from a chronic problem of low economic performance.

He said the measure presented by Puerto Rico’s non-voting representative to Congress, Pedro Pierluisi, provides for a “just and impartial” process, without taking a position in favor of or against the options on the table.
Puerto Rico was established as a commonwealth in 1952 and since then Puerto Ricans have voted in three plebiscites to continue with that status.

Image- LAHT (Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuño favors a congressionally ordered referendum for the island).
Online Sources- LAHT,, Miami Herald

Daily Headlines: June 25, 2009

* Paraguay: One of the women involved in a paternity suit against priest-turned-president Fernando Lugo alleged that he started their relationship by raping her.

* Honduras: Thousands of people took to the streets of San Pedro Sula to protest President Manuel Zelaya’s desire to reform the Honduran constitution.

* Mexico: “The future of democracy” in Mexico is at stake said President Felipe Calderon in reference to the need to combat rampant violence and crime.

* Bolivia: Police arrested seven members of the country’s Mennonite Christian community and accused them of raping sixty women including several minors.

Image- New Zealand Herald (“Paraguay's President Fernando Lugo (L) and Benigna Leguizamon (R), who alleges Lugo is the father of her six-year-old son (not pictured).”)
Online Sources- Brisbane Times, Guardian UK, LAHT, BBC News

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Today’s Video: Dale gringos!

Alternate title: A funny thing happened on the way to the Confederations Cup final.

In a huge upset, the U.S. won their Confederations Cup semifinals match against Spain by a score of 2-0. The top-ranked team in the world had not lost in a record 35 matches and had not even received a goal against in the run of group play. But that all changed with a gutsy, hard-fought, collective effort by the “stars and stripes” with goals by Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey.

(In a neat twist, Altidore plies his trade for Spanish club Villarreal and spent most of last season sitting on the bench after being loaned to second division side Xerex).

After the game, goalkeeper Tim Howard still couldn’t believe what happened in the frigid South African evening:
"I can't explain it any more than you can," Howard said. "Sports is funny sometimes, but when you put your mind to something, you can achieve it."
The following are highlights of the two goals from Mexican TV; note how excited the announcer is despite U.S. and Mexico being such bitter rivals on the pitch:

Online Sources- AP, Houston Chronicle, BBC Sport, YouTube, USA TODAY

U.S., Venezuela to restore diplomats?

According to Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro the U.S. and Venezuela will restore their respective ambassadors.

While speaking to reporters during the summit of the ALBA trade bloc, Maduro claimed that the move "will take place in the coming days, and as soon as the ambassadors have resumed their functions we will move forward to a more fluid communication." That seemed to be confirmed by source at Venezuela's Foreign Ministry who told Reuters that” Bernardo Alvarez returns to Washington this Friday (and) relations have been reestablished.”

The State Department didn’t confirm or deny Maduro’s claims though spokeswoman Heide Bronke Fulton said that "since Secretary (of State Hillary) Clinton and (Venezuelan President Hugo) Chavez spoke at the Summit of the Americas, both our governments have worked toward the goal of returning ambassadors to our respective capitals."

Both diplomats were sent packing in September after Bolivia’s Evo Morales accused U.S. ambassador Philip Goldberg of conspiring against the Andean sate’s government. Assuming that Maduro is correct, the restoring of ambassadors would mark an improvement in U.S.-Venezuela relations.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said in April, at a summit of the Americas where he met US President Barack Obama for the first time, that he hoped to send an ambassador back to Washington.

Mr. Chavez was a fierce critic of the US under former President George W Bush, accusing Washington of plotting to assassinate him.

But in a sign of warming ties, Mr. Obama shook hands with Mr. Chavez at the summit, and accepted a book from the Venezuelan leader.
Image- China Daily (“Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez (L) greets new US ambassador to Venezuela, Patrick Duddy, at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas in this October 29, 2007 file photo.”)
Online Sources- BBC News, The Latin Americanist, Reuters, AFP

Obama to Chile: No apologies

President Barack Obama refused to apologize over the role that U.S. intelligence played in the 1973 coup d’état against Chilean President Salvador Allende.

After receiving current Chilean leader Michelle Bachelet in the White House, Obama was asked about CIA involvement in Latin America such as the coup that brought Augusto Pinochet into power. Despite admitting that errors have been made in the past, Obama emphasized the need to move ahead in U.S.-Latin America relations:
“I'm interested in going forward, not looking backward," said Obama, who has pledged to reinvigorate ties with Latin America, after what his advisors believe was neglect during the previous Bush administration.

"I think that the United States has been an enormous force for good in the world. I think there have been times where we've made mistakes," Obama said in the Oval Office.

"But I think that what is important is looking at what our policies are today, and what my administration intends to do in cooperating with the region.
(Obama’s remarks were similar to the ones made during the recent Summit of the Americas after being criticized by Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega).

Obama also praised Chile’s improving economy under Bachelet which he described as “a good lesson for the U.S.” Obama also commended Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva for being “a very practical person” and for promoting democratic ideals.

Image- AFP
Online Sources- The Latin Americanist, AFP, Santiago Times, La Plaza, Slate

Miercoles Musical: Wednesday morning Café

One of the most popular and well-known rock en español groups of the past two decades is Mexico’s Café Tacuba. What makes them tick after twenty years in the spotlight? The Los Angeles Times’ Deborah Bonello checks out the band during their recent performance in front of a raucous crowd in Mexico City:

Café Tacuba’s tour stops in Los Angeles tonight, Chicago on Friday, and New York City on Sunday.

Online Sources- Los Angeles Times, Café Tacuba's website

Daily Headlines: June 24, 2009

* Uruguay: The local press revealed that Uruguay’s government quietly paid $42 million in compensation to over 3000 political prisoners who were tortured during that country’s military dictatorship between 1973 and 1985.

* Venezuela: Russia and Venezuela signed an agreement yesterday to start a joint bank with an initial capital of $4 billion.

* Honduras: Honduras became the latest country with a swine flu fatality after a 23-year-old woman died.

* Bolivia: The news director of Bolivian TV channel PAT apologized for mistakenly showing images from “Lost” and claiming that they came from the recently-crashed Air France Flight 447.

Image- CBS News (This 2005 photo shows ex-Uruguayan President Juan Maria Bordaberry who ruled the country during the “Dirty War” period.”)
Online Sources- CNN, The Latin Americanist, AFP, LAHT, CBC

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Today's Video: Behind the threads

Aside from the brief interludes of really cheesy Latino-like music, check out this great interview with fashion designer Isabel Toledo:

If the Cuban-American's name sounds familiar it's most likely due to her designs for First Lady Michelle Obama.

Several ensembles designed by Toledo are currently on exhibit at New York's Fashion Institute of Technology museum.

Online Source- YouTube, New York Daily News, Time

Report: Immigrants key to housing recovery

One of the reasons given for the seemingly perpetual delay in the Obama administration’s ignoring of immigration reform is that it’s more vital for the White House to tackle the terrible state of the economy. Yet such an excuse belies the fact that immigration, legal and otherwise, has a notable impact of the economy.

A report released this week by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies found that the U.S. housing market “faces an uphill climb" to recovery. The study found that high unemployment and consumer debt have hurt the housing market as “sales of both new and existing homes continued to struggle to find a bottom.”

Researchers cited groups such as so-called “echo boomers” as key to maintain a future recovery. Take a guess at who the study also cited:
A perceived strain on government resources has caused some Americans to begrudge the country's immigrant population. But Harvard researchers, in a new white paper released Monday, are saying that a slowdown in immigration could hurt the long-term real estate market…

While the natural ebb and flow of family formations is expected to reinvigorate housing, the unknown variable, future immigration levels, "remain a wild card that could either dampen housing demand or lift production even higher." Fewer people have been moving to the U.S. since job opportunities have slumped, and if this continues "a deep, prolonged recession would likely suppress immigration to levels that are never fully made up.
Furthermore, the report said that “minorities will fuel 73 percent of household growth in 2010-20, with Hispanics leading the way at 36 percent.”

But go ahead and keep up the delays, boys. Your short-sightedness has become a sad joke.

Image- MSN Money
Online Sources- Joint Center for Housing Studies, Christian Science Monitor, Bloomberg, Forbes, Politico

Peru’s Garcia hammered by another protest

Peruvian President Alan Garcia’s level of popularity has hit its lowest point since November as most of his countrymen are upset over the weakening economy and his handling of anti-government protests. Another demonstration in Peru could make things worse for the unpopular leader.

Approximately 3000 miners have blocked off one of Peru’s main highways for a second day as they are upset with the actions of their U.S.-run employer- Doe Run. The company has repeatedly cut the workforce at its smelter in La Oroya much to the chagrin of workers and union reps.

Further complicating matters is that the troubled company has undergone numerous delays in cleaning up massive environmental damage at La Oroya which was to be completed years ago. As losses mount trying to clean La Oroya, the company keeps shedding jobs thus leading to the blockade.

Despite calls for government intervention the Garcia administration has decided against doing so:
Peru's Government reiterated that it has no plans to intervene in the Doe Run mining company (one of the biggest mineral exporters in the country) in order to save it from financial collapse…

“An intervention would be very complicated in terms of responsibilities and financial consequences, because it is very likely that we would have to face international claims,” said Pedro Sanchez (Peru's Minister of Energy and Mining) to a local radio.
Online Sources- Living in Peru, Washington Post, the Latin Americanist, LAHT, Reuters

Bachelet and Obama to Meet Today

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet is in Washington today for a meeting with President Barack Obama.  President Bachelet is seeking to increase dialogue with with the United States, as well as to deepen her understanding of the its' policies towards Latin America.  

"We hope to advance Chile's very promising bilateral relations with the United States," Mariano Fernandez, the Chilean foreign minister, said.  

Bachelet is also scheduled to meet with Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday, as well as Jose Miguel Insulza, general secretary of the Organization of American States.  She will also give a talk at the Brookings Institution today.

Online sources: AFP, Brookings Institution

Coca Cultivation and Cocaine Production Decrease in Colombia

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) announced that coca cultivation and cocaine production in Colombia has sharply decreased.  Cultivation dropped by 18% to 81,000 hectares, while production dropped by 28%, from 600 metric tons in 2007 to 430 metric tons in 2008.  The UNODC attributes this to a decline in the value of the coca leaf for Colombia farmers, as well as successful manual eradication and fumigation tactics.

"Cocaine supply is shrinking, as is demand in major markets in North America while cocaine use in Western Europe has stopped growing," said Antonio Maria Costa, the executive director of the UNODC.  "This may explain why prices are up, and purity is down.  This may also explain why cartels are becoming so violent."

A decline was not the case for two other Andean nations:  Cultivation increased by 6% in Bolivia and 4.5% in Peru.  Their cocaine production levels increased by 9% and 4.1% respectively.

Online sources: UNODC, CNN

Daily Headlines: June 23, 2009

* Mexico: Police have arrested seven local officials and charged them with negligent homicide in the deadly day care fire that killed 47 children.

* U.S.: Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa decided that he will not run for California governor in 2010.

* Latin America: Is President Barack Obama’s apparent change of heart over free trade pacts with Panama and Colombia a sensible move or an ugly flip-flop?

* Chile: Chilean U.N. ambassador Heraldo Muñoz will head a commission to examine the 2007 assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Image- BBC News
Online Sources- UPI, Christian Science Monitor, Bloomberg, MSNBC

Monday, June 22, 2009

Today’s Video: Iran’s “Mister Danger”

With the Iranian authorities clamping down on civil liberties, stifling dissent, and turning a blind eye to police abuses, it would be foolhardy and inhumane for any head of state to solidly back Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Sadly, it’s a lesson that one Latin American leader has decided to ignore:

Online Sources- BBC News, UPI, Al Jazeera English, Reuters

Mexico close to decriminalizing some drug use

According to the Los Angeles Times, Mexico’s government is moving to decriminalizing the personal possession of certain narcotics.

The proposal to allow people to carry small amounts of drugs like cocaine and marijuana was debated and approved in April by the Mexican Congress. The bill awaits the approval of President Felipe Calderon who, coincidentally, was the impetus behind the legislation.

Despite the high amount of violence in Mexico stemming from drug gangs, the Calderon administration believes that the decriminalization measure will help combat crime:
(Calderon’s) reasoning: It makes sense to distinguish between small-time users and big-time dealers, while re-targeting major crime-fighting resources away from the consumers and toward the dealers and their drug lord bosses.

"The important thing is . . . that consumers are not treated as criminals," said Rafael Ruiz Mena, secretary general of the National Institute of Penal Sciences. "It is a public health problem, not a penal problem."
Though the U.S. and Mexico have vowed greater cooperation in order to stem drug-related violence, it remains to be seen how the White House will react to the decriminalization plan. It was only three years ago that Calderon’s predecessor- Vicente Fox- tried to push through his own decriminalization bill but he quickly backtracked after being pressured by the Bush administration.

Image- Guardian UK
Online Sources- Guardian UK, The Latin Americanist, Los Angeles Times

“Time to rethink celibacy” says priest-turned-president

After fathering at least one child during his time as a priest, who better than Paraguayan president Fernando Lugo to give his views on celibacy:
“I believe that it’s time to rethink celibacy in Latin America and the world” declared Lugo…

“Celibacy is a value within the Catholic Church that needs to be recognized as a sign of God’s realm. (Yet) when that sign is lost then I think we must rethink celibacy in Latin America and the world. I think that the most recent incidents should call us and the Church to have a serene reflection over the value of celibacy” insisted Lugo in an interview with Chilean daily El Mercurio. – [ed. personal translation]
Lugo added that he now “assumed the consequences” of having fathered a child with 26-year-old Viviana Carillo two years ago. Last week, a local judge allowed that child to adopt his dad’s name with Lugo’s explicit permission.

Two other women have gone to court in paternity suits claiming that Lugo fathered their children. In one of those cases, Lugo has refused to take a court-ordered DNA test.

Online Sources- Clarin, La Nacion, BBC Mundo, The Latin Americanist, Washnigton Examiner

Venezuela opposition unveils anti-crime plan

The head of Venezuela’s opposition has called on President Hugo Chavez to declare a “national emergency” against crime.

Blaming the Chavez administration for engaging in “ostrich politics”, Un Nuevo Tiempo (UNT) leader Omar Barbosa laid out a wide-ranging plan to combat crime. This would include strengthening local law enforcement bodies, promoting cultural activates as an alternative to violence, and forcing the federal government to “renounce using aggressive dialogue”.

One pro-Chavez news piece blasted the UNT and Barbosa’s anti-crime strategy:
Who do they really want to take weapons away from? Certainly the well-off classes are armed and I’m not afraid (or should I be) to say that their “armed to the teeth.” Do they truly believe that these people will yield their right to “defend” themselves so easily? Could it be that the emergency plan it to violently attack the poorest communities of our large cities? – [ed. personal translation]
According to the AP, crime has become the top concern among Venezuelans and that the government “has stopped releasing annual murder figures.”

The UNT was formed earlier this month in order to create a “unified platform” against Chavez and his allies. According to Spanish daily ABC, the UNT is made up of ten political parties from different parts of the political spectrum. Though the next elections will be for local offices next year, the UNT aims to become a “permanent movement”.

Image- New York Times (2006 photo of “a Venezuelan policeman detaining men in Caracas.”)
Online Sources- ABC, Radio Mundial, eTaiwannews, BBC Mundo, El Espectador, El Nacional

”Lost” in translation over Flight 447 crash

Bolivian news network PAT recently uncovered what they considered as “exclusive” photos taken from the ill-fated Air France Flight 447 which crashed off the Brazilian coast weeks ago. If the photos appear vaguely familiar to you that’s because they are images from the fictional Oceanic Airlines accident on the popular television series “Lost”:

Not only was PAT fooled by the photos of Evangeline Lily and co. but so was Dutch radio station BNR who “called the photos reliable.”

As the urban rumors research site noted, the fake crash photos were first used as a hoax for a 2006 mid-air collision over Brazil which left over 150 dead.

Officials have thus far identified eleven of the fifty bodies recovered from the Flight 447 accident; ten of the deceased were ID'd as Brazilian.

Online Sources- The Latin Americanist, YouTube, Gawker,, BBC News

Daily Headlines: June 22, 2009

* Ecuador: President Rafael Correa said that he would consider allowing Ecuador to throw out foreign oil firms that sue the state in international courts.

* Peru: President Alan Garcia’s popularity has hit its lowest point in eight months as people are indignant over his handling of anti-government protests.

* Mexico: Over 1500 additional troops have been sent to the border city of Ciudad Juarez in an attempt to stop drug-related violence.

* U.S.: Portugal could join fellow E.U. members Italy and (possibly) Spain in taking in detainees from the Guantanamo prison camp.

Image- CNBC
Online Sources- The Latin Americanist, LAHT, Washington Post, ABC Online, AHN