Saturday, March 5, 2011

Cuban court convicts U.S. contractor

According to the Cuban press a court on the island convicted U.S. Agency for International Development worker Alan Gross for spying..

Cuban television reported tonight that Gross was found guilty of illegally supplying satellite phones and other technology to political dissidents. Prosecutors argued that he violated the "integrity and independence of Cuba". But the company he represented while in Cuba, Development Alternatives International, claimed that he was an aid worker contracted to provide Jewish communities with Internet equipment.

Little information has been published about the two-day trial that was conducted behind closed doors. According to BBC News, however, Gross "was said to have looked gaunt in court on Saturday" and he allegedly developed arthritis while in prison.

The conviction of Gross, who has been imprisoned since being arrested in December 2009, could significantly worsen U.S.-Cuba relations. Ties between the countries were gradually improving under the Obama administration, yet the head of U.S. diplomacy blasted Gross' detention by Cuban authorities:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters Friday that Gross had been "unjustly jailed for far too long." He needs to be able to leave Cuba and return home, she said. This is a matter "of great personal pain" to his family and concern to the U.S. government.
Gross' sentence will be determined in the next few days though prosecutors sought a twenty-year prison sentence. He has the right to appeal his punishment in Cuba's highest court.

The need to treat Gross' faltering health (including suffering from ulcers and gouts) brings up the possibility that the Cuban government could advocate a prisoner exchange with the U.S. Yet the State Department last month rejected the possibility of exchanging Gross for one of the "Cuban 5" imprisoned in the U.S. since 1998 on charges of espionage.

Online Sources - AFP, BBC News, The Lattn Americanist, Xinhua, Reuters, CNN
Image - "Handout/AP Photo" via ("This undated family photo released by Judy Gross shows her with her husband Alan Gross, left, in an undisclosed location.")

Weekend Headlines: March 5-6, 2011

* U.S.: Could a “wave of young Hispanic voters” make a difference in upcoming elections throughout the U.S.?

* Mexico: Twenty-year-old Marisol Valdes who last October became police chief of a northern Mexican town has reportedly fled across the border and sought asylum in the U.S.

* Haiti: Presidential candidate Mirlande Manigat bashed the recent resumption of deportations from the U.S. and claimed that it will “lead to an increase in Haiti's crime rate."

* Argentina: UNESCO awarded the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo in recognition of the group’s efforts defending human rights.

Image – Hispanically Speaking News
Online Sources- U.N. News Center, AFP, The Atlantic, The Guardian

Friday, March 4, 2011

Today’s Video: Healing in Haiti

Haitians have gone through their unfair share of misery and difficulties particularly over the past fourteen months. One of the maladies, a cholera outbreak that emerged after last year’s major earthquake, could soon be a thing of the past. According to this video news report, there has been a sharp decline in cholera cases though it’s not mentioned why this decrease is occurring:

Video Source - Reuters
Online Sources- The Latin Americanist

Libya green lights Venezuelan meditation

The armed conflict in Libya keeps escalating as hospitals run low on supplies and several towns surrounding the capital city of Tripoli are under a ‘state of siege”. The window for dialogue between the repressive government and opposition forces seemed to have passed a long time ago. Yet that hasn’t stopped one of Muammar Gaddafi’s few allies from taking a stab at meditation.

Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim said this afternoon that his country’s government would accept Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’ plans for an international mediation commission. According to Reuters, Kaim said the committee could "help the international dialogue and…help the restoration of peace and stability."

Kaim’s remarks were supported by foreign minister Mousa Kousa based on a letter read by his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolas Maduro. “We authorize (the Venezuelan government) to take all the measures necessary to select the members (of the commission) and coordinate participation in this dialogue” read the note from Kousa that was mentioned during a meeting of the ALBA bloc today.

Some ALBA members supported the Chavez plan as one that could help prevent foreign intervention through actions such as an outside military invasion. It remains to be seen how non-ALBA Latin American nations will react to the plan though several governments have been very critical of Gadhafi’s crackdown against protesters.

Chavez first brought up the notion of a “committee of peace” earlier this week after he reportedly communicated with the embattled Libyan leader. Though the Arab League was considering the plan several western countries like the U.S. and France rejected it. “It’s unclear what a commission could accomplish if (Gadhafi) has ignored numerous calls by the international community to resign” asserted State Department spokesman Philip Crowley yesterday.

Some analysts have expressed doubts over Chavez’ call for dialogue; blogger and professor Greg Weeks briefly noted how his attitude towards Libya differed from his reaction at the recent uprising in Egypt. Furthermore, according to this article from Al Jazeera English:
Some see a contradiction between human rights abuses in those regimes and Chavez’s "21st century socialism" ideology.

"While it's understandable that you’d want to build this multipolar world against western imperialism, if that multipolarism consists of Russia, China, and a bunch of authoritarian regimes then what use is a multipolar world?" (author Nicolas) Kozloff said.
Image- AP/Ben Curtis via CBS News (“Armed residents stand on top of a captured tank flying a flag of Libya's monarchy prior to Muammar Qaddafi's reign, in Zawiya, Feb. 27, 2011.”)
Online Sources- Al Jazeera English, EPA,, Two Weeks Notice, The Latin Americanist, Agencia Venezolana de Noticias, Reuters

Oxygen masks removed from airline lavatories says Folha

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is slowly implementing the removal of oxygen masks from commercial airline bathrooms according to the website for Brazilian daily Folha da Sao Paulo.

The article published on the site earlier today claimed that Brazilian air carriers are also complying with the modifications done to a reported 6000 U.S. aircraft. TAM, Gol and Avianca are some of the airlines that are undergoing the changes that apparently must be completed by Saturday.

FAA and U.S. intelligence reportedly found that oxygen masks in bathrooms were “being used by terrorists as explosives.” Hence, the FAA recommends that in the event of depressurization crewmembers have permission to come to the aid of passengers in the lavatories and locate a nearby free oxygen mask.

Though Folha claimed that they obtained the information “exclusively” a similar article was also published today on That article acknowledges that the FAA alerted regional aviation authorities though it doesn’t specify which countries. Nevertheless, the article details the apparent dangers of oxygen masks in airplane bathrooms:
Most carriers have chemical oxygen generators in the lavatories in case a depressurization event occurs in the cabin while the lavatory is in use. The same type of generator is also provided above each seat and can drop down in the event of an emergency. The difference is that a terrorist or disturbed passenger could conceivably tamper with a lavatory generator while unseen by other passengers.
Image- OC Weekly
Online Sources- Folha da Sao Paulo,

Mr. Calderon goes to Washington - Keep on truckin'

In anticipation of Thursday’s meeting between the presidents of Mexico and the U.S., I claimed that it will “take more than a meeting to tackle the many topics between the neighboring states.” Perhaps I spoke to soon after both leaders announced an agreement over a long-standing trade dispute.

Felipe Calderon and Barack Obama agreed yesterday to allow Mexican trucks to cross the border and operate on U.S. highways. Cross-border trucking has been held up since the North American Free Trade Agreement was ratified in 1995. Yet at a White House news conference with Calderon, Obama declared “we have found a clear path to resolve the dispute over trucking between our two countries.”

Under the new arrangement, which requires congressional approval, Mexican truckers planning to cross the border would have to be fluent in English and subject to drug testing. Additionally, their vehicles will be obligated to carry electronic on-board recorders in order to ensure “compliance with hours-of-service and related laws.”

The agreement could have an immediate impact on the U.S. economy in that the Mexican government pledged to drop a number of tariffs placed after a 2009 pilot program was cancelled. According to the White House, Mexico would remove taxes on $2.4 billion worth of imports on goods such as pork, cheese, corn and fruits.

The deal has been met with opposition from some labor unions and independent truckers who worry over the potential loss of jobs and revenue in the U.S. Conversely, the pact was backed by business interests as well as U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar from Texas who praised the “important step to more open, transparent and efficient trade between the two countries.”

Meanwhile, one Mexican truck company owner viewed the deal with cautious optimism:
“I am going to need to analyze it and know how it’s going to function to see if we would participate,” (Transportes Rafa owner Rafael) Godinez Beltran said. “It would open the market for work, but I’m going to wait and see if it can get beyond the politics.”
The meeting between Calderon and Obama comes amid allegations of tense relations between their respective states after Wikileaks revealed U.S. diplomatic cables criticizing Mexican anti-drug efforts.

Image- Gregory Bull/AP via The Seattle Times (“A Mexican truck driver radios his company after taking his rig into the U.S. from Juarez, Mexico.”)
Online Sources- Sydney Morning Herald, BusinessWeek,, Houston Chronicle, The Latin Americanist

Daily Headlines: March 4, 2011

* Brazil: A court rejected another tribunal decision and gave permission for construction to start on a massive dam in the Brazilian rainforest.

* Uruguay: The government rejected allegations uncovered by Wikileaks claiming that officials are involved in a clandestine arms trafficking network between Uruguay, Venezuela and Iran.

* Chile: According to a congressional report the owners of the San Jose mine are mainly to blame for the mine’s collapse last year that trapped 33 workers for over two months.

* Bolivia: President Evo Morales said that he would not permit U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration back into Bolivia after they were expelled in 2008.

Image – Antonio Scorza/AFP/Getty Images via The Guadian (“The region along the Xingu river which will be affected by the Belo Monte dam.”)
Online Sources- BBC News, AHN, The Globe and Mail, People’s Daily Online

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mr. Calderon goes to Washington - A preview

Mexican president Felipe Calderon will visit Washington today in order to meet with his counterpart, Barack Obama, as well as several leaders of Congress. Numerous topics are expected to be discussed such as the “war on drugs”:

As written in this informative article in the AS/COA website, today’s meetings could “refocus the Obama administration’s message of “co-responsibility” in the bilateral fight against drug cartels.” Yet it’s possible that today’s summit may also help address areas like trade, economic affairs and immigration.

As we mentioned last week, Mexican legislators are considering a comprehensive immigration bill that would grant more rights to immigrants both legal and undocumented. This stands in sharp contrast to several state initiatives across the border in the U.S. that seeks to restrict illegal immigration. In Texas, for instance, legislators are considering whether to permit local law enforcement officers to act as federal immigration agents. Other proposals would place a surcharge on remittances to Mexico, which could make a dent on a significant source of income for some Mexican families. Another idea is raising eyebrows for its unique stance on employers who hire undocumented migrants:
As proposed, House Bill 1202 would create tough state punishments for those who "intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly" hire an unauthorized immigrant. Violators could face up to two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

But it is an exception included in the bill that is drawing attention. Those who hire unauthorized immigrants would be in violation of the law -- unless they are hiring a maid, a lawn caretaker or another houseworker.
While today’s summit between the U.S. and Mexican presidents is a step in the right direction it will take more than meeting to tackle the many topics between the neighboring states.

Video Source - YouTube
Online Sources- CNN, The Latin Americanist, AS/COA Online

Daily Headlines: March 3, 2011

* Latin America: The International Narcotics Control Board concluded that Brazil is increasingly being used as a point of transit for cocaine from South America to western Africa and that Mexican drug trafficking has worsened.

* Guatemala: A final report on the scandalous illegal testing of thousands of Guatemalans for syphilis by U.S. scientists decades ago will be ready by the middle of the year.

* Venezuela: The government backtracked on a decree that would’ve barred smoking in public places.

* Ecuador: President Rafael Correa expressed has “sincere interest” in attracting foreign investors in order to help funding energy projects and improving infrastructure.

Image – Reuters via (“Police show drugs, weapons and hand grenades which were confiscated, a day after invading the Alemao slum in Rio de Janeiro” last year.)
Online Sources- MSNBC, Bloomberg, LAHT, AFP

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

World Watch: Long arm of the law

* Libya: While unrest continues in Libya International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said that he will investigate possible crimes against humanity perpetrated by the government.

* Japan: Designer John Galliano’s career may be over due to anti-Semitic remarks but it remains to be seen what repercussions await a Japanese boy band that appeared on TV wearing Nazi-like uniforms.

* Yemen: President Ali Abdullah Saleh is reportedly negotiating stepping down later this year amid pressure from the opposition and swelling protests against him.

* U.S.: According to researchers regular use of the painkiller ibuprofen could reduce the risk of getting Parkinson’s by over one-third.

Image – “Sean Smith for the Guardian” via The Guardian (“An injured Libyan rebel is treated at a clinic in Bregga, after pro-Gaddafi fighters attacked the town on Wednesday.”)
Online Sources- The Guardian, MSNBC, BBC News, Voice of America, CBC News

Wag the dog, Colombian style

Was the 2006 surrender of 66 Colombian rebels a staged event arranged with the government’s knowledge? Was the military-led rescue of a group of hostages including Ingrid Betancourt really a cover for secret negotiations? Several recent accusations have cast doubt on a pair of events in Colombia’s armed conflict.

The Attorney General ‘s office has called on former Peace Commissioner Luis Carlos Restrepo to be questioned over a supposedly faked demobilization of the “Cacique Gaitana” guerilla front on March 2006. The Colombian government and military command allegedly concocted the scheme where petty criminals and homeless people were recruited to pretend that they were part of the guerillas.

According to remarks made by one of the faux rebels today, his clothes were exchanged for a fake FARC uniform and he received training on subjects like “how to make trenches…(and) how to speak like the rebels.” Other rumors alleged that the machine guns handed over to Restrepo where actually made of wood and painted black.

Restrepo reportedly served as the liaison between the military and alias “Olivo Saldaña”, an imprisoned rebel who was presented as the commander of the Gaitana front. For his cooperation in the fake surrender, “Saldaña” was eligible for government benefits though they were subsequently revoked in light of the accusations.

Former president Alvaro Uribe, who was in power during the faked surrender, defended the demobilization as “transparent” under Restrepo's supervision. But less than two weeks after the Gaitana rebels allegedly laid down their arms then-U.S. Ambassador to Colombia William Wood expressed his doubts over the veracity of the insurgents. Wood’s communiqué, which was uncovered by Wikileaks, brought up discrepancies between the army’s claims and those of the FARC high command and the national police who each denied that the Gaitana front even existed.

Meanwhile, rumors have surfaced alleging that the much-heralded 2008 rescue operation that freed fifteen hostages including Ingrid Betancourt may’ve been prearranged with the FARC. One document revealed by Wikileaks last week claimed that Betancourt’s rebel guard nicknamed “Cesar” negotiated her release one month before “Operation Check” took place. The U.S. diplomatic cable alleged that “Cesar” (real name Gerardo Antonio Aguilar) offered to let Betancourt go in exchange for safe passage for himself and his family to France.

The lawyer for Aguilar and another rebel captor imprisoned since the 2008 operation tried to corroborate his client’s claims:
“We realized that between the government along with “Cesar” and apparently “Gafas” (ed. – another FARC captor) there was a series of agreements to release these people” attorney Rodolfo Rios said to Caracol Radio”.

According to the radio station, Rios said that after the capture of both rebels there were visits to the prison by members of government, the armed forces and the International Red Cross.
Online Sources- El Tiempo, El Espectador,,, Colombia Reports, RCN Radio,

Cuba: Prominent dissidents nominated for Nobel honors

While dissidents in Cuba struggle against a crackdown led by the government, their cause may soon receive a very prestigious honor.

Along with Wikileaks and Middle Eastern democracy activists, Cuban opposition activists are among the record 241 nominations for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Among the dissident figures in the running for the famous honor is Oswaldo Paya, a very influential political activist who founded the Varela Project initiative. Paya, who has been previously nominated on multiple occasions, was reportedly “cited for uniting the opposition to the government in Havana.” Indeed, a 2007 U.S. diplomatic cable uncovered by Wikileaks cited Paya as one of the few dissidents with the “national recognition to mobilize a figure close to one million Cubans.“

Another possible winner is Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, a well-known Cuban political prisoner whose Nobel candidacy was presented by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Biscet is one of the so-called “Group of 75” dissidents imprisoned since 2003 and serving sentences of up to 28 years behind bars. While he has campaigned against abortion, Biscet has been an outspoken critic of the Castro regime and was also the founder the nongovernment Lawton Foundation.

Biscet’s nomination has received international support including from a pair of ex-Salvadoran presidents and several Hispanic members of the U.S. Congress. He has also received the backing of another famed dissident, Guillermo Fariñas, according to the El Nuevo Herald’s website:
“(Biscet) is one of the great symbols of rebellion he hopes for democracy for the Cuban people…I believe that he has put the interests of a nation ahead of his personal (views).”
Both Paya and Biscet have received several honors for their human rights efforts. Paya received the 2002 Sakharov Prize from the European Parliament while Biscet was awarded the U.S. Medal of Freedom in 2007.

Image- (“Cuban leader of the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL) and opponent of Fidel Castro, Oswaldo Paya (L), leaves the Cuban National Assembly, in Havana, 18 December 2007.”)
Online Sources- BBC Mundo, Wikipedia,, Global Voices Online, El Nuevo Herald, BBC News, USA TODAY, EPA

Nuestro Cine: Innocence lost

Trial proceedings commenced this week in the “baby theft” trial against ex-Argentine strongmen Jorge Videla and Reynaldo Bignone. Both of the former Dirty War-era leaders stand accused of masterminding a “systematic plan” where at least 34 babies were removed from mothers of dissidents detained by authorities at the infamous ESMA military base. Some of these mothers would be tortured and either killed or disappeared while the children were placed under illegal adoption. It is estimated that hundreds of Argentine children grew up not knowing the identities of their biological parents.

The trial against Videla and Bignone comes in the wake of several recent court decisions against former officials behind the horrors of the Dirty War period. (Videla, for instance, was sentenced to life imprisonment last year for the deaths of 31 dissidents).

In the twenty-seven years since the end of the Dirty War ended Argentina’s film industry has tackled the abuses of the era. 1985 Best Foreign Film Oscar winner “The Official Story” (“La historia oficial”) was an emotional drama that focused on the illegal adoptions during the Dirty War. Another movie, “The Prize” (“El Premio”), reflects on childhood during the military junta’s rule yet does so mainly from the perspective of a seven-year-old girl, Cecilia. This film, which won the Silver Bear at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, is set during the Dirty War and shows how the innocence of a small child clashes with the harsh authoritarianism of the era. In one scene, for instance:
The teacher’s sense of how to get along in a state-controlled society is tested when the class has to write essays in praise of the army but Cecilia writes things such as “the army is bad”, “soldiers are crazy”, “they killed my cousin”. (Her mother) Lucia is mortified when Cecilia shows her a copy and she knows she must try to get the essay back before the army sees it.
In the clip below from Argentine television, “El Premio” director Paula Markovitch reflected on how the attacks against intellectuals and artists during the Dirty War served as “an own-goal” against Argentine society:

Online Sources- Al Jazeera English,, BBC News, The Latin Americanist, The Hollywood Reporter
Video Source – YouTube

Daily Headlines: March 2, 2011

* U.S.: A complaint was lodged at the Federal Communications Commission alleging that Spanish-language television program “José Luis Sin Censura” is offensive, homophobic and misogynist.

* Nicaragua: President Daniel Ortega will apparently seek a third term despite a constitutional ban from running for a second reelection.

* Venezuela: The country’s journalism union has urged authorities to investigate the death of a member of the media killed when she was caught in the crossfire of a gun battle.

* Cuba: Five members of Cuba’s National Ballet defected after a recent performance in Montreal, Canada.

Image – (The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the National Hispanic Media Coalition lodged a formal FCC complaint against “José Luis Sin Censura”).
Online Sources- The Hollywood Reporter,, Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, LAHT

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Daily Headlines: March 1, 2011

* Latin America: Could the recent unrest in the Middle East and North Africa hinder Latin America’s economic growth?

* Venezuela: On a related note Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez rejected condemning Moammar Gadhafi and also called for “prudency” regarding Libya.

* Bolivia: President Evo Morales vowed that homes would be built for approximately 4000 people left homeless after a massive landslide on Sunday.

* Brazil: Increased oil production was credited as the main reason why Petrobras’ latest quarterly profits grew by 38%.

Image – Ben Curtis/AP via The Guardian (“Soldiers from the Libyan military's elite Khamis Brigade take up positions east of Zawiyah.”)
Online Sources- UPI, MSNBC, CNN, Bloomberg

Monday, February 28, 2011

Today’s Video: Melting away

Could Mexico's two remaining glaciers soon be a thing of the past? Unfortunately that appears to be the case:

Video Source - Reuters

Argentina: Femicides by fire continue

Several weeks ago we mentioned a report from Argentina claiming that 260 women were killed last year with eleven deaths resulting from incineration. According to an Argentine women’s rights group most of the deaths by fire are at the hands of the victim’s current or former partner.

The femicides by fire became an unsettling trend that carried into this year with four women dying in that manner during a recent two-week period. Unfortunately another women can be added to the list.

Last Tuesday a thirty-year-old female died after suffering burns on over 70% of her body. Tragically, her incineration reportedly occurred in presence of her twelve-year-old stepchild.

Police arrested the victim’s husband and charged him with homicide. They suspect he assaulted her by covering her with rubbing alcohol and then setting her on fire with a cigarette lighter. According to officials his claims that she burned herself accidently were not the case and it seemed like his jealousy led to an argument between the couple.

Despite the bleak picture on femicides by fire there has been an increase in complaints over domestic violence in Argentina. According to government figures there was a 25% increase in denunciations between last month and January 2010, and a 75% increase during the previous year.

Image- El Periodico de Mexico
Online Sources- AFP, The Latin Americanist,, La Nacion

Cuba: Dissidents caught in crackdown

The Cuban government allegedly agreed to free eight additional political prisoners aside from a group of 52 who have slowly been released since last year. Dissidents on the island, however, have accused authorities of targeting them as part of a crackdown.

Roughly 100 dissidents were either arrested or put under house arrest in the same week that activists commemorated the one-year anniversary of the death of political prisoner Orlando Zapata. The most notable of these detentions was the brief arrest of former hunger striker Guillermo Farinas who “shouted anti-government slogans” from the rooftop of his house. “I believe that the best tribute we can give to Zapata was for the government to be forced to mobilize its repressors,” Farinas said to the press after his 27-hour arrest.

The tense atmosphere continued over the weekend when state television showed a documentary critical of the Ladies in White dissident group. The film accused them of receiving funds from the U.S. government to fund their activities. Hence, it should come as no surprise that pro-government demonstrators confronted the Ladies in White as they marched through Havana yesterday.

U.S. President Barack Obama said last week that the February 2010 death of Zapata after a lengthy hunger strike brought attention to "the ongoing mistreatment of those unjustly held by Cuban authorities". Cuban state newspaper Granma would subsequently bash Obama by claiming he was being manipulated by Cuban-American exile organizations.

Human rights groups tried to bring additional attention to the crackdown on the Cuban opposition. Amnesty International denounced the harassment of Zapata’s relatives including “preventing his family from properly celebrating his life.” According to Human Rights Watch:
"A year after Zapata's tragic death, this latest wave of arrests shows the Cuban government continues to deny its citizens the basic freedoms of assembly and speech," said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch…

"Through arbitrary detentions, physical abuse, and threats, the Cuban government has once again shown its willingness to repress its citizens who participate in the most basic civic activities," Vivanco said.
Image- AP via BBC News (“Pro- and anti-government protesters clashed in Havana on the anniversary of Mr. Zapata's death.”)
Online Sources- BBC News, ABC News, LAHT, AFP, Gulf Times, CBS News, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch

Uruguay MPs consider decriminalizing marijuana

In recent years the Uruguayan government has cracked down on smoking (much to the chagrin of one major tobacco firm). The latest debate, however, involves a different type of drug.

Political support has reportedly been growing in favor of decriminalizing the use of marijuana. Legislator Sebastián Sabini told the local press that he would introduce a bill this week that would allow individuals to legally have 25 grams of marijuana for personal use.

Sabini’s plan differs from an already circulating proposal that would legalize some marijuana use but does not increase prison time for convicted drug users. Nevertheless he is expected to meet on Tuesday with other deputies in order to reconcile the bills and garner greater legislative support.

The government has yet to give a formal public reaction to the marijuana decriminalizing plans though one official at the President’s office implied that it could be done. Officials would have to examine any attempt at legalizing marijuana use such as not breaking international treaties according to Diego Cánepa.

In the meantime, the current statutes on marijuana served as a source of ire for several dozen demonstrators last week:
On Thursday, demonstrators at the Supreme Court in Montevideo protested the criminalization of marijuana possession. Under the slogan, “No más presos por plantar" (No more prisoners for plants) supporters of the Movement for the Liberation of Cannabis protested the arrest of an Uruguayan artisan and of Alicia Castilla, the Argentine author of Cultura cannabis. Both were arrested for being in possession of marijuana in their residencies.
Image- EPA (“Uruguayan marijuana growers advocate for the decriminalization of their practice.”)
Online Sources- The Latin Americanist, Observa,, El Pais, Americas Quarterly Blog

Daily Headlines: February 28, 2011

* Mexico: Javier "Chicharito" Hernández continues to make in impact in England after scoring twice in Manchester United’s 4-0 league win over Wigan Athletic.

* Venezuela: Will Venezuela’s economy grow at a robust pace as the government claims or is the economy shrinking according to the estimate of a major business group?

* Brazil: A government watchdog group found “widespread problems” with twelve host cities preparing for the 2014 World Cup.

* South America: Neighbors Argentina and Uruguay signed an energy agreement as part of a regular series of bilateral meetings between Presidents Cristina Fernandez and Jose Mujica.

Image – Fox News Latino (Javier Hernandez appeared in an advertisement denouncing light of offensive comments made against Mexicans on a recent episode Top Gear).
Online Sources- CNN, El Universal, USA TODAY, Mercopress