Monday, December 31, 2012

Unique Customs Usher in New Year in Latin America

Note: This post was originally published in December 2006 though the link has been updated.

With New Year's just hours away, most of us have our party plans set. Part of those plans include partaking in traditions with roots in our native countries.

Many of us partake of the ritual stemming from madre Spain, eating 12 grapes at the 12 strokes of midnight, making a wish with each uva and ensuring 12 months of good luck. Many South American countries including Ecuador and Colombia burn an effigy of the old year. Others insist in wearing, sometimes inside out, yellow or red underwear. Regardless of how you celebrate the New Year, may all of you have a healthy and happy one.

Daily Headlines: December 31, 2012

* Brazil: Economic growth has trickled to less than one percent this year but will one of the world’s emerging markets rebound in 2013?

* Latin America: U.S. President Barack Obama enacted a law aimed at curtailing Iranian influence in Latin America that also includes beefing up security along the U.S.-Mexico border.

* Mexico: Legislators in Mexico City unanimously approved prison terms for people convicted of animal cruelty.

* Chile: International arrest warrants were issued against eight former military officers accused of involvement in the 1973 death of singer Victor Jara.
Video Source – YouTube via user ASCOAonline (November 2012 panel discussion at the Americas Society/Council of the Americas on the expectations of Brazil’s economy and political climate in 2013). 

Online Sources- MSNBC, Al Jazeera English, Huffington Post, CNN

Friday, December 28, 2012

Daily Headlines: December 28, 2012

* Brazil: Doctors In Brazil who previously had to notify officials of patients who developed AIDS will now need to inform authorities of all HIV cases.

* Latin America: Could Latin America’s “culture of family, support, and living a life to spend time with your family” explain why some countries in the region are at the top of a global happiness index?

* Colombia: The son of a former Colombian senator and ambassador filed a civil lawsuit in Florida against the South American country’s two main guerilla groups.

* Argentina: In a setback for the government the Argentine Supreme Court backed an injunction protecting media giant Grupo Clarin from being partially broken up.

Video Source – YouTube via user 1818video (Excerpt from a Frontline documentary, possibly “Sick Around the World” from 2008).

Online Sources- USA TODAY, CNN, ABC News, Christian Science Monitor

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Daily Headlines: December 27, 2012

* Nicaragua: Over 300 families have been evacuated due to increased activity from the San Cristobal volcano.

* Guatemala: In remarks made days after the murders of a federal prosecutor and six other people Attorney General Claudia Paz said that drug gangs have infiltrated the Guatemalan justice system.

* Brazil: Police and health officials claimed that Brazil is undergoing a crack epidemic with use of the drug booming over the past six years.

* Argentina: The country’s top penal court dismissed a case against ex-president Fernando De la Rua over his decision in 2001 to declare a state of siege during a major economic crisis.

Video Source – YouTube via euronews

Online Sources- UPI, New York Times, Hispanically Speaking News, NPR, Huffington News

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Daily Headlines: December 26, 2012

* El Salvador: Leaders of street gangs including the Barrio 18 and Mara Salvatrucha backed a plan declaring ten municipalities free of violence.

* Puerto Rico: The U.S. Justice Department and Puerto Rico's government signed an agreement aimed at reforming the island’s corrupt police department.

* Venezuela: Vice President Nicolas Maduro claimed that President Hugo Chavez is “up and walking” following recent cancer surgery in Cuba.

* Argentina: Sales of livestock will be suspended for twenty-four hours as part of a protest by farmers against the government.

Video Source – YouTube via Voice of America (Video uploaded in May 2012).

Online Sources- IPS, Fox News Latino, VOXXI, Huffington Post

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Today's Video: Away in a Manger

Numerous Christmas traditions have been observed through Latin America and the Caribbean this month.  In Peru, for instance, children have received gifts and hot chocolate drinks as part of the las chocolatadas while Mexicans and Central Americas participated in las posadas.

Another typical celebration throughout the region are the use of pesebres, which are depictions of the biblical Nativity scene with Mary and Joseph welcoming the birth of the Baby Jesus in the manger.  Beyond this, the design of the pesebre is up to the eye of their creator and vary in the materials used, the decorations surrounding the manger, and the overall size.  (As Washington Times columnist Mario Salazar described, pesebres are a "mini universe in which anything was allowed.")

A 20,000 square meter site in Bogota, Colombia is vying to be the world's biggest pesebre.  The pesebre is a replica of ancient Bethlehem and includes thousands of figurines,  replicas of Bilbical-era homes and dozens of animatronic figures and actors.
The mega-pesebre in Bogota is based on a similar project exhibited in Mexico last year, which can be appreciated in the below video:
The massive Mexican pesebre received over 2.1 million visitors and was recognized with four Guinness World Records.

Daily Headlines: December 25, 2012

* Uruguay: President Jose Mujica requested last week that legislators delay voting on a proposal that would legalize and regulate marijuana use.

* Colombia: Peace talks held in Cuba between the FARC rebels and the Colombian government have been put on hold until January 14th.

* Argentina: Former minister Jaime Smart became the first civilian to be sentenced for crimes against humanity committed during the repressive Dirty War era.

* Ecuador: President Rafael Correa proposed raising the minimum wage by 9% so that workers can receive a “dignified salary”.

Video Source – YouTube via the Washington Office on Latin America 

Online Sources- BBC News, Fox News Latino, Reuters, Christian Science Monitor

Monday, December 24, 2012

Daily Headlines: December 24, 2012

* South America: The risk of eruption from the Copahue volcano led Chile to issue a maximum red alert and Argentina to warn residents of local villages to closely monitor the situation.

* Mexico: Several thousand supporters of the Zapatista National Liberation Army marched in southern Mexico in order to commemorate the fifteenth anniversary of the Acteal massacre.

* Spain: Argentine soccer star Lionel Messi scored in Barcelona's 3-1 victory and, thus, finished 2012 with ninety-one goals in all competitions.

* Brazil: According to new government data the number of murders in Sao Paulo last month increased by 71% compared to November 2011.

Video Source – YouTube via user abccolor

Online Sources- AFP, Sacramento Bee, ESPN Soccernet, LAHT

Friday, December 21, 2012

Costa Rica: Security Chief Suggests Firearms Ban

In the week since the Newtown massacre one of the main worries is how to prevent another mass shooting from occurring.  Could gun control measures such as the reinstatement of an assault weapons ban help?  Are placing more arms in schools and creating a “national database of the mentally ill” sensible or silly? Might reforming the U.S. mental health system help lessen violence?

This week Costa Rican Security Minister Mario Zamora suggested that banning all types of firearms could help diminish violence in the U.S.

“If less firearms are available for the population there will be a lower possibility that they will be used,” he said when asked in a radio interview about his views on the Newtown massacre.

“Human beings may enter in a state of violent emotion and they will react based on what is at their reach,” noted Zamora who also deemed as “erroneous” the belief that greater arms ownership is a solution to combating violence.

According to the U.S. State Department “crime is a significant concern for Costa Ricans and visitors alike,” and the agency advises tourists to exercise the same level of caution that would be used “in major cities or tourist areas” in the U.S.  Nevertheless the homicide rate dropped by 10% in 2011, which Zamora attributed in part to Costa Rica’s gun control laws.

Daily Headlines: December 21, 2012

* Mexico: According to the Propuesta Civica organization at least 20,851 people including over 1200 children under age eleven have gone missing in Mexico over the past six years.

* U.S.: The Justice Department filed a suit against a South Carolina sheriff accused of discriminating against Latinos including ordering officers to “go out there and get me some of those taco eaters.”

* Peru: Proceedings began this week in the trial of Shining Path rebel leader Florindo Eleuterio Flores, alias Comrade Artemio.

* Costa Rica: The Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that Costa Rica should overturn its ban on in vitro fertilization.

Video Source – YouTube via euronews

Online Sources- ABC News, Washington Post, Tico Times, Kansas City Star

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Daily Headlines: December 20, 2012

* Nicaragua: A Nicaraguan judge convicted on money laundering and drug trafficking charges eighteen Mexicans who posed as journalists working for Televisa. 

* U.S.: Family members and close associates of the late musician Jenni Rivera praised her in a “graduation to heaven” memorial service yesterday in Los Angeles.

* Venezuela: Did Miss Venezuela Irene Sofia Esser Quintero’s choice to not use a translator in the Q&A segment cost her the Miss Universe crown?

* Ecuador: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is expected to speak later today from the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he has resided in for the past six months.

Video Source – YouTube via user PrensaLatinaTV (Video uploaded in October 2012).

Online Sources- CNN, BBC News, Huffington Post, CBC News

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Daily Headlines: December 19, 2012

* Paraguay: Amnesty International called on authorities to look into the “potential responsibility of police” involved in June land clashes that led to the ouster of then-President Fernando Lugo.

* U.S.: Fans and loved ones of recently deceased musician Jenni Rivera are expected to attend a memorial service today in Los Angeles.

* Latin America: Five Latin American countries including Colombia and Ecuador surpassed eighteenth-placed Brazil in the latest FIFA soccer rankings.

* Mexico: At least seventeen people died in an attempted prison break yesterday in the northern Durango state.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Today's Video: From Copacabana to Connecticut

On Wednesday we'll discuss the aftermath of the recent massacre of twenty-seven people including twenty children in Newtown, Connecticut.

The mass killings that took place last Friday have led to all sorts of reactions worldwide such as  messages of condolence from heads of state, signs of support from European soccer players and prayers from students in Edmonton, Canada.

On the Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil a simple and poignant memorial was created in remembrance of all those who died in the Newtown massacre.

The tribute from the Rio de Paz (River of Peace) group is reportedly a sign of solidarity to those affected by the massacre and a call to greater arms control in both Brazil and the U.S.

Video Source - YouTube via user newdailyplanet2 (This video was taken from this euronews article).

Online Sources - CBS News, Los Angeles Times, Edmonton Journal, CNN  

Daily Headlines: December 18, 2012

* Mexico: New president Enrique Peña Nieto unveiled a six-point anti-crime plan that includes the creation of a paramilitary police force and combating corruption in law enforcement.

* U.S.: Hate crimes against Latinos dropped by 31% in 2011 according to a new report from the FBI.

* Ecuador: Several thousand villagers were evacuated as a result of increased risk of erupiton of the Tungurahua volcano.

* Argentina: On Monday the Argentine government began the process of breaking up the Clarin media conglomerate.

Video Source – YouTube via Milenio 

Online Sources- UPI, KPBS, ABC Online, Mercopress

Monday, December 17, 2012

Daily Headlines: December 17, 2012

* Venezuela: Defeated opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles was reelected as Merida state governor though the ruling Socialist Party won twenty of twenty-three states.

* Cuba: Will the Cuban government expand its radio and television ban on reggaeton to other genres of music?

* Brazil: Corinthians of Brazil beat England’s Chelsea 1-0 in World Club Cup final and, thus, became the first from South America team to win the competition since 2006.

* Argentina: The International Monetary Fund could expel Argentina from the organization after failing to meet an inflation deadline.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Today's Video: Telenovelas for Change

Several days ago Bolivian president Evo Morales blasted Facebook and telenovelas for "harming" the country's youth.

"I've recently noticed something that is harming our students: the telenovelas.  They have the right to watch them but we cannot have telenovelas air all afternoon, all night, and throughout the morning," said Morales.

It's debatable as to whether or not Morales is correct about the influence of telenovelas on young people.  But there have been occasions when these programs have led to social change such as in Argentina where one telenovela helped identify a child put up for illegal adoption during the "Dirty War" period.  In Brazil, meanwhile, televised soap operas were credited by researchers with lowering fertility rates.       

The following video is the first part of a documentary that analyzed Nicraguan telenovela "Sexto Sentido" ("Sixth Sense").  The popular hit program tackled serious issues such as domestic violence and homosexuality, and the documentary showed how the writers, actors and viewers grappled with these controversial themes:

Daily Headlines: December 14, 2012

* Latin America: Attorneys representing Chile and Peru are expected to end their arguments today in a border dispute case being heard at the International Court of Justice.

* Guatemala: Wanted software guru John McAfee admitted that he faked two heart attacks in order to “buy some time” in Guatemala before he was deported to the U.S. on Wednesday.

* Cuba: Bruno Eduardo Rodriguez Parrilla, the foreign minister of Cuba, said that his country’s government supports Iran’s nuclear plans.

* Brazil: Ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was aware of bribes paid out to legislators as part of the “mensalao” corruption scandal according to new allegations.

Video Source – YouTube via euronews

Online Sources- Businessweek, Christian Science Monitor, Huffington Post, PRESS TV

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Copa Sudamericana Ends in Controversy

“The Beautiful Game” is a synonym often associated with the beauty of soccer such as Lionel Messi’s record setting 88 goals this year or the Xolos of Tijuana winning the Mexican soccer league in only their fifth year of existence.  That saying unfortunately cannot be to the decisive game of the Copa Sudamericana soccer tournament on Wednesday night.

Officials with CONMEBOL (the Spanish abbreviation for the South American Football Confederation) announced that they would investigate allegations of violence during the match between visitors Argentina's Tigre and Sao Paulo of Brazil.  Members of Tigre refused to leave their dressing room after halftime due to an alleged attack by a gang of twenty men.

“CONMEBOL will undertake an investigation in order to apply sanctions.  In the twenty-five years under the rule of (CONMEBOL) President Nicolás Leoz it’s the first time that such actions stained the good mage of South American soccer,” said CONMEBOL spokesman Néstor Benítez to the Associated Press.

Benítez also urged Brazilian police to provide a “detailed report” of the events at the Morumbi stadium when the match was abandoned with the home side leading 2-0 and after a brawl between both teams.

“They pulled two guns on us, the rest of the match is not going to be played,” claimed Tigre coach Nestor Gorosito to Fox Sports. 

They ambushed us and one of them pulled out a revolver and put it against (goalkeeper) Damian Albil's chest. Their security and police also hit us, there were about 20 of them,” added Gorosito.

While the Tigre team stayed in their dressing room the referee signaled the end of the match.  Sao Paulo fans at the stadium celebrated the 2-0 aggregate victory while the players received the Copa Sudamericana from South American Football Confederation officials.

The jubilation may have been premature, however. Benítez claimed that Sao Paulo was “legally and irrefutably” declared the champions but he was contradicted by CONMEBOL Vice President Eugenio Figueredo.

Reports: Mexican Officials Identify Remains of Jenni Rivera

Authorities in Mexico are said to have positively identified the remains of Mexican-American musician Jenni Rivera.

According to CNN, a spokesman for the Nuevo Laredo state government claimed that Rivera’s remains were handed over to her family.  In addition, positive nitrifications were supposedly made of Rivera's publicist and co-pilot of the charter plane that crashed in the early hours of Sunday.

The Associated Press, meanwhile, reported that Nuevo Leon state security spokesman Jorge Domene said that Rivera’s remains were identified but that DNA tests are still pending.

Rivera’s brother, fellow singer Lupillo Rivera, Tweeted today a picture of a red urn that will supposedly hold Jenni’s ashes.

Mexican transportation officials said that the investigation into the plane accident that killed Rivera and six others is ongoing.  Nevertheless, they detailed that the private jet went into a very sharp dive minutes after taking off from Monterrey. The plane plummeted nose-first and 28,000 feet in thirty seconds, which left the wreckage strewn across a mountainside.

The crash has raised questions about the safety of the 1969 Learjet 25 that Rivera was allegedly interested in purchasing.  The aircraft had failed a takeoff attempt seven years ago that caused one wing to weigh more than another.  The plane’s owner, Christian Eduardo Esquino Nunez, has a criminal record that included a 2005 conviction for falsifying plane maintenance records.

Daily Headlines: December 13, 2012

* Mexico: Mexicans worldwide including millions of pilgrims who traveled to the Basilica of Tepeyac in Mexico City celebrated the annual Virgin of Guadalupe festivities on Wednesday.

* Haiti: The U.N. launched a $2.2 billion plan aimed at curbing a cholera outbreak that has killed over 7700 people since October 2010.

* Honduras: Four Supreme Court judges were dismissed in a “judicial coup” by a legislature controlled by political parties allied with President Porfirio Lobo.

* Colombia: Human rights groups blasted Congress for approving a proposal that would reportedly “give military courts greater jurisdiction over crimes committed by armed forces members.”

Video Source – YouTube via user Cadena3Noticias

Online Sources- Huffington Post, Businessweek, Bloomberg, ABC News

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Argentina: Judges in Sex Slave Trial Hit by Hackers

Argentine hackers infiltrated the personal information oof a grop of juges involved in a controversial verdict related to sex slavery.

The hackers, who claimed to have been allied with the Argentine arm of the Anonymous collective, released a statement on Wednesday with personal data belonging to magistrates Alberto Piedrabuena, Emilio Herrera Molina and Eduardo Romero Lascano.

Among the information released by the hackers were the judges’ addresses, cell phone numbers and bank account statuses.

“One by one they will fall.  We are Anonymous and we never forget.  We want a country free of corruption,” said the statement from the hackers.

On Tuesday, the court in the city of Tucumán absolved thirteen defendants accused of kidnapping and forcing into prostitution Maria de los Angeles “Marita” Veron. 

Over 130 witnesses were called to trial including a dozen women rescued from brothels by Marita’s mother, Susana Trimarco.  But the judges claimed there was no evidence linking the defendants to Marita, who has been missing for over a decade.

The court’s decision has not sat well with the Argentine public including several hundred people who participated in peaceful protests in several major cities.   In Buenos Aires demonstrators clashed with police and caused damages to the Casa de Tucumán.

The Argentine government joined the chorus of critiques against the court’s decision.  President Cristina Fernandez personally called Trimarco to express her ire with the verdict and called for a “democratization” of the judicial system.

Trimarco, who started a foundation in 2007 to combat human trafficking, was calm when the verdict was read.  Outside of the courtroom, however, she did not mince words:

Daily Headlines: December 12, 2012

* U.S.: Childhood obesity may be in decline in some parts of the U.S. but a report from the United Health Foundation found an increase in diabetes and obesity rates among Latino youth.

* Uruguay: The lower house of Congress overwhelmingly passed the Marriage Equality Law, a proposal that would legalize same-sex marriage.

* Brazil: Copa Libertadores winners Corinthians of Brazil advanced to the final of the Club World Cup where they’ll face European champions Chelsea of England or CONCACAF titleholders Monterrey of Mexico.

* Latin America: The economy of Latin America and the Caribbean is expected to grow at a strong 3.8% in 2013 according to U.N. estimates.

Video Source – YouTube via user besmartbewell

Online Sources- NBC Latino, Huffington Post, Salon,, Businessweek

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Venezuelan President Undergoes Cancer Surgery (Multiple Updated)

Update (December 13): Venezuelan Minister of Communications Ernesto Villegas admitted that there were complications during President Hugo Chavez cancer surgery on Tuesday.

He claimed that "corrective measures" were taken in order to stop internal bleeding during the six-hour operation.  

"This process of recovery will take time because of the complexity of the operation," Villegas said in a broadcast on Venezuelan state television. "The patient is in a progressive and favorable recovery of normal vital signs."

It's unknown if Chavez, who won reelection in October, will be fit enough to be inaugurated on January 10th.  If that cannot be done then according to the Venezuelan constitution new presidential elections must be held within thirty days.         
Update (December 12): Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro said that President Hugo Chavez faces a "difficult" recovery after undergoing cancer surgery on Tuesday.

"Yesterday's operation was complex, difficult and delicate, so the post-operation process will also be a complex and tough process," said a stone-faced Maduro in a televised press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

Maduro assured Venezuelans that the government is prepared to oversee this Sunday's local elections and hoped that the elections will be a "festival of participation."

Update (9:15 PM): Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez' cancer surgery operation finished in a "successful manner" according to Vice President Nicolas Maduro.

"The president is in his hospital room starting special treatments with the assessment of his medical team for the post-operation period that will last several days," said Maduro this evening.  

He noted that the surgery lasted more than six hours and was very complex.  Maduro, who Chavez named as his successor, thanked those whose "immense love...dedicated through prayer so that the operation could end in a successful manner.

Tareck El Aissami, a former minister and close ally to President Hugo Chavez, previously told Venezuela state television that Chavez' operation was "going well."

Original Post: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is about to undergo surgery related to his recurring cancer according to a statement from the country’s government.

“The medical team attending our Commander Hugo Chavez…has started the pro-surgery protocol ahead of the procedure that our leader of the Bolivarian Revolution will undergo (today),” said Minister of Communications Ernesto Villegas.

In his prepared remarks that were read earlier today on Venezuelan state TV, Villegas also mentioned that the “medical team has expressed their optimism over the success of this operation” that will be Chavez’ fourth operation in 18 months.

“The government…summons the Venezuelan people to remain united in prayer and to continue sending Commander Chavez their strongest feelings of love,” added Villegas. 
The minister’s remarks came hours after Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa announced that Chavez was being “operated on right now.”

“My dear friend and colleague, Commander Hugo Chavez, is going through the toughest times of his life," said Correa who had visited the ailing leader in Cuba before returning to Ecuador.

Chavez arrived in Cuba in the early morning hours of Monday and just over 24 hours after he announced that his cancer had returned.

“With God's will, like on the previous occasions, we will come out of this victorious,” said Chavez in a televised speech on Saturday.  He also named Vice President and foreign minister Nicolas Maduro as his successor if he's unable to continue in the presidency.

Daily Headlines: December 11, 2012

* Puerto Rico: A “Marcha por la Paz” (March for Peace) is scheduled for December 15th to protest rampant violence on the island including the recent brutal murder of publicist Jose Enrique Gomez.

* Chile: Retried Supreme Court judge Alejandro Solis claimed that the late strongman Augusto Pinochet knew details of disappearances and assassinations committed by the secret police.

* U.S.: A new poll found that 77% of Latinos including 69% of “self-described born-again Christians” back increasing taxes on the rich as way in which to deal with the fiscal cliff.

* Haiti: President Michel Martelly tried to emphasize the “good things” of his eighteen months in power during a meeting with Haitian expats in South Florida.

Video Source – YouTube via user JOPICA19 (Individuals post their photos online as part of the “Todos somos José Enrique" ("We are all José Enrique") campaign against violence in Puerto Rico.)

Online Sources- Huffington Post, Prensa Latina, ABC News, Caribbean Journal

Monday, December 10, 2012

Daily Headlines: December 10, 2012

* Mexico: Acclaimed Mexican-American singer and songwriter Jenni Rivera is presumed dead after authorities located the remains of the crashed plane she was traveling in.

* Puerto Rico: Outgoing Governor Luis Fortuno will hold an extraordinary session to push for approval of a resolution urging the U.S. government to honor the results of a recent referendum on statehood for the island.

* Argentina: The U.S. and E.U. increased the pressure against supposedly unfair trade practices by Argentina. 

* U.S.: It took four tries but Mexican boxer Juan Manuel Márquez finally beat Philippine pugilist Manny Pacquiao.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Daily Headlines: December 7, 2012

* Mexico: Brother-and-sister duo Jesse y Joy was nominated for Best Latino Pop Grammy weeks after capturing four Latin Grammys including record and song of the year.

* Argentina: Media giant Clarin received an extension of an injunction to prevent the implementation of a controversial government-backed media reform law.

* U.S.: The Hispanic unemployment rate remained unchanged in November at 10.0% even though the national unemployment rate continued to decrease slightly last month.

* Venezuela: “I'm happy and enthused to be back again,” declared an enthusiastic President Hugo Chavez after he returned from nine days of medical treatment in Cuba.

Video Source – YouTube via user jessejoyoficial

Online Sources- Zee News, Businessweek, ABC News, Reuters

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cuban Government Pulls Plug on “Cubatón”

The Cuban government issued a radio and television ban against depicting reggaeton, an increasingly popular style of music in Latin America.

“Neither vulgarity nor mediocrity will be able to tarnish the richness of Cuban music,” said the president of the Cultural Ministry’s music institute, Orlando Vistel Columbie, to the Cuban state media.  He added, “People can listen to what they want privately. But, that freedom doesn’t include the right to reproduce and disseminate that music.”

Vistel claimed that the prohibition of reggaeton came about due to the genre’s supposed “vulgarity” that includes sexually explicit lyrics and insulting women.

Approximately one year ago, Vistel and Minister of Culture Abel Prieto blasted the hit reggaeton song “Chupi Chupi” and pushed for the disqualification of the song from Cuba’s Lucas awards for music.  (The song’s title, according to Global Voices, is a “playful and unapologetically vulgar ‘ode’ to oral sex”.)

Aside from the ban and criticizing of Cuban reggaeton, which is also known as “Cubatón”, the government has reportedly tried to push more traditional Cuban dance rhythms like danzon towards youth.  Yet their efforts may be all for naught due to the way in which Cubatón music is generally distributed on the island:

Brazilian Architect Oscar Niemeyer Dies

Legendary Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer died on Wednesday in a Rio de Janeiro hospital at the age of 104.  He had been hospitalized since early November due to kidney and stomach ailments, and he passed away as a result of complications from a lung infection.

A disciple of the famed French-Swiss architect Le Corbusier, Niemeyer became one of the word’s best-known modern architects.  His career spanned across nine decades and included designing over 600 buildings such as the U.N. Secretariat in New York.

In 1940, then-Belo Horizonte mayor Juscelino Kubitschek commissioned Niemeyer to design an “architectural complex” for a new suburb entitled Pampulha.  This project served as a predecessor for a more ambitious plan presented to Niemeyer by President Kubitschek in 1958 to design a new capital city.

Thus was born Niemeyer’s masterpiece, which were his space-age designs for dozens of government structures that make up Brasilia.  The city, which was inaugurated in 1960, featured such bold and futuristic edifices like the National Congress, the National Museum and the Cathedral of Brasilia.  It was this last building containing its "Crown of Thorns" cupola that helped Niemeyer earn the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1988.

According to BBC News, Niemeyer’s inspiration came from a unique source:

Daily Headlines: December 6, 2012

* Cuba: The Cuban foreign ministry rejected U.S. government allegations over the deteriorating health of imprisoned contractor Alan Gross.

* Latin America: Is Syrian President Bashar Assad planning on seeking political asylum in Latin America?

* Guatemala: Wanted software company founder John McAfee was arrested in Guatemala and could be deported to Belize.

* Haiti: The Haitian government introduced a comprehensive plan to overhaul the country’s adoption system.

Video Source – YouTube via user JewishNewsOne

Online Sources- UPI, Huffington Post, CBS News, CNN

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Survey Finds HIV Misinformation Rife in Colombian Military

A few days ago we highlighted how stigmas on HIV/AIDS are one of the main factors impacting Latinos in the U.S.  Guillermo Chacón, President of the Latino Commission on AIDS, highlighted that aside from stigmas a “lack of education around sex and safe sex practices are major contributors to the epidemic”. The same can be said about other countries around the world.

According to the Colombian press, misinformation on HIV/AIDS is rampant among members of the country’s armed forces.  A survey conducted by the Ministry of Defense reportedly found that 70% of troops falsely believed that HIV can be spread via mosquito bites.  The survey also revealed that most of the 879 respondents believe that condom use is not required with “close acquaintances” though they should be used when visiting brothels.

“There still exists a perception of low risk of infection.  Approximately half or less (of the respondents) believe that using protection with casual partners prevents the spread of sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis or herpes,” said military researcher Coronel Nohora Rodríguez to

Ironically none of the respondents was infected with HIV/AIDS though fifty of them admitted that they were infected with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Colombian military brass is disappointed with the survey’s results and, thus, is launching a campaign designed to stop the spread of misinformation:

Remittances to Mexico Keep Dropping

Remittances sent to Mexico dropped for the fourth month in row according to new data revealed by that country’s central bank. 

The Banco de México revealed yesterday that money transfers into Mexico totaled almost $1.78 billion in October, which was a decrease of 7.1% in comparison to the same month in 2011.  $19.04 billion in remittances were sent between January 2012 and last October and this represents a 0.9% decline compared to the first ten months of 2011. 

The new figures also revealed that the average amount of money sent per remittance in October 2012 ($299.78) is 5.8% less than in October 2011.

The decline in remittances can best be explained the old adage “when the U.S. sneezes, Mexico catches a cold”:

Daily Headlines: December 5, 2012

* Brazil: At least sixty-one police officers were arrested in Rio de Janeiro state and accused of taking bribes from drug traffickers in exchange for turning a blind eye to illicit activity.

* Latin America: Venezuela and Haiti are tied as the most corrupt countries in Latin America and the Caribbean according to an analysis by Transparency International.

* Argentina: Attorneys for Spanish oil firm Repsol filed a lawsuit in a U.S. federal court against Chevron regarding that company’s dealings with Argentina's YPF.

* Guatemala: A lawyer for software company founder John McAfee said that his client will seek political asylum in Guatemala despite being wanted on murder charges in the U.S.

Video Source – YouTube via user tvbrasil

Online Sources- CNN, Reuters, Transparency International, Sydney Morning Herald

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Report: Major Abuses Committed at Guatemala Hospital

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities was observance this past Monday with this year’s theme calling for the “removal of barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all.”  Sadly many barriers continue to exist against the disabled around the world such as the recent allegations of abuse in Guatemala.

An investigation by the Human Rights Office of the Archbishop of Guatemala and Disability Rights International (DRI) concluded that abuse was rampant against patients at the Federico Mora psychiatric hospital.  The joint study claimed that approximately 300 children were kept in isolation cells, and that hospital staff and convicts of a nearby prison often abused patients. 

The report also noted that patients lack proper treatment and die from curable illnesses. As a result, there is a high risk of HIV infection and this is made worse since the hospital allegedly lacks the resources to treat those exposed to the virus.

“We found a climate of terror. Even authorities at the hospital are afraid of their own staff.  Authorities told us they cannot remove known abusers because they fear they will be killed or threatened by gang members due to the links between staff and the Mara Salvatrucha (street gang),” observed DRI attorney Sofía Galván via a statement on the organization’s website.

Ecuador: Police Free Presidential Password Infiltrator

Police in Ecuador freed a blogger who was able to infiltrate into “secure data” belonging to President Rafael Correa.

“I’m free.  Many thanks to everyone,” Paul Moreno mentioned via his Twitter account on Monday after he was released from approximately three days of police custody.  He subsequently tweeted a photo of him accompanied by his parents outside of the jail where he was held.

Moreno “did not commit any 'hacking' activity or intrusion into global information” of the DatoSeguro national dignity database said a statement from Ecuador’s Public Information Registry.

The forty-two-year-old professor gained access to Correa’s personal information by creating a fake account under the president’s name in the DatoSeguro database.  He reportedly used online searches in order to obtain two key pieces of information: Correa’s date of birth and a national identification number.  Moreno got passed the third safeguard, a set of two numbers from an identity card, in order to read Correa’s private data such as bank account numbers and criminal infractions.

According to’s Gadget Lab blog, Delgado posted on his website screenshots from the DatoSeguro site proving his claims and wrote how shockingly easy it was to gain access to Correa’s confidential information:

Daily Headlines: December 4, 2012 (Updated)

* Honduras: At least 149 people were murdered by Honduras’ National Police over the past 23 months according to a report presented yesterday.

Update: Police spokesman Héctor Iván Mejía criticized the report as inaccurately "generalizing" the police as "criminals".  But in his remarks to the website of Honduran daily La Tribuna, Mejía did not touch on the data presented in the report blaming the police for 149 murders in nearly two years.   

* Cuba: The U.S. State Department urged Cuban officials to release ill, imprisoned contractor Alan Gross and “return him to his family where he belongs.”

* Mexico: Doctors in Mexico confirmed that retired Colombian soccer goalkeeper Miguel Calero is brain dead and on life support machines.

Update: Miguel Calero was declared clinically dead by doctors overseeing him according to a statement from Mexican soccer club Pachuca.  The forty-one-year-old Calero appeared in fifty games for the Colombian national team, and won three CONCACAF Champions Cup and a Copa Sudamericana in his eleven years as Pachuca goalkeeper. 

* U.S.: Two suspected Mexican drug smugglers were accused of killing a U.S. Coast Guard officer on California's seas.

Video Source – YouTube via user Vox Populi (Honduran police officers were accused of abuse while trying to break up a teachers’ occupation of a Tegucigalpa school in 2010).

Online Sources including Updates - CNN, The Huffington Post, ESPN Soccernet, Fox News Latino,, RCN Radio

Monday, December 3, 2012

Today's Video: Shattering Taboos on AIDS

In the upcoming days several of our posts will focus on HIV/AIDS throughout the Americas in commemoration of World AIDS Day that was observed last Saturday.

Guillermo Chacón, President of the Latino Commission on AIDS, mentioned recently to The Huffington Post that stigmas on HIV/AIDS are one of the main factors that "disproportionately impact" the Latino populace.

"Talking about HIV and safe sex is still very difficult, and we need to promote more education around both of these subjects so that people are aware of how HIV is transmitted and what they can do to have safer sex," said Chacón.  He also observed that "homophobia and transphobia are also major obstacles to address HIV/AIDS" and, thus, he recommends that "we also advocate for LGBT rights and acceptance in all of our families".

One of the efforts aimed at removing the unfortunate stigma on HIV/AIDS among Latinos comes via new webseries that commenced last week.  Sin Vergüenza (translated as Shameless), according to the description provided with the initial episode, aims to "encourages people to get tested as a routine part of their medical care and to seek HIV medical care should they test positive".

The first chapter of this dramatic, telenovela-like webseries can be viewed below:

Daily Headlines: December 3, 2012

* Peru: A ten-year ban on the import, production and use of genetically modified foods went into effect in Peru last week.

* Colombia: At least twenty guerillas were killed in a military raid reported as the “biggest military operation against FARC since peace talks began in October”.

* Argentina: Former navy captain Alfredo Astiz, known as the "Blonde Angel of Death," is among the sixty-eight defendants involved in the biggest “Dirty War”-related trial in Argentine history.

* U.S.: A recently released report found that domestic workers in the U.S., most of whom are undocumented immigrants, suffer from all forms of abuse at the hands of their employers. 

Video Source – YouTube via user FirstscienceTV

Online Sources-, France24, BBC News, LAHT

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Today's Video: Psychopath

Over the past few days we've focused on several instances of abuse against women in Latin America in commemoration of the recent International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.  On Monday we will discuss several news stories from the Americas focusing on HIV/AIDS in observance of World AIDS Day this past Saturday.  The following story from Colombia is a tragic confluence of these two subjects.

Police in Bogotá this weekend arrested a 57-year-old truck driver accused of infecting approximately fifty of women with HIV.  According to the EFE news agency police believe that José Libardo Rojas "seduced" dozens of women in five states even though he knew he was infected with HIV.

Rojas, who had an arrest warrant issued against him for alleged child abuse, was detained in very ill health and subsequently sent to a hospital while under police custody.

Over 7000 new cases of AIDS have been reported in Colombia in 2011 based on government data released on World AIDS Day.

Video Source - YouTube via user InfoColombia

Online Sources -, Vivelo Hoy

Weekend Headlines: December 1-2, 2012

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* Mexico: Police clashed with protesters opposed to Enrique Peña Nieto while he was being inaugurated on Saturday as president of Mexico.

* Latin America: The presidents of Colombia and Nicaragua agreed to use dialogue to resolve a territorial dispute while the Peruvian and Chilean presidents said that they would respect an upcoming international court ruling on maritime boundaries.

* Paraguay: At least 69 people have died this year in Paraguay as a result of the dengue fever that has also killed over 400 people throughout Latin America.

* Brazil: President Dilma Rousseff vetoed portions of a controversial bill that would redistribute oil royalties amongst Brazilian states.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Today's Video: A Sibling's Search for Justice

We'll be back over the weekend with more headlines from around the Americas including news on violence against women.

"Justice for My Sister" is a documentary released this year that focuses on Rebeca Eunice Pérez, an impoverished Guatemalan woman who sought retribution for her murdered sister, Adela Chacón Tax.  The film shows the many hardships faced by Pérez over three years including the trial against her Tax's ex-boyfriend who was accused of beating her to death.

"Breaking the silence helps other women do the same and this serves as a chain for healing," said the film's director, Kimberly Bautista, to the EFE news agency.

Creating the documentary took its toll on Bautista who was attacked by a group of robbers while filming in Guatemala.  Nevertheless she soldiered on and the documentary was completed and reportedly screened this week in Los Angeles.

 The following video is the trailer to "Justice for My Sister" that also notes how only 1% of the 580 femicide cases in Guatemala in 2007 were solved:

Online Sources - Official Website for "Justice for My Sister",

Video Source - Vimeo

Report: Fourteen Women Murdered per Day in Mexico

In a televised farewell speech broadcast this week, Mexican president Felipe Calderon expressed his satisfaction with the path his country took during his six years in the presidency.  Yet while he patted himself on the back for having “worked to leave a stronger country with a better justice system and a healthier and stronger economy,” there are numerous goals that went unfulfilled during the Calderon regime.  One of them is the plight of violence against women.

Fourteen Mexican women day each day as a result of violence according to a report published by the Fundación Origen women’s’ rights group.  Between November 2011 and 2012 the organization claimed that 4112 women were victims of femicides while nearly 4000 females “disappeared” during that period of time.

“One of the worst things is that most of them stayed quiet and only two of the femicides registered over the past year were denounced,” alleged Fundación Origen president Mariana Baños to Mexican daily Milenio.

A survey conducted by Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH, in Spanish) found that 30% of women do not denounce violence against them since they believe that “if there is domestic violence it’s a family issue and nothing more.”  Yet the CNDH also concluded that problem with women speaking out against being the targets of violence also occurs due to a lack of help from the government.

“There are laws for the protection of female victims of violence in most of the 31 states and Mexico City but they are not respected,” claimed attorney José Luiz Zamora to Xinhua.  “There is also a lack of political will behind funding and creating the necessary mechanisms for these laws to be applied,” added Zamora.

Daily Headlines: November 30, 2012

* Panama: Only nine countries including Panama voted against a U.N. General Assembly proposal that granted nonmember observer status to Palestine.

* U.S.: A new report concluded that a sharp decrease in births among immigrant women led the U.S. birth rate to fall to its lowest level on record.

* Venezuela: Vice President Nicolas Maduro said that President Hugo Chavez is doing "very good" while seeking "hyperbaric oxygenation" therapy in Cuba.

* Brazil: Luis Felipe Scolari was rehired as the Brazilian men's soccer team coach ten years after he helped guide the squad to a World Cup title.

Online Sources: Huffington Post, NPR, Reuters,

Video Source: YouTube via euronews

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Daily Headlines: November 29, 2012

* Colombia: A recent International Court of Justice on Colombian territory and public doubts over peace talks with the FARC have caused the approval rating of President Juan Manuel Santos to plummet by fifteen points in two months.

* Latin America: A U.N. report concluded that poverty levels in Latin America and the Caribbean decreased to its lowest levels in three decades due to an increase in wages and more jobs.

* Brazil: According to new government data deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has hit a record low yet the deforested area is still three times the size of Sao Paulo.

* Argentina: A U.S. appeals court froze a ruling made last week that would’ve obligated Argentina to pay about $1.3 billion in debt to foreign creditors.

Video Source – YouTube via teleSUR English (“The Minister of Foreign Relations of Colombia, Maria Angela Holguín, was summoned by the Senate of her country to explain the scope of the judgment of the International Court of The Hague that subtracts maritime possessions from this country in favor of Nicaragua”).

Online Sources- Bernama, Colombia Reports, CNN, Huffington Post

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Remembering the Mirabal Sisters

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women was commemorated this past November 25th in order to raise awareness of the abuse faced by women worldwide.  Thus, Friday’s posts will examine several instances of aggression and exploitation against women in the Americas.  

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women was created via a resolution approved by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999.  The draft resolution for the date was introduced by the representative of the Dominican Republic, which was no coincidence since November 25th represents a dark day against women’s rights in that Caribbean country.

The Mirabal sisters (Patria, Dedé, Minerva and Maria Teresa) were four political dissidents opposed to the authoritarian rule of strongman Rafael Trujillo. They were known as Las Mariposas (The Butterfly Sisters), a nickname that came about due to their efforts for freedom and democracy in their country.  Despite dangers such as harassment from the police and the imprisonment of three of their husbands the sisters forged ahead and became symbols of the Dominican resistance movement.   

The Trujillo regime’s campaign to silence the Mirabal sisters came to a climax on November 25, 1960.  On their way home after visiting their incarcerated husbands, three of the sisters were intercepted by a group of soldiers. Patria, Minerva, Maria Teresa and their driver were choked and beaten to death.  The assassins brazenly tried to cover up the murder as an auto accident.

The plan to murder the Mirabal sisters backfired for the government and became a rallying cry against the Trujillo dictatorship.  Support for Trujillo decreased as more people defied the repression and spoke out in opposition to his rule.   Approximately six months after the Mirabal sisters were murdered Trujillo was ambushed and killed.

The spirit of the Mirabal sisters has lived on in popular culture through novels such as In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Álvarez and films like 2010’s Trópico de Sangre.  The surviving Mirabal sister, Dedé, helped create a museum in memory of her slain sisters and has campaigned for the rights of Dominican women.  This week, for instance, Dedé and Álvarez lent their names to a petition criticizing a proposed Penal Code reform that will allegedly infringe the rights of women and children.

The video after the page break examines the legacy of the Mirabal Sisters and includes comments from Dedé on her courageous siblings:

Daily Headlines: November 28, 2012

* Mexico: A report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development concluded that Mexico’s economy growth is expected to diminish by 0.5% to 3.3% next year but will then rebound in 2014.

* Venezuela: President Hugo Chavez, who has been largely out of the public spotlight since winning reelection nearly two months ago, traveled to Cuba to seek medical treatment related to his cancer.

* U.S.: A new study found that Latinos lag behind other racial groups in the use of technology such as the Internet and cell phones.

* Cuba: Cuban government officials claimed that imprisoned U.S. contactor Alan Gross does not have a cancerous tumor and that his “general health condition…is normal.”

Video Source – YouTube via Al Jazeera English (Video uploaded in February 2012).

Online Sources- Reuters, The Guardian, Huffington Post, Fox News Latino, ABC News

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Daily Headlines: November 27, 2012

* Panama: At least five people are dead and parts of Panama are under a state of emergency as a result of damage from torrential rainfall.

* Puerto Rico: The murder of former champion boxer Hector “Macho” Camacho has shined a light on the rampant violence in Puerto Rico that includes at least 858 homicides this year.

* U.S.: Could “undocumented immigrants” be named as Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2012?

* Colombia: One of the FARC negotiators involved in peace talks between the guerillas and the Colombian government claimed that both sides are “on the same wavelength.”

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Today's Video: Food for Thought

Today is the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. and it is generally believed that the first Thanksgiving feast took part between the Pilgrims and native Americans in Massachusetts in 1621.  But as we first mentioned five years ago, the first Thanksgiving really occurred in 1565 when Spanish explorers and Timuca natives in St. Augustine, Florida got together and dined on bean soup.

The following brief video via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette delves into the history behind the first Thanksgiving nearly 450 years ago:
Video Source - YouTube via user PostGazetteNow

Online Source - The Latin Americanist

Daily Headlines: November 22, 2012

* Brazil: 176 people in Sao Paulo were killed in October according to new data revealed hours after the city's security chief resigned from his post.

* Latin America: The U.S. State Department issued a travel warning to nationals visiting Honduras and updated its warning on traveling to Mexico.

* Peru: Indonesian law enforcement officials claimed that hundreds of women from that country work as “drug mules” in Peru.

* Argentina: A U.S. federal judge ordered the Argentine government to immediately pay over $1 billion owed to foreign creditors since the country defaulted a decade ago.

Video Source – YouTube via user ABCOfficialNews

Online Sources- BBC News, Times of India, USA TODAY, Bernama, The Guardian

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Daily Headlines: November 21, 2012 (Updated)

* Puerto Rico: Former world boxing champion Hector “Macho” Camacho remains in critical condition and is reportedly struggling to survive after he was shot last night.

Update (November 22): Hector “Macho” Camacho is brain dead and close to death according to doctors overseeing the critically injured former pugilist.

"We have done everything we could,"said Dr. Ernesto Torres of the Centro Medico trauma center in San Juan to the press on Thursday morning.

He added that Camacho's family will decide by Friday whether to take the former three-time title holder off of life support machines.

* Venezuela: The Venezuelan economy grew by over five percent in the third quarter but manufacturing has supposedly hit a fifty-year low.

* Argentina: Buenos Aires and other major cities were paralyzed yesterday after Argentina's main labor unions declared a general strike.

* Honduras: Could Xiomara Castro, the wife of ousted ex-president Manuel Zelaya, win next year's Honduran presidential election?

Video Source: YouTube via Associated Press

Online Sources including Update: Globalpost, ABC News, BBC News, Fox News Latino, Reuters, Huffington Post

Monday, November 19, 2012

Daily Headlines: November 19, 2012

* Colombia: Envoys representing the Colombian government and the FARC rebels are scheduled to continue historic peace talks today in Cuba.

* Ecuador: President Rafael Correa said Ecuador would welcome "with open arms" Spanish workers fleeing economic woes at home.

* Brazil: Over one million people took part in Rio de Janeiro's Gay Pride parade, which had the theme of combating homophobia.

* Mexico: The Attorney General's office contradicted a federal police report regarding the controversial shooting of two CIA agents last August.

Online Sources: BBC News, ABC News, Bloomberg, Gulf Times

Video Source: YouTube via Al Jazeera English

Friday, November 16, 2012

Daily Headlines: November 16, 2012

* Venezuela: Miguel Cabrera thanked the “support from God, my family, and my teammates" for helping him become the first Venezuelan to win the American League MVP.

* Latin America: Trade and investment opportunities are some of the main economic issues to be discussed at the Ibero-American summit that starts today in the Spanish city of Cadiz.

* Ecuador: The Ecuadorian government along with a coalition of conservation groups is behind a project to poison millions of rats on the Galapagos Islands.

* Mexico: Jose Cuitlahuac Salinas, the head of the Mexican organized crime unit, resigned due to “personal reasons” yesterday.

Video Source – YouTube via Ultimas Noticias (Miguel Cabrera’s family in Venezuela celebrated his American League MVP victory.)

Online Sources- Fox News Latino, The Guardian, MSNBC, Reuters

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Daily Headlines: November 15, 2012

* Mexico: No deaths or major damages have been reported as a result of a magnitude-6.0 earthquake that struck in the state of Guerrero early this morning.

* Latin America: In international soccer friendlies yesterday World Cup champions Spain overwhelmed Panama while Brazil and Argentina tied against Colombia and Saudi Arabia, respectively. 

* U.S.: The poverty rate among Latinos is 28% according to a new analysis of figures from the Census Bureau.

* Argentina: The Argentina government requested that the U.N.-affiliated International Sea Tribunal help in the release of an Argentine frigate held in Ghana.

Video Source – YouTube via user EstadoDeMexicoComMx

Online Sources- Los Angeles Times, ESPN, Reuters, Fox News Latino, BBC News

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Daily Headlines: November 14, 2012

* Colombia: Peace talks between the government and the FARC eebela that was supposed to begin today were delayed until next Monday.

* Peru: Chile’s high court approved another corruption trial against Alberto Fujimori, the imprisoned former president of Peru.

* Latin America: Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela will occupy seats on the the U.N. Human Rights Council.

* Mexico: The senate backed a controversial labor reform bill that was strongly opposed to by trade unions.

Video Source: YouTube via user telesurenglish

Online Sources: Reuters, Washington Post, Voice of America, Los Angeles Times

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Daily Headlines: November 13, 2012

* Brazil: A former top aide of ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was sentenced to ten years in prison for his role in the Mensalao corruption scandal.

* Nicaragua: Government officials and representatives with the International Monetary Fund began a "process of dialogue" for a new financial aid deal.

* Latin America: A new study from the Inter-American Development Bank concluded that despite gender parity in education most working women in Latin America are underpaid.
* Chile: An estimated 50,000 people took to the streets of Santiago as part of a gay rights rally.

Online Sources: Reuters, Christian Science Monitor, BBC News, AP

Video Source: YouTube via user ExclussiveBBC

Monday, November 12, 2012

Daily Headlines: November 12, 2012

* Guatemala: A 6.5-magnitude earthquake shook off the Guatemalan coast days after a stronger tremor killed at least fifty-two people and was felt as far away as Mexico City.
* Ecuador: President Rafael Correa officially launched his bid for reelection during a rally with thousands of his supporters in Quito.

* Cuba: Five hundred rabbis from around the world wrote a letter to Cuban president Raul Castro urging the release of imprisoned U.S. contractor Alan Gross on “humanitarian grounds.”

* Paraguay: Suspected Bolivian drug capo Marco Antonio Rocca Ali was nabbed by Paraguayan authorities along with over 3700 pounds of cocaine.

Video Source – YouTube via Al Jazeera English

Online Sources- USA TODAY, Reuters, AFP, ABC News