Friday, July 6, 2012

Mexico: López Obrador Rails Against “Brought” Elections

Did Mexico’s PRI political party purchase votes that allowed Enrique Peña Nieto to win Sunday’s presidential election? This was the accusation made by runner-up Andrés Manuel López Obrador at a press conference on Friday afternoon.

“We will prove the hypothesis that (the PRI) brought votes,” said the Progressive Movement candidate.

López Obrador referred to allegations that the PRI gave away pre-paid gift cards that thousands of Mexico City residents tried to redeem this week.

“The buying of votes in a municipality or a town can be covered up but we’re referring to the massive purchase of votes through these cards”, alleged López Obrador.

He also attacked Mexico’s main media entities for mounting a “propaganda” campaign favoring Peña Nieto and accused the defeated PAN party of “colluding” with the PRI by not “defending the vote.”

Peña Nieto claimed earlier this week that “there are no grounds” behind the accusations of vote buying and that the allegations are part of a “campaign of finger pointing.” According to Bloomberg, however, Mexico’s electoral commission might not agree with Peña Nieto’s assessment:

Daily Headlines: July 6, 2012

* Uruguay: President Jose Mujica said that Uruguay’s marijuana legalization plan will not be extended to other illegal narcotics and is aimed at lowering drug-related crime.

* U.S.: The unemployment rate for Latinos in June remained unchanged at 11.0% according to government data released today.

* Latin America: A report from the Press Emblem Campaign concluded that Latin America is the most dangerous region in the world for journalists.

* Panama: Opposition is growing against South Korea’s proposal to resume whaling for scientific research that was presented at the International Whaling Commission meeting in Panama.

Video Source – YouTube via brianandrewsntn24 (Video from June 2012).

Online Sources-, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Fox News Latino, CBS News

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Ex-Argentine Dictators Sentenced Over Illegal Adoptions

In a historic decision an Argentine court sentenced former dictators Jorge Videla and Reynaldo Bignone for the kidnapping and illegal adoptions of thirty-five children during the “Dirty War” era.

Videla, who has already been sentenced to life in prison for crimes against humanity, received the punishment of an additional fifty years behind bars. Bignone, who is also serving a lengthy prison sentences for human rights crimes in the early 1980s, was sentenced to fifteen years in prison.

Videla claimed during testimony last week that the accusations against him were “erroneous” and that the mothers kidnapped by security forces were “active militants in the machinery of terrorism”. Nevertheless, the court agreed with prosecutor Martín Niklison’s arguments alleging that Videla and Bignone knowingly executed a “systematic plan” to rob babies between 1976 and 1983.

Corinthians Win First Copa Libertadores Title

The trophy case for Brazilian soccer team Corinthians is filled with dozens of championships won on the Paulista state and national level. But like Captain Ahab in “Moby Dick” the Sao Paulo-based side could never catch capturing the biggest prize: the prestigious Copa Libertadores title. That all changed last night when Corinthians beat Argentina's Boca Juniors to win the 2012 Copa Libertadores:

Last week Boca Juniors striker Santiago Silva claimed, “Corinthians didn't create any chances (in the first leg in Buenos Aires) and got a draw that they didn't deserve.” But it was the Timao that took advantage of their opportunities in the return match. The first goal came in the 53rd minute when Emerson received a neat heel flick from Danilo, beat the Boca defense and calmly tucked the ball past backup goalkeeper Sebastian Sosa. Nineteen minutes later Emerson pounced on a failed pass by defender Rolando Schiavi, ran forty yards and scored the insurance goal for Corinthians.

"Our crowd represents 33 million fans. Since this year's Libertadores started, we have dreamed of clinching the title. We were all in need of this achievement," said Emerson to Fox Sports after the match.

Daily Headlines: July 5, 2012

* Latin America: Representatives at the International Whaling Commission meeting this week in Panama approved the expansion of whaling quotas to St Vincent & the Grenadines and rejected a South American-backed plan to create a South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary.

* Cuba: At least three people died in Cuba due to a recent cholera outbreak allegedly caused by contaminated well water.

* U.S.: The League of United Latin American Citizens backed a resolution supporting the legalization of same-sex marriage.

* Mexico: U.S. officers handed over to Mexican authorities suspected La Familia drug gang operative Anel Violeta Noriega Rios "La Bonita".

Video Source – YouTube via teleSUR English

Online Sources- CNN, BBC News, Reuters, Jamaica Observer, Fox News Latino

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Daily Headlines: July 4, 2012

* Colombia: Former Mauricio Santoyo turned himself in to U.S. authorities and awaits trial over allegedly helping paramilitaries smuggle cocaine.

* Latin America: At least three people died in clashes between Peruvian police and demonstrators opposed to a gold mining project, while fifty people were injured in Nicaragua during protests against education reforms.

* Canada: Is there a link between the suspected arson of a Montreal radio station and the station’s criticism of Haitian President Michel Martelly and ex-dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier?

* Nicaragua: The country’s legislature overwhelming approved a government-backed plan for the constructing of a transoceanic canal aimed at being an alternative to the Panama Canal.

Video Source – YouTube via canalNTN24

Online Sources- CNN, BBC News, Fox News Latino, Montreal Gazette, Tico Times

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Today’s Video: Patricia at the Polls

We'll return on Wednesday with several news stories from around the Americas including the aftermath of Mexico's presidential election.

For now we'll leave you with the following video of Patricia Ortiz Garcia, a young woman with a disability from Mexico City who was one of the thousands of poll workers during last Sunday's elections.

"Since I was born people told me that I would be a vegetable...but since then I said to myself 'I don't know how but I will get things done'" said Ortiz in the video from Mexican daily El Universal.

Online Source - YouTube via El Universal

Daily Headlines: July 3, 2012

* Puerto Rico: Legendary salsa musician and “master of the cuatro” Yomo Toro died over the weekend at the age of seventy-eight.

* Honduras: A victims’ advocacy group filed a legal challenge with the country’s Supreme Court against a government-backed initiative to grant police powers to the military.

* Cuba: Imprisoned political dissident Frank Montero was reportedly hospitalized after going on a thirty-six day hunger strike.

* Argentina: President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner staunchly defended a recently passed law permitting anyone to change his or her gender without first having to win medical or legal approval.

Video Source – YouTube via tmobile512

Online Sources- Huffington Post, Billboard, Miami Herald, Honduras Weekly

Monday, July 2, 2012

Vázquez Mota Wins Mexican Expat Vote

Josefina Vázquez Mota may’ve ended in third in yesterday’s Mexican presidential election but she scored a win among her countrymen living abroad.

According to Mexican electoral officials, the former minister representing the PAN gained 42.16% of the expat vote while Andrés Manuel López Obrador was second with 38.99%.

Presumed general election winner Enrique Peña Nieto of the PRI finished a distant third among Mexicans abroad with a paltry 15.61%.

The results were a repeat of the previous presidential election six years ago when most expats opted for the PAN’s Felipe Calderon while the PRI candidate only gained 4% of the vote. For Carlos Arango, the head of Chicago-based community organization Casa Aztlán, the results this year are not a surprise:
Once again most voters abroad “punished” the PRI since “they have no sympathy in the U.S.,” said Arango. “Those that are living abroad have not forgotten that they had to leave Mexico due to the problems caused by PRI-led regimes.”

The activist also noted that Enrique Peña Nieto and his party “did not invest in the expat community until the very end of his campaign.”

Mexico: Enrique Peña Nieto Widens Lead in Presidential Election (Updated)

Mexico’s old guard is apparently poised to reclaim the country’s presidency.

According to Mexico’s electoral board, the IFE, Enrique Peña Nieto of the PRI leads the race for the presidency. With 84.27% of the votes counted, the center-right Peña Nieto is first with 37.55% of the vote, 5.31% ahead of the leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Update (12:15): Peña Nieto has widened his lead to over 6% with nearly 93% of the vote counted, which explains why he's received congratulatory messages from several countries including Britain and Spain.

The former State of Mexico governor claimed that he won the election after a "quick count" conducted by the IFE gave him a 6-8% lead over López Obrador.

“Mexicans have given our party another chance. We are going to honor it with results,” said Peña Nieto to his followers while a senior IFE official claimed that Peña Nieto’s electoral advantage is “irreversible.

If the numbers do hold then it would represent a return to the presidency for the PRI, the party which ruled Mexico for seventy-one years until 2000 when PAN candidate Vicente Fox ended the hegemony.

“The last word hasn't been spoken yet…We simply do not have all the facts,” said López Obrador, who claimed that he would not quit until all the votes are counted.

It is unknown if López Obrador’s backers plan to repeat the actions of six years ago when he launched massive street protests after controversially losing the presidential race by less than 1% to current president Felipe Calderon.