Friday, February 6, 2015

Daily Headlines: February 6, 2015

* Haiti: Carnival celebrations in Port-au-Prince later this month could be disrupted by protests critical of the government’s handling of gasoline prices.

* Cuba: At least two Cuban baseball players including the rookie of the year in the island’s league last year defected during the Caribbean Series hosted in Puerto Rico.

* Peru: Researchers discovered a new yellow frog species in the coastal valleys of central Peru that is under threat from a deadly type of fungus.

* Uruguay: According to Israel’s Haaretz daily, Uruguay expelled an Iranian diplomat suspected of placing a bomb near the Israeli embassy in Montevideo last month.

Video Source – YouTube user No Comment TV (“Protests continued in Haiti (on January 11th) with demonstrators making urgent calls for President Michel Martelly to resign as they clashed with police in the capital.”)

Online Sources – UPI; Reuters; ABC News; Haaretz

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Daily Headlines: February 5, 2015

* Mexico: Mexican priest Gregorio Lopez Geronimo protested outside of the White House yesterday in order to call attention to the case of forty-three students missing for more than four months.

* Dominican Republic: Activists denounced as a “failure” government efforts to naturalize tens of thousands of Dominican-born people of Haitian descent whose citizenship was stripped in a controversial 2013 court ruling.

* Venezuela: Ex-mayor Enzo Scarano was freed from prison nearly one year after he was convicted for allegedly inciting violence during anti-government protests.

* Panama: Will former President Ricardo Martinelli return to Panama where he’s accused of being a key figure in a growing corruption scandal?

Video Source – YouTube user teleSUR English (“Protests demanding the safe return of the 42 missing Ayotzinapa students were held in 20 US cities (last month) to coincide with the visit to Washington by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto”.)

Online Sources – Fox News Latino; GlobalPost; El Universal;

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Daily Headlines: February 4, 2015

* Brazil: Five top executives at oil giant Petrobras including CEO Maria das Graças Silva Foster resigned amid a major corruption scandal that has shaken up Brazilian politics and has hurt the country’s economy.

* Cuba: Roberta Jacobson, the top U.S. diplomat for Latin America, rejected the possibility of handing over the Guantanamo military base to Cuba as part of the efforts to improve relations between both countries.
* Mexico: A record number of children and women were deported from Mexico in 2014 reportedly due to a government crackdown on undocumented migrants and pressure from the U.S.

* Uruguay: Environmentalists in Uruguay expressed their concern over the potential legalization of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” in order to extract oil.

Video Source – YouTube user Financial Times (“State-controlled oil producer Petrobras is at the center of the biggest corruption scandal in Brazilian history.”)

Online Sources – Reuters; Bloomberg; GlobalPost; The Guardian

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Daily Headlines: February 3, 2015

* Mexico: New doubts have been raised in the government’s findings of the 43 missing Ayotzinapa students after a Mexican magazine claimed detained suspects were tortured into confessing.

* Argentina: In one of the latest twists in the Nisman murder case, an Argentine judge refused to handle allegations of a cover-up by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in the investigation of the 1994 AMIA bombing.

* Cuba: Cuban state media published the first photos of former president Fidel Castro to appear publicly since August of last year.

* Venezuela: The already weakened diplomatic ties between the U.S. and Venezuela have worsened following the expansion of travel bans against members of the Maduro administration.

Video Source – YouTube user teleSUR English (“Family members of the 43 missing Ayotzinapa students are in Geneva, Switzerland, taking their case to the UN Committee on Forced Disappearances.”)

Online Sources – The Huffington Post; Voice of America; CNN; MercoPress; The Latin Americanist

Monday, February 2, 2015

Daily Headlines: February 2, 2015

* Brazil: Brazil's worst drought in decades has led to special alerts in four Brazilian states including Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, decreased agriculture production in Espirito Santo and water rationing in more than ninety cities.

* South America: The Argentine government wants to create a new intelligence agency in the wake of the death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman while scandal-plagued former Colombian intel chief Maria del Pilar Hurtado turned herself in to police.

* Venezuela: Is U.S. Vice President Joe Biden planning a coup against Venezuela’s government or is Nicolás Maduro searching for scapegoats amid a domestic economic crisis?

* Chile: President Michelle Bachelet proposed reforming Chile’s complete ban on abortion by legalizing the procedure in cases of rape or when the mother’s life is at risk.

Video Source – YouTube user Reuters (“Agricultural producers in Rio de Janeiro state battle with the worst drought Brazil has seen in 80 years which is killing large numbers of livestock and crops.”)

Online Sources – Latin American Herald Tribune; Buenos Aires Herald; BBC News; Bernama; UPI

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Weekender – Teruggi and Horman

“The Weekender” is our new feature where every weekend we hope to highlight a short film, movie or documentary pertaining to the Americas.

On January 28th, Chilean officials published a court ruling against two former intelligence agents involved in the murder of U.S. citizens Frank Teruggi and Charles Horman shortly after the 1973 military coup. The decision issued on earlier in the month ordered Pedro Espinoza to serve seven years behind bars while his accomplice, Pedro Espinoza, was sentenced to two years of police supervision.

According to the lengthy 276-page ruling, Chile’s intelligence considered the actions of economics student Teruggi and filmmaker Horman as “subversive” and ordered their detention. Horman was kidnapped six days after Gen. Augusto Pinochet ousted the civilian government and killed “by the Military Intelligence Battalion or the Army Intelligence Headquarters.” Teruggi became one of the thousands of people herded into the National Stadium in Santiago, tortured by the military and murdered.

The tribunal also found that a U.S. military group in Chile led by then-Navy captain Ray E. Davis helped carry out a “secret investigation” on Teruggi and Horman. Davis was indicted by a Chilean court in 2011 and ordered his extradition though it was later revealed that he was living in a nursing home in the South American country. Much like Pinochet, Davis died in impunity but questions continue to linger over U.S. involvement in the deaths of Teruggi and Horman.

“Frank, a charitable and peace-loving young man, was the victim of a calculated crime by the Chilean military, but the question of U.S. complicity remains yet to be answered,” said Teruggi’s sister, Janis Teruggi Page.

Horman’s widow, meanwhile, expressed hope that the Chilean justice system will focus on other suspected human rights abusers from the Pinochet era.

“I hope this ruling will strengthen prosecutions for these crimes and stop these types of crime,” said Joyce Horman in an interview after he ruling was made public.

“The memories are still very fresh in my mind. It’s been almost 42 years and for a longtime everyone resisted pursuing an investigation as long as possible,” she added.

In the following video below the page break, Joyce talks with journalist Bob Herbert about receiving harassment prior to the coup, reacting to her husband’s disappearance and seeking for justice in the deaths of Teruggi and Horman.