Friday, December 4, 2015
* Latin America: A court in El Salvador ordered former President Francisco Flores to stand trial on corruption charges days after an Argentine tribunal sentenced ex-leader Carlos Menem to four-and-a-half years in jail for embezzlement.
* Ecuador: Police in Quito clashed with protesters angry over the National Assembly’s decision to approve a series of constitutional amendments including eliminating presidential term limits starting in 2021.
* U.S.: The U.S. Department of Justice named sixteen Latin American soccer confederation executives including the current presidents of the regional CONCACAF and CONMEBOL entities as part of its widening investigation.
* Brazil: Stocks in Brazil tumbled this week reportedly due to investors worried that “the process to impeach President Dilma Rousseff may take months and involve several votes in Congress.”
YouTube Source – teleSUR English (“Former Salvadoran President Francisco Flores has been ordered detained and held for trial on charges of misappropriating US$15 million in Taiwanese aid donations.”)
Online Sources – ESPN, BBC News, Bloomberg, teleSUR English, Latin American Herald Tribune
Thursday, December 3, 2015
* Brazil: Lower house speaker Eduardo Cunha gave the go-ahead for impeachment proceedings to begin against President Dilma Rousseff for allegedly breaking fiscal laws.
* Central America: Some 4000 Cuban migrants are still in limbo in Central America amid heated diplomatic tensions between neighbors Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
* El Salvador: Human rights group Amnesty International blasted El Salvador’s total ban on abortion for “treat(ing) women as little more than human vessels.”
* Mexico: Archaeologists discovered a passageway at Mexico City's Templo Mayor ruin complex that could lead to the cremated remains of ancient Aztec rulers.
YouTube Source – AFP (“Pro-impeachment demonstrators (last October) set up a giant balloon caricature representing Dilma Rousseff outside the Congress, where a new petition to remove her was submitted.”)
Online Sources – Bloomberg, teleSUR English, JURIST, Business Insider
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
* Colombia: Colombia’s traditional vallenato music was selected by UNESCO as a “Cultural Patrimony for Mankind” but the agency warned that the genre is in danger of disappearing.
* Cuba: Cuban authorities have reinstated restrictions against medical professionals seeking to work in foreign countries in order to halt a “brain drain” of doctors leaving the island.
* Puerto Rico: Puerto Rico paid $354 million on its debt to prevent defaulting but officials warned that they might not be able to pay $1 billion due on New Year’s Day.
* Argentina: A former Argentine political prisoner was reunited with his son that was the 119th offspring identified by the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo as having been illegally adopted during military rule from 1973 to 1990.
YouTube Source – Discos Fuentes Edimusica
Online Sources – USA TODAY, BBC News, Fusion, teleSUR English
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Today marked the seventeenth annual observance of World AIDS Day, which raises awareness of the pandemic caused by the disease as well as remember those lost over the last few decades.
New data presented on Monday from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and World Health Organization (WHO) has shown that some progress is being made in Latin America and Caribbean to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS.
According to a joint PAHO/WHO study, seventeen counties and territories in the Americas have mostly eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. Among the nations credited in the report are Chile, Puerto Rico and Cuba, the last of which was certified by the WHO as the world's first country to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. (Sixteen other countries including Costa Rica and Uruguay are seeking this validation). New HIV infections in children have dropped by approximately 50% in Latin America and Caribbean as a result of efforts in the entities cited in the study.
The key to reducing transmission of HIV from mother to offspring has been more widespread prenatal check-ups of expectant moms. In 2010, 94% of women in the region received pre-natal care and only 54% were examined for HIV. Four years later, the former increased by 2% but the latter grew by a notable 21% so that three in four pregnant women are tested for HIV.
Latin American and Caribbean governments, civil society and health groups agreed last year on an ambitious “90-90-90” plan to eliminate AIDS in the region by 2030. Yet the PAHO/WHO report noted that approximately 2500 infants in Latin America and Caribbean contracted HIV in 2014. Furthermore, the organizations claims that roughly 30% of the estimated two million people in the region with HIV are unaware that they are infected. These obstacles must be overcome in order to fulfill the pledge made last year:
* Guatemala: Gang violence was blamed for the deaths of at least sixteen inmates at a Guatemalan prison that is at approximately 500% overcapacity.
* Brazil: Brazil’s recession worsened in the third trimester of 2015 and posted a 1.7% quarterly drop along with a worrying 4.5% annual decline.
* El Salvador: San Salvador Archbishop Bishop Jesus Delgado apologized to victims of sexual abuse by clergy amid a crackdown by the archdiocese against suspected pedophiles.
* Venezuela: Authorities arrested three suspects in the murder of Venezuelan opposition politician Luis Diaz during a recent campaign event to rally support prior to Sunday’s legislative elections.
YouTube Source – Associated Press
Online Sources – iTV News, Reuters, UPI, Yahoo News
Monday, November 30, 2015
* Nicaragua: Construction on a controversial $50 billion interoceanic canal in Nicaragua that was supposed to begin this December will be postponed for up to a year.
* Argentina: “Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters,” declared Pope Francis at a mosque in the Central African Republic as he nears the end of a six-day trip to Africa.
* Peru: The son of former military leader Juan Velasco Alvarado cold join the daughter of imprisoned ex-President Alberto Fujimori in the race for Peru’s next president.
* Mexico: Mexico could be barred from participating in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro due to the government probing possible corruption in national sports federations.
YouTube Source – France 24 English (Video uploaded on June 2015).
Online Sources – Yahoo News, Peru Reports, Voice of America, Newsweek
Sunday, November 29, 2015
* Cuba: Several hundred protesters demonstrated outside of the Ecuadoran embassy in Havana after the South American country imposed new visa restrictions on visitors from Cuba.
* Venezuela: The death of Venezuelan opposition politician Luis Diaz by unknown gunmen last Wednesday has added to an already tense political climate prior to next Sunday’s legislative elections.
* Haiti: Presidential candidate Jude Célestin could drop out of the December 27th runoff amid allegations of fraud during the October 25th election.
* Chile: Jovino Novoa, described as a “founding member of Chile's largest party and former collaborator of late dictator Augusto Pinochet”, was found guilty as part of a corruption investigation.
* Brazil: President Dilma Rousseff will order a freeze of some $2.65 billion in spending in order to comply while the government tries to tackle a budget crisis.
* South America: Will South American neighbors Argentina and Uruguay launch a joint bid to host the soccer World Cup in 2030?
YouTube Source – EFE (Starting on December 1st, Ecuador will halt becoming the only Latin American nation without visa requirements for visitors from Cuba).
Online Sources – Deusche Welle, Reuters, ABC News, SBS, NDTV