Friday, May 27, 2016

Daily Headlines: May 27, 2016

* Mexico: While questions continue in the official investigation of the 43 Ayotzinapa college students missing since September 2014, one of the survivors of the attack against his classmates has sought political asylum in the U.S.

* El Salvador: The Salvadoran legislature approved issuing $152 million in bonds in order to finance proposals to combat rampant gang violence.

* Brazil: Police are searching for at least thirty suspects behind the gang rape of a sixteen-year-old girl in Rio de Janeiro that was recorded and uploaded on Twitter.

* Panama: The Panamanian Supreme Court urged the federal government to seek the extradition of ex-President Ricardo Martinelli from the U.S.

YouTube Source – AJ+ (Video uploaded in September 2015.  Yesterday marked twenty months since the 43 Ayotzinapa students have disappeared and may have been murdered).

Online Sources – The Atlantic, Vice News, euronews, CBC, Reuters

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Daily Headlines: May 26, 2016

* Peru: A sixty-day state of emergency was declared for the Madre de Dios region following the spread of mercury poisoning due to illegal mining operations.

* Brazil: Prosecutors looking into the “Lava Jato” corruption scandal reportedly are examining possible financial wrongdoing related to “all the venues and services financed with federal funds” for the upcoming Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

* Puerto Rico: The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote within the next few days on a bipartisan congressional plan to restructure Puerto Rico’s roughly $70 billion public debt.

* South America: Ecuadoran minnows Independiente del Valle join former Copa Libertadores champions Atletico Nacional, Boca Juniors, and Sao Paulo in the final four of this year’s edition of the top South American soccer club tournament.

YouTube Source – DW (English)

Online Sources – Popular Science, Reuters, ESPN FC

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Brazilian Artists Prevent Culture Ministry Shutdown

Marcelo Calero was sworn on Tuesday as Brazil’s new Culture Minister under Acting President Michel Temer though that was not under the new leader’s original plans. Temer originally opted to merge the Ministry of Culture (MC) into the Education Ministry but days ago reinstated the department following campaigning by the local artistic community.

The main thrust came from the “Ocupa MinC” movement that mobilized to voice their discontent against Temer’s actions. Hundreds of artists, musicians, actors and others protested by taking over MC buildings in twenty-three cities throughout Brazil. In the Teatro Oficina in Sao Paulo, for instance, demonstrators at their sit-in chanted the popular song “Baile de Favela” as a form of resistance. Renowned música popular brasileira singers Caetano Veloso and Erasmo Carlos performed in concert last week at the MC headquarters for Rio de Janeiro.

MinC is ours (and) is a victory of the Brazilian state.  It does not represent any government,” said Veloso who left Brazil under exile during the repressive military rule of the 1970s.

“Any person who thinks culture is superfluous is someone out of touch with the identity of our nation,” declared Carlos in an apparent message for Temer.

Other artists aligned to Ocupa MinC are not only upset at Temer but also outraged over the process that led to impeachment proceedings against his predecessor, Dilma Rousseff. In a video purportedly produced by Ocupa MinC and embedded at the top of this post, at least eleven figures criticize the “illegitimate government” under Temer for removing eight other ministries including those representing women, indigenous communities and human rights.

“The fight for democracy does not have a deadline,” actress Marieta Severo mentioned at the end of the video.

Daily Headlines: May 25, 2016

* Cuba: The Cuban government announced a plan to legalize small and medium-sized private businesses following the success of allowing self-employment in areas like restaurant ownership and hairdressing.

* Colombia: At least three journalists have gone missing and a rumored to have been kidnapped by rebels in a region of northeast Colombia devastated by armed conflict.

* Guatemala: Officials of the neighboring countries of Guatemala and Belize reportedly agreed to coordinate the training of their troops following the fatal shooting of a 13-year-old boy in a border region.

* Chile: Security guards at Chile’s presidential palace in Santiago clashed with student protesters seeking greater reforms to the educational system.

YouTube Source – CCTV America (Video uploaded in April 2015).

Online Sources – ABC News, BBC News, GlobalPost, Reuters

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Daily Headlines: May 24, 2016

* Guatemala: Guatemalan prosecutors are considering a inaugurating a new office specializing in dealing with femicides in response to the 222 gender-based murders of women in the first four months of 2016.

* Puerto Rico: Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders railed against a bipartisan congressional plan backed by the White House to help restructure Puerto Rico’s $70 billion public debt.

* Peru: Polls indicate that Keiko Fujimori has widened her lead ahead of the June 5th presidential runoff despite corruption allegations within her campaign and concerns over the relation to her imprisoned father, ex-president Alberto Fujimori.

* Venezuela: Brazil’s acting foreign minister said his country and Argentina reportedly agreed to help mediate in Venezuela’s worsening political crisis.

YouTube Source – DW (English)

Online Sources – teleSUR English, Politico, Reuters, ABC News

Monday, May 23, 2016

Daily Headlines: May 23, 2016 (Updated)

* Mexico: The Mexican Foreign Ministry approved the extradition of imprisoned drug capo Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán to the U.S. though legal appeals could delay the transfer for months.

* Venezuela: The largest military exercise in Venezuelan history took place over the weekend amid increased discontent over the ailing economy and heightened political tensions.

* U.S.: A recent poll of nearly 900 Latino voters have showed respondents overwhelmingly prefer Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders over likely Republican nominee Donald Trump.

* Argentina: Will Argentina’s top diplomat, Susana Malcorra, be the successor to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon after he steps down on New Year’s Day 2017?

Update: The head of the U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, Alicia Barcena of Mexico, could be another female option to be the next Secretary General. (Link in Spanish).

YouTube Source – euronews

Online Sources – Business Insider, The Latin Americanist, UPI, SBS, The New York Times,