Friday, July 1, 2016
* El Salvador: Around 300 protesters marched to the residence of El Salvador’s president and called for better prison conditions for inmates including suspected gang members targeted in a security crackdown.
* Brazil: The head of Brazil’s anti-doping agency was replaced though the sports ministry claimed it had nothing to do with the suspension of its Rio de Janeiro laboratory weeks before the start of the Olympics.
* Latin America: “We cannot remain frozen in the face of a decision that could be difficult and catastrophic,” said Mexico’s economics secretary in reference to the possible aftermath of this year’s U.S. presidential election.
* Colombia: Thirty-three people were arrested and eleven tons of cocaine seized in a joint counternarcotics operation involving Italian and Colombian authorities.
YouTube Source – CCTV Americas Now (From December 2012: An “in-depth look at the issue of prison overcrowding in El Salvador, where many are packed into penitentiaries way beyond their limits forced to live a life of filth.”)
Online Sources – The Washington Post, Yahoo Finance, Reuters, MercoPress
Thursday, June 30, 2016
* Guatemala: An estimated 2.8 million people have been affected by a drought in Guatemala including 900,000 at risk of malnutrition and requiring prompt assistance.
* Mexico: The leaders of the U.S., Canada and Mexico unveiled a plan to boost clean energy throughout North America and also pledged to strengthen economic ties in the region.
* Chile: Officials implemented a new law aimed at lowering Chile’s high child obesity rate by banning ads targeting minors under the age of 14 and prohibiting selling food with a toy prize.
* U.S.: The judge who controversially gave a lenient sentence to convicted rapist Brock Turner has been accused of racial bias for ordering a harsher punishment against a Latino defendant in a similar case of sexual assault.
YouTube Source – CCTV English
Online Sources – Al Jazeera, Voice of America, CBC, Fusion
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
The June 23rd referendum showing a slim majority backed the United Kingdom leaving the European Union has led to increased talk of similar types of withdrawals. Some plans, such as Scotland and Northern Ireland possibly breaking away from the U.K., could easily become a reality. Others, however, seem to be not as serious and are more a pipe dream for their supporters. The campaign by a group of Sao Paulo separatists in Brazil fits into this latter category.
Calling themselves the Sampa Libre (SPL) movement, backers of the campaign have called on a plebiscite to be held on October 2nd to decide if Brazil’s wealthiest and highest populated state should become its own independent country.
“With the victory of those who defended the withdrawal of Great Britain from the European Union, it has become clear that times have changed and what appeared impossible can soon be realized. That will be the case for Paulista independence,” read a post on the SPL’s Facebook page that has been shared at least 12,000 times.
The SPL justifies their cause by claiming that Sao Paulo wanted to become its own country but was rejected by the “traitor” emperor Dom Pedro I who instead declared Brazil as its own country in 1822. The group further cited alleged “historical documents from the Portuguese crown where the king is warned to be alert against the Paulistas due to their “excessive love of liberty.’”
While the SPL’s move towards independence may be seen as a laughing matter, what isn’t is the potential effect the Brexit action could have on the Brazilian economy under recession.
* Cuba: A U.S. federal judge ruled that a group of Cuban migrants who climbed a lighthouse off the Florida Keys must be returned to their homeland as part of the “wet foot, dry foot” policy.
* U.S.: Non-citizen Latinos may be barred from voting in federal elections but a new report found that they are a politically active group and could play an important role in the upcoming U.S. presidential election.
* Peru: President-elect Pedro Pablo Kuczynski claimed a “social revolution” is needed to reduce inequality, particularly for the most impoverished regions of Peru.
* Mexico: Canada and Mexico reached key immigration and trade agreements prior to the start of the “Three Amigos” summit today of the leaders of both nations plus the U.S..
YouTube Source – Associated Press (From June 2015: “The US-Cuba relationship is changing, but the U.S. Coast Guard continues to interdict thousands of Cuban migrants risking their lives to take advantage of the controversial 'wet foot dry foot' policy.”)
Online Sources – NBC NEWS, CNN, The Atlantic, Xinhua
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
* Brazil: Rio 2016 Committee CEO Sidney Levy tried to downplay worries over the Zika virus and economic problems in Brazil as top ranked men’s golfer Jason Day became the latest high-profile athlete to skip the upcoming Olympics.
* Chile: Former Chilean military soldier Pedro Barrientos could be extradited to his homeland and face a criminal trial after a U.S. court found him liable for the torture and death of folk singer Victor Jara in 1973.
* Puerto Rico: Time is running short for the U.S. Congress to approve a debt relief package for Puerto Rico before a July 1st deadline to pay $2 billion of its $70 billion debt.
* Venezuela: The opposition coalition claimed to have sufficient signatures to commence a recall referendum process against President Nicolás Maduro.
YouTube Source – CCTV News (From May 31, 2016: “Despite scientists' calls for the Games to be moved or postponed over fears of the Zika virus, the World Health Organization insists that the Olympics and Paralympics ‘will take place during Brazil's wintertime when there are fewer active mosquitoes and the risk of being bitten is lower.’”)
Online Sources – ABC News, Reuters, BBC News, Latin American Herald Tribune, The Age
Monday, June 27, 2016
* Panama: After months of construction delays, cost overruns and worker strife the expanded Panama Canal reopened on Sunday and is expected to generate $2 billion in annual revenue.
* Chile: Chile’s golden generation of soccer players steered the men’s national team to second consecutive Copa America victory in the span of twelve months.
* Colombia: While Colombia is on the cusp of a historic peace deal with the FARC rebels, the government has offered tax breaks to companies investing in projects located in regions ravaged by armed conflict.
* Paraguay: Fernando Lugo, the former president who was ousted in 2012, said he would run again for Paraguay’s highest political office in 2018.
YouTube Source – Associated Press
Online Sources – USA TODAY, The Huffington Post, Fortune, teleSUR English