Friday, August 5, 2016
“For better or worse, politics and the Olympics are intertwined,” was an argument we made back in 2008 during a discussion on the Tlateloco massacre prior to the 1968 Mexico City Games. That certainly has not changed at the Summer Olympics that is will be officially inaugurated tonight in Rio de Janeiro.
Acting Brazilian President Michel Temer became the first leader, acting or otherwise to skip the opening ceremonies of an Olympics since U.S. President jimmy Carter at the 1980 Winter Games. His name was not announced as tradition for the host country’s leader during the public introduction of the International Olympic Committee chief. Yet his absence did not go unnoticed by some of the thousands of spectators at the Maracana Stadium.
Update: Temer did appear at the ceremonies to officially open the Rio Games, whereupon he was soundly booed by the spectators.
“Shouts of ‘Fora Temer’ (‘Temer Out’) were heard coming from the crowd from the left of the grandstand,” reported O Globo on its website.
“Then part of the audience booed,” as if to drown out the chanters yet that led to stronger calls of “Fora Temer,” according to O Globo. The jeering would die down as the ceremonies continued with numerous performances and the parade of athletes participating at the Olympics.
Had he appeared and spoken at the opening ceremonies, organizers would have allegedly “raise the volume of the music or play sound effects” in order to cover up any booing or jeering against him.
Temer last month claimed the Rio Games would serve as “a time of international unity and national reconciliation” though that hasn’t been the case in the early goings of the event.
Several thousand protesters marched in Rio hours prior to the opening ceremonies with anti-Temer banners and chants. This rally, as seen in the video at the top of this post, caused a detour in the planned route of the Olympic torch parade.
Thursday, August 4, 2016
* Colombia: The neoconservative Democratic Center political party announced their opposition to a peace plebiscite regarding the FARC even though nearly three out of four Colombians in a recent poll would vote for the “Yes” option,
* Venezuela: In what seems to be the latest concession by the Venezuelan government to the military, a general accused by the United States for drug trafficking was named as interior and justice minister for the South American state.
* Panama: The newest batch of documents uncovered via the Panama Papers leak has implicated businesses in at least fifty-two African countries including Egypt, Nigeria, and Algeria.
* Puerto Rico: Pedro Pierluisi, Puerto Rico’s lone member of Congress, suggested that genetically modified mosquitoes could be used to combat the spread of the Zika virus on the commonwealth.
YouTube Source – euronews (From June 2016: “Three years of historic peace talks between Colombian government and FARC negotiators have resulted in a ceasefire agreement.”)
Online Sources – Reuters, teleSUR English, Business Insider, allAfrica.com, ABC News
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
* Haiti: Observers from the Organization of American States will monitor Haiti’s upcoming elections but warned that more than a dozen reforms are needed for the much maligned and delayed electoral process.
* Latin America: At least six people are dead and four others are missing in the Dominican Republic following Tropical Storm Earl, which is advancing towards the Gulf coast of Mexico and Honduras.
* Guatemala: The daughter of the fifth Guatemalan journalist murdered this year was herself shot and killed though it’s unknown if the motives behind both deaths are linked.
* Venezuela: Jamaica will pay back some of its oil debt under the Petrocaribe alliance with food and medicine to a Venezuelan state mired in an economic crisis.
YouTube Source – AFP (Haiti’s presidential election was initially held nearly ten months ago but the election will be rerun this October amid deep political tension and accusations of voter fraud).
Online Sources – The Miami Herald, The Weather Channel, Bloomberg, Yahoo7 News, The Independent
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
* Cuba: The Cuban government accused the U.S. State Department of attempting to rush to settle billions of dollars of claims between both countries.
* Venezuela: Electoral officials have approved the first step in a possible recall vote against President Nicolas Maduro, while Amnesty International blasted a decree that is reportedly shifting more power to the military.
* Argentina: Could the appointment of Edgardo Bauza as new coach of the Argentine men’s national soccer team lure Lionel Messi back into the fold for los albicelestes?
* Mexico: The mayor of a town in Michoacán state and four police officers were arrested and charged with the massacre of ten people purportedly in relation to the local drugs trade.
YouTube Source – Associated Press (From March 2015: “Nearly 60 years after Fidel Castro took over Cuba, American families and companies who have claims on billions worth of confiscated property are wondering if the communist government will pay up as the U.S. and Cuba restore diplomatic ties.”)
Online Sources – ESPN FC, Reuters, The Guardian, BBC News, CNN Money
Monday, August 1, 2016
* Poland: Pope Francis spent several days in Poland that included a visit to the former Nazi death camp at Auschwitz and also declaring Panama as the site of the next World Youth Day.
* Puerto Rico: Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla signed into a law a proposal allowing municipalities to share administrative services in order to cut costs at the heavily indebted commonwealth.
* Nicaragua: Nicaraguan electoral officials unseated twenty-eight opposition members of the federal legislature in a move critics view as consolidating the power of President Daniel Ortega.
* Cuba: JetBlue could become the first air carrier to regular schedule commercial flights to Cuba but the move first requires permission from the island’s government.
YouTube Source – France 24 English
Online Sources – Refinery29, NPR, Vatican Radio, Business Insider, Yahoo7 News