Friday, September 30, 2005

Bank to offer free remittance service to Mexico

Bank of America announced Wednesday that it will drop all fees for transferring money to Mexico. (Miami Herald)

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Uribe's approval remains high

Approval of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe remains high in the country, with 67% of respondents saying he is doing a good or very good job. A ruling is expected from Congress later this year on whether the country's law will be changed to allow the re-election of a President. (Angus Reid)

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Peru approves of open source software

Peruvian legislators have approved a bill that sanctions the use of open-source software, making it more difficult for firms such as Microsoft to build monolopies in the country. (Channel Register)

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Real rises as PT candidate wins Lower House election

The Brazilian real rose .5% as Aldo Rebelo, President Luiz Inacio Lula's da Silva favorite to win the Lower House presidency, gained the post by a slim margin. (Bloomberg)

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Venezuela to open embassy in N. Korea

Venezuelan Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel met with his North Korean counterpart in Caracas yesterday to discuss increased cooperation between the two countries. (Bloomberg)

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Pentagon OKs weapons sales to Chile, Brazil

Pentagon officials announced yesterday the approval of weapons sales of $110 million to Brazil and Chile, to "aid US interests by improving military conditions in South America". (MarketWatch)

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Palacio: Ecuador needs more investment in oil industry

At a conference on Latin America's global competitiveness, Ecuador's President Alfredo Palacio said the country needs more foreign investment in its oil industry to bring the sector out of a "standstill". (DowJonesNewswires)

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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Somoza descendants attempt to recoup assets

Descendants of former Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza are taking legal action to try to recoup the assets lost to the family after the 1979 revolution. (GrandForksHerald)

Sharp drop in US visits to Cuba

Cuba's Vice Foreign Minister announced that there has been a sharp drop in the numbers of visitors coming from the US since 2003, due the increase in fines by the US government on those who travel without permission and the strengthening of the economic embargo against Cuba. (MSNBC)

Colombia invites India to explore for oil

The Colombian government has invited ONGC Videsh, India's state-owned oil company, to explore areas in Colombia for possible oil extraction. (Hindustan Times)

Polar to Chavez: Don’t confiscate us

-Contributed by Erwin Cifuentes. In light of Chavez’s rush to take over several Venezuelan industries, the CEO of Polar Companies declared on Tuesday that his company refuses to allow the government to take over some of their facilities. (El Universal)

International aid sought to combat Trinidad’s crime

- Contributed by Erwin Cifuentes. Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Patrick Manning has sought help from the FBI and London’s Metropolitan Police for help in curbing a sharp increase in violent crime. Manning blames trade in illegal drugs as well as the deportation of criminals from the US, UK, and Canada for the surge in crime, although a growing number of politicians and the business elite blame Manning. (BBC)

Andean condor near extinction

- Contributed by Erwin Cifuentes. Conservation efforts in Colombia have increased in order to save the endangered giant Andean condor. Various impediments exist, however, including thinning habitats and government bureaucracy. (IHT)

Brazil: Election of lower house president seen as a boost for Lula

- Contributed by Erwin Cifuentes. Former Cabinet minister and Worker’s Party politician Aldo Rebelo was elected as the head of Brazil’s lower house by a slim margin. Thus, Lula may have an easier time getting his proposals passed since the ruling party now decides on the lower house’s voting agenda. (Bloomberg)

Chavez calls US 'hypocritical' in war on terrorism

After US authorities declined to extradite terrorist suspect Luis Posada Carriles to Venezuela for the bombing of a Cuban airliner in 1976, President Hugo Chavez called the US 'hypocritical' in its 'war on terrorism' . (Bloomberg)

US actions in Paraguay cause for concern

Since the US began military exercises in Paraguay in July that are set to continue until December 2006, many in the region have expressed concern that US may have alterior motives, such as establishing a permanent base. (BBC)

Peruvian court backs federal policy against drugs

- Contributed by Erwin Cifuentes. Federal and provincial officials in Peru continue debating over a recent decision by the country’s highest court prohibiting coca cultivation. For example, the president of Cuzco province declared yesterday that he would support protests by coca farmers against the court’s ruling. (FT)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Puerto Rican town approves UFO landing strip

The mayor of Lajas, Puerto Rico has approved the construction of of a UFO landing strip on the property of a school teacher in the town, though the government will not be investing in the project. (CNN)

UNAM opens world's largest 'robotic hospital'

Mexico's UNAM university opened the world's largest 'robotic' hospital Monday, with robotic dummies capable of simulating breathing patterns and mechanical organs. (Reuters)

Venezuela extending state control over business

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is accelerating the process of accumulating state-owned enterprises in agribusiness and mining, according to the Financial Times. (FT)

Federal prosecutor killed in Mexico

Federal drug prosecutor Miguel Angel Esquivel was shot and killed in ambush in Monterrey Tuesday, making it the 24th drug-related killing in the city this year. (Reuters)

Brazil won't receive ratings upgrade

Fitch Ratings announced Tuesday that political uncertainties and sky-high interest rates have discouraged the agency from upgrading Brazil's credit rating, despite a robust economy. (BusinessWeek)

Secretary Rice in Haiti

US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is touring Haiti ahead of the country's elections in 8 weeks, to promote democratic stability. (Miami Herald)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Colombia to offer 1 hr divorces

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe is expected to sign into law next week a measure that would allow Colombians a $15, 1-hour divorce service. (CNN)

Puerto Rican revolutionary leader killed by FBI agents

-Contributed by Jose Laguarta. Puerto Rican nationalist Filiberto Ojeda Rios was shot and killed by FBI agents Saturday after a gunfight in his hometown of Hormigueros, Puerto Rico. (BBC, IndyMedia, Counterpunch)

Lagos most admired head of state

Chilean President Ricardo Lagos is the most admired head of state in the region, according to a Zogby Poll commissioned by the Miami Herald and the University of Miami. George W. Bush, Hugo Chavez, and Fidel Castro fall among the least admired. (The Santiago Times)

Latin America: China's garden?

Chinese growth is fueling intense demand for Latin American raw materials. (Miami Herald)

Posada likely to stay in the US

-Contributed by Erwin Cifuentes. A Texas immigration judge indicated Monday that Cuban exile militant Luis Posada Carriles is likely to be allowed to stay in the United States, rather than be extradited to Venezuela, where government officials seek to try him on charges that he hijacked a Cuban airliner in 1976. (Miami Herald (US), Granma (Cuba))

Dissenting activists hurt Brazil's ruling political party

-Contributed by Erwin Cifuentes. Approximately 400 active workers from Brazil's ruling Worker's Party announced their intention to quit the Party and join an opposing "ultra-left wing" political party. Serious allegations of corruption have hurt the Worker's Party over the past months and lack of reform within the Party led to this show of dissent. (Clarin, Argentina) *Note- this article is in Spanish*

Refereeing scandal rocks Brazilian soccer

- Contributed by Erwin Cifuentes. The chief of Brazil's sport tribunal declined to stop or make any changes to the Brazilian soccer club championship in light of rumors of match-fixing by several referees. The Brazilian soccer federations have already banned two referees who officiated fifteen games in both the first and second divisions for accepting money from an illegal gambling ring. (

Monday, September 26, 2005


Donald Rumsfeld is giving the president his daily briefing. He concludes by saying: "Yesterday, 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed in an accident'. "OH NO!" the President exclaims. "That's terrible!" His staff sits stunned at this display of emotion, nervously watching as the president sits, head in hands Finally, the President looks up and asks..........

''How many is a Brazillion ??!'

Schwarzenegger woos Hispanics

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger traveled to Mexico this weekend in an effort to shore up his image with Hispanics, many of whom have derided his decisions to oppose driver's licenses for illegal immigrants and impose health and welfare cuts. (

Debate: The war on drugs

As Colombian president Alvaro Uribe basks in praise from the US government for reducing his country’s coca production by 52% from 2003-2004, others signal that total supply has not decreased, but that production has simply been diverted to other South American nations. Alvaro Vargas Llosa casts doubt on the U.S. administration’s glowing reports, noting that the decline in Colombian production has coincided with the growth of that in Bolivia and Peru. Others, such as Peter Schwartz of the Global Business Network, predict that the rising use of methamphetamines will divert U.S. attention from the jungles of South America to the homemade meth labs of the home country. Further still, odd bedfellows The Economist and musician Juanes argue that these drugs should be legalized, so as to reduce prices and thus the incentive to produce. Tell us what you think.

Bolivian elections on hold

Bolivia's election board has postponed presidential elections while several parliamentary seats are reshuffled in accordance with the population statistics from a 2001 census. (BBC)

DMN: Post-Mitch reconstruction in Honduras ideal

Dallas Morning News' Marion Lloyd reviews the aftermath of recontruction efforts in Honduras after Hurricane Mitch, and finds that massive amounts of aid coupled with comprehensive solutions to improve living standards created better lives for many. (Dallas Morning News)

Texas businessman barred from running in Haitian Presidential election

Texas businessman Dumarsais Simeus was disqualified from Haiti's Presidential elections, though he was born in Haiti, is of Haitian parents, and still holds Haitian citizenship. Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council said he is unable to run because he also holds US citizenship. (ABC News)

Uribe calls for coffee price floor

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe said Saturday that coffee producing nations should collaborate to set a minimum price for coffee to benefit producers. (Bloomberg)

Mexican politicians barred from campaigning in US

Though Mexican nationals living in the US can now vote in the 2006 presidential elections, Mexico's Federal Electoral Institute has barred politicians from traveling to the US to campaign. (

Birmingham News: Cuba can teach US about disaster relief

The Birmingham News publishes a piece by Peter Bourne, explaining how the US could have used Cuba's offer of aid after Hurricane Katrina. (Birmingham News)

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Earthquake in Peru

An earthquake of 7.5 Richter scale magnitude rocked Peru last night, killing four in the city of Lamas. (CNN)