Friday, November 4, 2005

Controversial sea border law passes in Peru

The Peruvian government has angered counterparts in Chile by passing a law that would claim sovereignty over a larger area of the sea, until now divided by a horizontal line that starts from the point where the border meets the sea, extending due west. The new law would reroute that line to follow the diagonal slope of the border, widening Peru's access to fishing waters. (Reuters)

Mexicans more optimistic about economy

Mexico's government announced Thursday that consumer confidence rose this month despite concerns about the economic impact of recent natural disasters. (Reuters)

House Republican enters bid to build wall along US-Mexico border

Contributed by Christina Nielsen. Republican Duncan Hunter, chair of the Armed Services Committee in the House of Representatives, has entered a bill outlining the construction of a 2,000 mile fence along the US-Mexico Border. (BBC)

Thursday, November 3, 2005

Bush not opposed to Venezuelan nuclear reactor

US President George Bush replied that he thought it might be acceptable for Venezuela to have a nuclear reactor for peaceful use when asked about the topic in an interview with reporters Tuesday, in advance of his trip to South America for the Summit of the Americas. (ABCNews)

Date set for Bolivian presidential elections

Bolivian President Eduardo Rodriguez has announced that general elections will be held December 18th this year. (Bloomberg) Angus Reid reports that a poll by 'Apoyo, Opinion, y Mercado' marks coca farmer Evo Morales as the front runner, holding 34% of the likely vote. (Angus Reid)

Fox looking to revive FTAA

Mexican President Vicente Fox intends to encourage his counterparts at the upcoming Americas Summit to relaunch negotiations for a Free Trade Area of the Americas. (MSN Money)

BusinessWeek: Colombia faces uncertain future

Though the country has experienced significant economic gains under President Alvaro Uribe, Colombia still has a long way to go in finding remedies to endemic poverty and violence, according to BusinessWeek. (BusinessWeek)

Tabare Vasquez continues to enjoy high ratings

Uruguayan President Tabare Vasquez still has the approval of 59% of the population one year after his election, according to a poll by Angus Reid. The Progressive Encounter candidate won election last October with 50.45% of the vote. (Angus Reid)

Vallenato music legend passed away on Sunday

-Contributed by Erwin Cifuentes. Emiliano Zuleta died this weekend at the age of 93 due to respiratory complications. Zuleta was best known for writing one of the most famous songs in the genre of vallenato, “La Gota Fria,” which was popularized around the world in the mid-1990s by Carlos Vives. (NewsFromRussia)

“Telesur” news network now on the air

-Contributed by Erwin Cifuentes. With the slogan “News from the South,” the “Telesur” news network began broadcasting throughout the region on Monday. The channel is backed by four Latin American countries, but mostly Venezuela who envisions “Telesur” as an “alternative to large corporate media outlets.” (MediaChannel)

Veja: Castro gave Lula campaign gift

-Contributed by Erwin Cifuentes. Veja claimed over the weekend that Fidel Castro gave Lula $3 million in campaign contributions during his successful presidential run in 2002. Earlier this year, Veja accused Lula’s Worker’s Party of receiving funds from Colombian leftist guerillas, but those claims have yet to be proven. (Miami)

Guantanamo detainee fails suicide attempt

-Contributed by Erwin Cifuentes. An inmate from Bahrain held at the US prison at Guantanamo Bay attempted suicide during a visit by his lawyer last month. Military officials refused to discuss the details of the incident. (NYNewsDay)

Peruvian bill intensifies border dispute with Chile

-Contributed by Erwin Cifuentes. A bill currently under debate in the Peruvian legislature would redraw the sea border between Peru and Chile. Peru would gain hundreds of miles of vital fishing grounds if the bill is passed. (BBC)

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

US and OAS disagree on conditions for Haitian elections

-Contributed by Erwin Cifuentes. Haiti’s interim government still has many problems in anticipation of this year’s presidential election according to a report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to the Organization of American States. (Radio Jamaica)

Meanwhile, the US Department of State claims that conditions are apt for presidential elections based on Haiti’s “success” in conducting a voter-registration program.

Colombian peace process has been too one-sided says columnist

-Contributed by Erwin Cifuentes. Guardian (UK) columnist Isabel Hilton believes that right-wing paramilitaries are getting too many concessions from the Colombian peace process. (Guardian)

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Lagos and Lula most popular according to hemispheric elites

-Contributed by Erwin Cifuentes. Chilean president Ricardo Lagos was voted as the most popular leader according to a poll of businessmen, academics, and other Latin-American elites. Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo was ranked as least popular, preceded by George W. Bush and Hugo Chavez. (MercoPress)

Argentina to foreigners: Please come back!

-Contributed by Erwin Cifuentes. Recent growth in Argentina’s economy has lured foreigners into returning after many of them left during a serious recession between 1999 and 2002. Farms and construction projects are two of the industries that have most benefited from the return of immigrants from countries such as Peru and Paraguay. (Reuters)

Donors wary of giving to Latin America

-Contributed by Erwin Cifuentes. Worries over corruption by Latin American governments have dissuaded Latino donors from providing aid for hurricane victims in Mexico and Central America. Still, some government officials are trying to change that perception, as El Salvador’s president has asked businesspeople to oversee foreign aid efforts. (Guardian)

New York’s Spanish-language dailies disagree on mayoral endorsements

-Contributed by Erwin Cifuentes. “El Diario La Prensa” and “Hoy” split their support for the race for mayor of New York City. While “Hoy” endorsed incumbent mayor Michael Bloomberg, “El Diario…” endorsed his challenger Fernando Ferrer, a Democrat of Puerto Rican decent. (MediaInfo)

Monday, October 31, 2005

Venezuela to open a joint cement plant with Iran

-Contributed by Erwin Cifuentes. Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez announced a deal to build a cement factory after meeting with the Iranian ambassador Saturday night. Iran and Venezuela have made several agreements in the past on oil exploration and tractor exportations. (NewsFromRussia)

Trinidad and Tobago cancel most of Guyana’s debt

-Contributed by Erwin Cifuentes. Trinidad’s government agreed to forgive seventy percent of Guyana’s debt after the Guyanese government confessed to being unable to repay their debt. This is the second time Trinidad canceled part of Guyana’s debt. (CaribWorld)

Multi-million dollar IADB bank loan announced for Colombian census

-Contributed by Erwin Cifuentes. The Inter-American Development Bank agreed to a $48 million loan to Colombia in order to help the Andean state conduct its census. This year’s census will be conducted electronically with the use of laptops and global positioning systems. (BusinessOnline)

Mexico to be one hundredth state to ratify ICC treaty

-Contributed by Erwin Cifuentes. After a series of intense negotiations, Mexico will formally ratify the International Criminal Court treaty on Monday. Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua are the only Latin American countries that have not signed the ICC treaty. (ScoopNZ)

Maradona interview with Castro to be aired on television

-Contributed by Erwin Cifuentes. Argentine soccer idol Diego Maradona interviewed Cuban head Fidel Castro last week for Maradona’s weekly television show which will air on Monday evening. (FoxSports)

Lourdes Flores moves up in the polls while main rivals trail far behind

-Contributed by Erwin Cifuentes. Peruvian presidential candidate Lourdes Flores is gaining ground against her rivals according to a survey conducted in Lima by local firm CPI. Her lead is nearly two and a half times that of the second-place candidate representing the party of former president Alberto Fujimori. (Angus Reid)

Barbados: Pay raise may be needed to combat inflation

-Contributed by Erwin Cifuentes. Central Bank governor Marion Williams announced that a pay raise may be necessary for Barbados. Inflation has been up fourfold since 2004, and the government blames it on soaring oil prices. (BusinessWeek)