Friday, September 19, 2008

Brazil’s Lula optimistic over economy

Despite the recent problems in the global financial markets Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva is not worried:

"We live at a most peculiar moment now, (and) our economy does not depend so much on the trade with the United States, even though they are still very important to us," Lula said, adding that Brazil's foreign exchange reserves reach 207 billion U.S. dollars.

In remarks made yesterday, Lula also criticized Wall Street firms who had previously spent “decades giving opinions to Brazil” and treating Latin American countries as if “we were the super-miserable.”

What do you think of his viewpoint on the economy?


Sources- The Latin Americanist, Bloomberg, Xinhua

Mexican Independence Day Blasters Caught?

Cross Posted with VivirLatino

La Macha wrote, with some suspicion, as to who was responsible for the Mexican Independence Day blasts in Morelia. While no organization or individual has taken credit for the attacks, the Mexican government has detained at least three people, two whom they say are suspects and members of drug gangs.

Pero Nezua, over at The Unapologetic Mexican, makes the important and correct point, that the military incursion into Morelia that followed the initial grenade attack, is just an escalation and continuation of violent Mexican politics that attack the community and cover up the real culprits.

But sadly, it is true that this escalates the ongoing and escalating violence, even if it is not true that the “drug gangs” caused it. Even if this was done by the CIA or related people (a very popular trick of governments not only in the USA, but recently in Oaxaca, and historically, such as in Tlatelcolco), it will (and already is) being used to justify more violence by the Mexican government, more military presence, and more repressive tactics. It ain’t no new story...But not an end to tolerance of stolen elections, corrupt governors, police instigating violence to blame it on la gente, no! That crime is okay. But clearly, this is a signal that things are about to change even more for poor madre México.

Sources / VivirMexico y the Unapologetic Mexican

”Terrorist” t-shirt makers convicted

A Danish appeals court convicted six people yesterday for creating and selling t-shirts featuring rebel groups such as Colombia’s FARC. Though judges initially acquitted the members of shirt company Fighters and Lovers last December, the retrial found the defendants guilty of breaking Denmark’s antiterrorism laws.

Five of the defendants received between 60 days and six months in jail and a sixth sentenced to 60 days in prison. One of the defendants was displeased with the verdict:

Michael Schoelardt, the company's managing director, who got six months in prison, said: "We must stand firm in our fight for peace and justice in the world."

Lawyers said they would try to take the case to the Supreme Court…

(Fighters and Lovers) says proceeds from the new range will not go to the militant groups themselves, but to legal aid groups supporting "victims of the Israeli occupation and Colombian government".

The company had previously donated 75 cents of every sold $33 shirt to the FARC as well as Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Both the FARC and PFLP are considered terrorist organizations by the U.S. and E.U.

Image- BBC News

Sources- The Latin Americanist, BBC News, Al Jazeera English, New York Times, The Independent

Venezuela less democratic under Chavez says HRW

Venezuela has become less democratic under the rule of Hugo Chavez according to a report issued by Human Rights Watch (HRW).

A weakened justice system, press harassment, and political discrimination were just a few of the problems faced in Venezuela under nearly a decade of Chavez’ rule according to HRW Americas director José Miguel Vivanco. At a press conference yesterday in Caracas, Vivanco spoke out against the “weakening of democratic institutions” under Chavez and made several recommendations to the Venezuelan government.

The Chavez administration not only replied by criticizing Vivanco but also by kicking him out of the country hours after his press conference:

Officials in Caracas said Human Rights Watch Americas director Jose Miguel Vivanco had made unacceptable remarks against the country's institutions.

"We aren't going to tolerate any foreigner coming here to sully the dignity" of Venezuela's institutions, Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro told state television…

Vivanco "has violated the constitution" and Venezuela's laws, Maduro said.

Both human rights campaigners had been acting at the behest of the U.S. government, the foreign minister said.

Earlier this week, HRW released a statement calling for Bolivian authorities to investigate the deaths of at least fifteen people during recent disturbances. “An independent and unbiased investigation is absolutely critical to ensuring that those responsible for these killings are brought to justice,” said Vivanco over the killings in the department of Pando.

Image- AP (“Jose Miguel Vivanco, Americas director for Human Rights Watch, listens to reporters' questions during a news conference in Caracas, Thursday, Sept. 18, 2008.”)

Sources (English)- Human Rights watch, CBC,

Sources (Spanish)-

Daily Headlines: September 19, 2008

* China: Apparently viewers think that the titular character in the Chinese version of “Ugly Betty” is too unattractive.

* Peru: Officials received the first shipment of One Laptop Per Child computers with Windows XO installed.

* U.S.: Boxer Oscar Diaz woke up and is slowly recovering from a two-month coma he fell into after collapsing during a bout.

* Brazil: Is the return of the Fourth Fleet a sign that Brazilian offshore oil fields are in danger of being taken over by the U.S.? Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva thinks so.

Image- (Ana Maria Orozco as the main character from the original Colombian version of “Ugly Betty".)

Sources- Guardian UK, engadget, ESPN, AFP, Reuters, The Latin Americanist

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Today’s Video: Mexico’s quake, 23 years later

This Friday will be the 23rd anniversary of one of the deadliest earthquakes that has ever hit the Americas.

On September 19, 1985 at 7:18am a tremor measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale shook Mexico City to its core. Though it lasted less than a minute, the quake destroyed over 400 buildings and left tens of thousands injured and homeless. The death toll varies between 4200 and 40,000 as a massive aftershock the following day severely hampered makeshift rescue operations.

The following video is the first part of a 1999 documentary chronicling the quake and its aftermath. Events around Mexico City will be held on Friday to commemorate those who died and will include a massive earthquake drill.

(Video link):

Sources (English)- BBC News, History Channel, Wikipedia,
Sources (Spanish)- Milenio, Excelsior

Poll: More Latinos pessimistic, worried

A nationwide pall conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center (PWC) found increased pessimism and anxiety among Latinos in the U.S. The survey of over 2000 people found that half of them feel that the country is worse off now than a year ago. The figure is slightly higher among Latino immigrants (63%) compared to the 42% of respondents in 2007 who said their situation had worsened.

The PWC argued that such findings come about since Latinos have been hit hard by the faltering economy and the immigration debate. It is the latter that has instilled fear in the Latino community according to the poll:

Nearly one in ten Hispanic adults say that the police or other authorities have stopped them and asked them about their immigration status…

The survey also found that 81 percent of Hispanic adults said that immigration enforcement should be left mainly to the federal authorities and not local police. In addition, 76 percent said they disapprove of workplace raids.

While Barack Obama and John McCain roll out oversimplified ads and repeat the same stump speeches millions of people in the U.S. find themselves having a harder time moving forward. As the survey shows the Latino community isn’t immune to the difficulties of the country and raises a red flag that out political and economic leaders cannot brush aside.

Image- MSNBC (“A Boston immigration rights rally (in 2005) is one of the emotional demonstrations Latino lawmakers hope to use as a springboard to a series of citizenship workshops.”)

Sources- The Latin Americanist, Washington Wire, On the Trail, The Desert Sun, The Border Line, UPI, Pew Hispanic Center

Ambassador Golbderg defends position in diplomatic debacle

Ambassador Philip Goldberg, who was declared persona non grata last week in Bolivia -- an event which set off an hemispheric chain-reaction of diplomatic drama and culminated in the Unasur meeting earlier this week -- defended the US and his own actions at a media roundtable discussion at the Inter-American Dialogue on Thursday morning.

“This action, sadly, has been a longtime coming,” Goldberg noted. “To give you the context… the first question I received (from the Bolivian press corps) when I began my tenure in October of 2006 was ‘is it true that you are part of a plot to assassinate President Morales?’ This was no auspicious beginning.”

Goldberg, a Senior Foreign Service member, dismissed the allegations that the embassy had
encouraged Peace Corps volunteers to spy on their communities as “outrageous,” and that he had acted inappropriately in meeting with opposition governors. “Meeting with opposition governors is not only not inappropriate, it’s part of our work.” He noted that European envoys met with the same opposition governors around the same time, which he also considers appropriate.

Noting that no US ambassador had been told to leave his / her post in the region since 1988, Goldberg reflected on the larger issues of the historical significance of last week’s actions, and of future diplomatic relations.

“I understand the suspicions,” he explained. “But I think if you ask most people in Bolivia, they would tell you that, historically, I was one of the least active (ambassadors) in Bolivian
affairs.” Playing down the historical components, Goldberg added: “I live in the here and now--not another time period,” and added that “all I can say is that the US has nothing to do with any move to divide or destabilize Bolivia.”

Goldberg did not, however, seize the opportunity to clearly denounce the anti-democratic measures and violence incited by the Bolivian opposition groups, as the leaders of Unasur did earlier this week.

To listen to the audio of the event held this morning, click here.

Sources: Inter-American Dialogue, ABC, Bloomberg, The Guardian/UK

Candidates court Hispanics

The U.S. presidential candidates will surely be stumping for Hispanic votes today as the focus turns to Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado.

Democratic candidate Barack Obama stumped in Nevada Wednesday, checking out a minor league baseball stadium and talking to union workers. He also scheduled appearances on Spanish-language television networks.

Obama will have to fight Republican candidate John McCain, who is from nearby Arizona, for votes. That battle seems to have started with an ad in Spanish released by the Obama campaign that portrays McCain as anti-immigrant.

Source: Chicago Tribune

Photo: ABC, Obama in Las Vegas in January

Drug ring spun from Guatemala to Italy

Latin Americans were involved in the large drug bust in Rome yesterday.

Police arrested more than 200 cocaine traffickers in Italy, the United States and Latin America.

Along with Italian mafia members, suspects hailed from Mexico and Guatemala, and police believe 14 of them are masterminds of a drug ring between Latin America, the U.S. and Italy.

"This operation led to the break-up of major parts of one of the most active cartels in cocaine trafficking in Latin America," an investigator said.

Read the whole story here.

Source: AFP

U.S., Cuba bicker like schoolchildren over hurricane aid

The petulance of both the Castro administration and the White House has prevented Cubans to receive much needed hurricane assistance.

On the one hand, Cuba’s government has twice refused direct aid from the U.S. “The dignity of a people has no price,” wrote former leader Fidel Castro in a column published on Wednesday as the island’s government turned down a $5 million aid package.

Instead of accepting the aid, the Castro administration proposed a six-month suspension of the U.S. trade embargo on the island. (Due to the embargo aid organizations must get licensed to send money or goods and that process is often difficult). The U.S. government responded by nixing the idea:

Cuba's talk of the embargo "obviously seems to have the ring of politics overriding the needs of the people" and "has nothing to do with humanitarian aid," (U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos) Gutierrez told Reuters in a telephone interview from Washington.

"We believe we could be of great help to the Cuban people, but the offer was rejected, and it's very frustrating because we want to help," he said.

No Secretary Gutierrez, what is truly “frustrating” is observing how Havana and Washington are entrenched in their Cold War mindsets and treating hurricane assistance as a diplomatic hot potato. Petty political differences are nothing compared to those Cubans whose lives have been affected by the recent hurricanes. Too bad leaders in the U.S. and Cuba don’t see it that way.

Image- BBC News

Sources- Los Angeles Times,, Guardian UK, Reuters, Al Jazeera English

Daily Headlines: September 18, 2008

* Argentina: According to Interpol, an ex-Argentine army major accused of commanding a “Dirty War”-era massacre was arrested yesterday in Brazil.

* Mexico: Mexican migration officials reported that between January and July over 11,700 children tried to cross the border into the U.S. and were subsequently deported.

* Latin America: Much like on Tuesday Latin American stocks struggled yesterday as worries over the global credit market grew.

* Paraguay: Recently inaugurated Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo visited his Brazilian counterpart in order to renegotiate the energy treaty between both countries.

Image- BBC News

Sources- MSNBC, Monsters & Critics, Reuters, The Latin Americanist, CNN

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Today's Video: Let's make a deal

Bolivian president Evo Morales and opposition governors agreed to an initial deal in order to stop the political violence consuming the country. The pact can hopefully serve to ease tensions between Morales and anti-government forces and quell violence that has left at least thirty dead.

(Video link):

Dominican Duo Monchy and Alexandra Splitting

Stepping way for moment from the political news of the day, Dominican bachata duo Monchy and Alexandra are splitting. Oh no!!

The duo, who were not and are not a romantic couple, are known for their romantic he said, she said songs that made parejas everywhere go one, two, three, hip (if you dance bachata you know what I mean).

A tearful Alexandra was seen on Univision earlier today, crying. She ain't crying too much though because he plans to go solo.

Aqui estan Perdidos....and apparently now they are

U.S. puts Bolivia, Venezuela on drug blacklist

The Bush administration placed Bolivia and Venezuela on its annual counternarcotics blacklist. Along with Myanmar, those countries have “failed demonstrably during the previous 12 months to adhere to their obligations under international counter-narcotics agreements,'' according to a letter submitted to Congress by President George W. Bush. White House officials also cited Bolivian president Evo Morales’ limited backing of coca growth and Venezuela’s “weak judicial system.”

Despite blasting counternarcotics efforts in Bolivia and Venezuela the U.S. will not cut aid to either country. The White House issued a “national security waiver” in order to support Venezuela's "democratic institutions" and "bilateral programs" in Bolivia.

Taking time from trying to calm a votaile situation with the opposition, Morales said today that the U.S. was trying to “blackmail” Bolivia:

“There should be a certification process for those who are fighting drug trafficking by eliminating the consumer market,'' Morales, 48, said during a speech in La Paz. ``Drug trafficking responds to the market”...

“These are political decisions,'' Morales said. “We're not afraid of these campaigns against the government using black lists.''

Even if Bolivia’s counternarcotics record isn’t spot-on, Morales is correct to point out that the drug trade is not a one-way street were consumers aren’t held accountable. Lists like the one issued yesterday tend to be politicized and serve to target regimes the U.S. is having problems with.

Image- BBC News (Cocaine uncovered in a 2000 raid in Venezuela)

Sources- The Latin Americanist, Bloomberg, Voice of America, AP, Times of India, AFP

Reports: Lori Berenson is pregnant

She is a U.S. citizen who was convicted in 1995 accused aiding Peru’s Tupac Amaru guerillas. To some she was a gringa interloper who knowingly helped one of Peru’s most ruthless terrorist organizations. To others she is innocent and was unfairly jailed by a Fujimori-era kangaroo court. She is Lori Berenson and she currently sits in a Peruvian prison serving a 20-yeaR sentence. (Originally it was life in jail).

According to press reports out of the Andean nation, prison doctors found that Berenson is approximately four weeks pregnant. “It's a euphoric feeling for us,” said the father of the 37-year-old who has been wed since 2003 to a former guerilla she met in prison.

Berenson’s sentence finishes in 2011 (assuming no other charges are filed against her). According to Peruvian law, women whom give birth in jail can keep the child for the first few years.

Peru’s RPP Noticias claims that Berenson is not in good health despite her pregnancy:

A su embarazo se suman problemas de salud en la columna y el oído debido a lo cual se estarían realizando gestiones a través de la embajada de los Estados Unidos para que esta sea trasladada a otro penal con la finalidad de recibir mejor atención en un hospital.

[Trnsaltion – Along with her pregnancy she has had health problems relating to her spinal column and ear. This is why gestures are being made to the U.S. Embassy so she can be transferred to another facility and then recive better attention at a hospital.]

Image- CNN

Sources (English)- ABC News, Reuters, Free Lori Berenson,

Sources (Spanish)- RPP Noticias, La Republica

Daily Headlines: September 17, 2008

* Mexico: President Felipe Calderon commemorated Mexico’s Independence Day yesterday with the traditional “Grito de Dolores,” yet the day was marred when at least eight people died in a series of explosions (image).

* U.S.: Columnist Andres Oppenheimer blasted Joe Biden and Sarah Palin’s vice-presidential bids due to their “appeal to the most extreme isolationist-populist wings of their respective parties.”

* Cuba: “Formal political dialogue” is expected to resume soon between Cuba and the European Union.

*Nicaragua: Foreign Minister and Father Miguel d'Escoto became the president of the U.N. General Assembly and called on member states to work closer with each other.

Image- Al Jazeera English

Sources-, Wikipedia, IHT, BBC News, Los Angeles Times

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Today’s Video: A rebuttal to Daddy Yankee

It was bound to happen.

Daddy Yankee’s recent endorsement of John McCain’s presidential bid did not sit well with some of his peers (e.g. rapper Fat Joe). Another Boricua rapper- SieteNueve- issued a critical song against Daddy Yankee entitled “Quedate Callado” (“Keep Your Mouth Shut”). The tune does not pull punches against Daddy’s backing of McCain and even juxtaposes his hit song “Gasolina” with the lives lost in interventions in the oil-rich Middle East.

(Video link):

So what do you think of the song? Fair, foul, or absolutely irrelevant?

(Hat tip: VivirLatino).

Sources- The Latin Americanist, YouTube, VivirLatino

Is there a FARC-Mapuche connection?

Chilean indigenous leaders have strong links to Colombia’s FARC guerillas according to allegations made by Chile’s right-wing opposition.

A report was allegedly leaked by Colombia’s government to a group representing Chilean presidential hopeful Sebastian Piñera during a recent visit to Bogota. The information from the documents reportedly used information from the laptops seized during the deadly operation against Raul Reyes, and detailed how indigenous Chilean leaders reportedly met and were photographed with FARC commanders.

Piñera (the odds-on favorite to succeed President Michelle Bachelet) claimed that the “information is accurate” and that his allies had no choice but to publicize the information. Interior Minister Edmundo Perez Yoma categorically rejected Piñera’s accusations and denied knowing of any links between Mapuche heads and the FARC. One Mapuche leader reacted by blaming both the government and the opposition of “creating a climate” of oppression against Chile’s indigenous people.

Chile’s opposition contended that Colombia’s center-right president Alvaro Uribe was upset with the Bachelet administration over the “leaked dossier.” Yet the Colombian government rebuffed that claim as Uribe tried earlier today to avoid sparking a major diplomatic crisis.

Image- The Telegraph

Sources (English)- The Latin Americanist, Angus Reid Consultants, The Patagonia Times

Sources (Spanish)- El Tiempo, Union Radio, La Nacion,

Cerner signs hospital in Chile

Cerner, a company in the Midwest that creates health care software, will distribute the software in Latin America for the first time.

A 200-bed hospital in Santiago, Chile, will be the first hospital in the region to use the Millenium health care software.

The company is expanding its outreach to Spanish hospitals. This is the second hospital in the world to use the software in Spanish.

Read the story here.

Leaders convene in Bolivia

Presidents of some Latin American countries are in Chile today to discuss the political crisis in Bolivia.

Violence erupted in the country during the last few weeks between supporters and opponents of Bolivia's president Evo Morales. At least 30 people have died.

Chilean president Michele Bachelet called for the emergency summit. All leaders except for Peruvian president Alan Garcia are expected to attend.

Read the story here.

Source and Photo: Guardian

Daily Headlines: September 16, 2008

* U.S.: On one hand, Republican presidential candidate John McCain issued a Spanish-language ad hammering at Barack Obama on immigration. On the other hand, McCain’s campaign statement celebrating the start of Hispanic Heritage Month neglects to mention the immigration debate.

* Brazil: Brazilians tend to be permissive over extrajudicial killings and vigilante justice due to a poor justice system concluded a recent U.N. report.

* Colombia: The country’s FARC guerillas may be down but are still not out according to this article from Reuters.

* Panama: Panamanian President Martin Torrijos assured yesterday in remarks to Bloomberg that there is “no impediment” to passing a free trade pact with the U.S.

Image- AFP (“John McCain addresses the fans before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300.”)

Sources- The Latin Americanist, Bloomberg, The Trial, Deadline USA, IHT

Monday, September 15, 2008

Today’s Video: “Encarnación” at Latinbeat 2008

The Latinbeat Film Fest continues in New York City with several extraordinary movies from around the Americas. Earlier this month we featured the trailer for Brazilian romantic comedy “Estômago” and below is the trailer for another movie: “Encarnación.” The 2008 Argentine film directed by Anahí Berneri centers around a B-movie actress who rediscovers herself after returning to the village were she grew up.

(Video link; slightly not safe for work):

“Encarnación” will be screened at Lincoln Center tomorrow at 5pm and Wednesday at 9:30pm.

Sources- The Latin Americanist, Film Society of Lincoln Center,

LatAm finances flounder over financial mess

Global financial figures have taken a massive hit today over the events over the past 48 hours involving the purchase of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America and Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy. Stocks, bonds and currencies in emerging markets have posted big losses and Latin America has been no exception.

Brazil’s Bovespa index fell by 7.3% as stocks for state-run Petrobras tumbled the most since 2002. In Mexico, the peso dropped to a six-month low as analysts anticipate further loses due to growing inflation. Bonds in countries like Argentina and Venezuela moved closer to default according to one source while an expert interviewed by CNN en Español anticipated a rapid withdrawal of foreign investments. One “senior currency strategist” with Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. warned about declining currencies especially the Argentine peso, Peruvian sol and Chilean peso.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson tried to put a brave face on the financial mess though he cautioned that happy days wouldn’t be coming soon:

"The American people can remain confident in the soundness and resilience of our financial system."

However he warned that uncertainty remained and it was likely that there would be further "rough spots" ahead before the market was corrected.

Turmoil would continue in financial markets until the housing correction was completed, he added.

Both John McCain and Barack Obama tried to spin the crisis in their favor; McCain promised to “replace an outdated, patchwork quilt of regulatory oversight” on Wall Street while Obama emphasized the need for tougher financial regulations. (The mess cannot be addressed in mere bullet points by either candidate so please take the aforementioned remarks with a massive grain of salt).

Image- (“A ticker sign announces Lehman Brothers losses yesterday in New York City.”)

Sources- Bloomberg, BBC News,, CBC, Guardian UK, MarketWatch

Lawsuit filed vs. Farmers Branch measure

A lawsuit was filed last week against an anti-immigrant ordinance in the Dallas suburb of Farmers Branch, Texas. The case was brought up by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the American Civil Liberties Union who contend that the city’s plan is unconstitutional. The ordinance would obligate apartment renters to obtain a special license and force rent applicants to have their immigration status checked on a federal database.

The Farmers Branch plan was supposed to take effect last Saturday but it has been impeded by several injunctions. In the latest injunction, U.S. District Judge Jane Boyle ruled that local authorities were overstepping their authority:

In granting a request for a temporary restraining order to keep the ordinance from going into effect, U.S. District Judge Jane Boyle ruled Friday that the ordinance’s opponents are likely to prevail at trial with their argument that, among other points, the city is overstepping its authority by enforcing areas of immigration law reserved for the federal government.

This can create a "slippery slope," Boyle said. "The federal government’s authority over immigration would effectively be eviscerated," Boyle said from the bench.

Image- New York Times (“Protesters gathered (in 2006) outside City Hall in Farmers Branch, Tex., to object to city ordinances that would affect illegal immigrants.”)

Sources- News Radio 1200 WOAI,, Guardian UK, Dallas Morning News

Uruguay credits growth to controversial mill

Uruguay’s central bank reported a record 14.6% GDP surge in the latest quarter; the country’s greatest growth in nearly a fifteen years. Analysts partially credited such a boost to a controversial paper mill which began operations last November:

“Growing economic activity has been sustained by expansive domestic consumption and strong international prices for the country's commodity exports,'' said Gustavo Michelin, an economist and former director of Banco de la Republica.
The $1.1 billion pulp mill built by a Finnish firm has been a source of discord between Uruguay and neighboring Argentina. Environmentalists and the Argentine government attempted to block the plant from being constructed near the country’s river border. Despite protests and a major diplomatic dispute between both countries, the plant was built and continues running.

Image- Misionlandia
Sources- The Latin Americanist, Bloomberg, Reuters

LatAm leaders to meet over Bolivia crisis

South American leaders are expected to converge today in Chile in order to find a peaceful solution of the region’s latest diplomatic crisis. "We can't remain impassive in the face of a situation that worries us all," said Chilean President Michelle Bachelet who organized the emergency meeting of the 12-member Union of South American Nations (USAN) set to take place today in Santiago.

Regional leaders throughout the region have expressed their solidarity with Bolivia; in anticipation of the meeting, the USAN emitted a statement backing the Morales administration:
Leaders of countries across South America have reached an agreement to support Bolivian President Evo Morales and his government against the opposition insurrection, said the statement.

They urged opposition forces in the country to show respect for its Constitution and iron out their differences with the government through dialogue.
Morales and several opposition governors have entered negotiations in order to bring calm to a very volatile nation. Clashes around the country between pro-an anti-government supporters have officially left at least thirty people dead.

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez yesterday repeated allegations that the U.S. government is backing a plot to overthrow him from power. (Chavez had pulled Venezuela’s ambassador to Washington last week partly in solidarity with Morales).

Image- Al Jazeera English
Sources- The Latin Americanist, Xinhua, AFP, AP, Voice of America

Daily Headlines: September 15, 2008

* Ecuador: An Ecuadorian court indicted two lawyers representing oil giant Chevron in connection to the firm’s alleged dumping of contaminated water in the rainforest.

* Paraguay: Soy farming may be limited in order to allow for serious land reform according to Paraguayan Agriculture Minister Candido Vera.

* Brazil: The Brazilian government may not be after nuclear weapons yet they’ve set forth an “ambitious plan” to construct up to 60 nuclear power plants within the next 50 years.

* Mexico: Violence continues unabated in Mexico; this time, police found the bodies of 24 people shot and killed south of Mexico City.

Image- MSNBC (“Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa surveys oil-saturated soil in the Amazon…as workers from the state-owned company Petroecuador clean up the area.”)
Sources- The Latin Americanist, Bloomberg, Reuters AlertNet, Xinhua, CNN

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hispanic Heritage Book contest!

Hispanic Heritage Month starts this Monday and in honor of it we’re holding a special contest. In conjunction with Hachette Book Group USA we’re going to give away books from authors like Congresswomen Lorena and Loretta Sanchez.

Want to enter the contest? Here is a quick rundown of the rules:
  • Two winners will be selected.
  • One winner will be chosen randomly and will win one book from Hachette Book Group USA.
  • The second prize will be several books and will be awarded to the person who can best write a 300-word (maximum) essay on who is their favorite Hispanic author and why. (The “expert” judging panel will consist of the contributors to this blog).
  • Please e-mail all entries to our address at
  • Only one entry per e-mail address and please include your name and mailing address.
  • Contest only available to residents of the US and Canada (no PO Boxes please). Sorry Europe and Latinoamerica!
  • The contest lasts until October 15th.
Don’t be shy! Enter today!

(Big thanks to Hachette Book Group USA for cooperating with out contest).

Sources- The Latin Americanist, Hachette Book Group USA, National Council of La Raza