Friday, December 9, 2011

Daily Headlines: December 9, 2011

Cathédrale de La Havane
* Cuba: A senior Cuban Catholic Church official said that Pope Benedict XVI will visit the island in early 2012.

* Mexico: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was grilled by some members of the House Judiciary Committee over “Operation Fast and Furious”, a gun trafficking sting that led to weapons being obtained by Mexican drug gangs.

* Brazil: The government proposed a $2.2 billion initiative aimed at putting a stop to the country’s “crack epidemic.

* Dominican Republic: Protesters demonstrated in Santo Domingo against government polices that allegedly discriminate against residents of Haitian descent.

Image Source – Flickr user mickou (The Cathedral of Havana). (CC BY 2.0)

Online Sources – BBC News, ABC News, Reuters

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Today’s Video: Rolling for Peace

Note: In honor of the International Day for Persons with Disabilities, which was held on December 3rd, this week's daily video segment will focus on the disabled community throughout Latin America.

On December 6th tens of thousands of people marched in a series of rallies against Colombia’s FARC guerillas. The demonstrations took place in Colombia as well as several major international cities and sought to call for an end to violence perpetrated by one of the world’s oldest existing rebel groups.

One of the organizations that helped organize the anti-FARC march in Bogota was the Fraternity of Disabled Police Officers (Fraternidad de Policías Discapacitados in Spanish or FRAPON). Members of the FRAPON include policemen injured in combat who have marched in numerous occasions across Colombia calling for the liberation of kidnap victims. “We will continue rolling through the country until all the hostages are freed,” said FRAPON president Luis Alberto Ninco Sanchez.

The following video comes from a FRAPON march in 2009 during a stop in the Colombian town of Cajica. Several local politicos gave their recognition to the FRAPON’s efforts for peace and a prompt end to the country’s decades-old armed conflict.

Video Source – YouTube via Nocitcentrocolombia

Online Sources – BBC News, El Colombiano, Colombia Soy Yo

Daily Headlines: December 8, 2011

* Peru: The head of Peru’s Shining Path rebels, known by the nickname of “Comrade Artemio”, admitted defeat and said he was willing to negotiate with the government.

* U.S.: Three-time Most Valuable Player and free agent Albert Pujols will reportedly sign a 10-year, $250 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels.

* Panama: Ex-strongman Manuel Noriega could arrive in the Central American country on Sunday after being extradited from France.

* Argentina: British plans to create a nature preserve on one of the Falkland Islands could lead to increased diplomatic tensions with Argentina.

Video Source – The Guardian (Peru’s Shining Path is classified as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and E.U.)

Online Sources – CNN, Voice of America,, The Telegraph

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Daily Headlines: December 7, 2011

* Brazil: According to Brazil’s National Institute of Space Research deforestation in the Amazon rainforest dropped to its lowest level since record-keeping began in 1988.

* Honduras: Luz Marina Paz became the seventeenth Honduran journalist killed since 2010 after she was gunned down and murdered yesterday.

* Venezuela: Plans for a government-backed housing initiative have slowed down due to labor unrest at Venezuela’s largest steelmaker.

* Chile: Colo Colo, one of Chile’s most popular soccer teams, was the fifth-most popular sports topic on Twitter in 2011 according to the social networking service.

Image Source – Flickr via CIAT International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Online Sources – MarketWatch, Fox News Latino, Twitter, CNN

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

World Watch: #2011

Twitter Bird Sketch
* World: #egypt, #japan, and #superbowl were some of the top Twitter hashtags of 2011 according to data from the social networking service.

* Afghanistan: At least fifty-nine people were killed by two bomb attacks aimed at Shi'ite Muslim followers.

* Russia: Moscow police arrested hundreds of protesters denouncing possible fraud by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his ruling United Russia party in recent parliamentary elections.

* Democratic Republic of the Congo: Officials announced that “technical difficulties” would delay the results of the country’s tense-filled presidential elections.

Image Source – Flickr via shawncampbell (CC BY 2.0)

Online Sources – CBS News, PC Magazine, Voice of America, BBC News

Today’s Video: Empowerment Through Employment

Note: In honor of the International Day for Persons with Disabilities, which was held on December 3rd, this week's daily video segment will focus on the disabled community throughout Latin America.

Telethons were recently held in several Latin American countries including Chile where over $40 million was raised for the medical treatment and rehabilitation of thousands of disabled children.

The 27–hour event was presented by "Sabado Gigante" host Don Francisco and included appearances by musicians such as Diego Torres and Juanes as well as President Sebastián Piñera. (Piñera’s speech was briefly interrupted by a group of student protesters calling for educational reforms and a greater role by the state in caring for the disabled).

It’s up for debate whether the “Teletón” serves a useful purpose or is degrading towards the disabled. Yet an appearance by the head of one Chile’s National Disabled Service called much-needed attention to a problem facing millions of disabled individuals throughout the Americas: the lack of employment opportunities.

According to María Ximena Rivas, over two-thirds of employable disabled Chileans (nearly 1.4 million people) are without work. Rivas urged the government to make changes to existing labor laws in order to prevent discrimination and mistreatment against disabled individuals.

The following video shows the benefits that come from giving disabled individuals the opportunity to work. This 2006 clip from a report on Chile’s TVN shows how a blind impresario hired 25 mentally disabled individuals to work at his small factory:

Video Source – YouTube via jfvslice

Online Sources – El Mundo,, La Republica

Daily Headlines: December 6, 2011

Las Islas Malvinas
* Argentina: Members of the newly formed Community of Latin American and Caribbean States unanimously approved a resolution supporting Argentina’s claim to the Falkland Islands.

* Mexico: The number of migrants crossing the U.S. border from Mexico reportedly dropped to its lowest point in decades possibly due to fewer people attempting such a crossing.

* Brazil: Rest in peace Socrates; the captain of one of the greatest teams never to win the World Cup (Brazil in 1982) died over the weekend.

* Uruguay: The Uruguayan army chief pledged that he will not "tolerate nor cover for" any crimes committed by the military during its rule from 1975 to 1983.

Image Source – Flickr via magical-world (Graffiti in Cordoba, Argentina reading that the Falklands “was, is and will always be Argentine.”) (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Online Sources – Mercopress, BBC News, ESPN, UPI

Monday, December 5, 2011

World Watch: Fickle Finger-pointing

Trial Chamber 31 January 2011
* Cambodia: Nuon Chea, a deputy to the late despot Pol Pot, alleged that the Vietnamese and not the brutal Khmer Rouge regime committed “crimes against humanity” in Cambodia.

* Space: Researchers at NASA discovered Kepler-22b, a planet 600 light years away and a “possible Earth twin” that could support life.

* Ivory Coast: At his first appearance in front of the International Criminal Court, ex-President Laurent Gbagbo claimed that he would “challenge” the evidence against him.

* World: According to a new study published in the journal “Nature Climate Change” global carbon dioxide emissions spiked in 2010 and reached a record 9.1 billion tons.

Image Source – Flickr via Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. (“Nuon Chea during a Trial Chamber hearing on 31 Jan 2011.”) (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Online Sources – BBC News, National Geographic, CBC News, UPI

Today’s Video: Protesting for Disabled Rights in Bolivia

Note: In honor of the International Day for Persons with Disabilities, which was held on December 3rd, this week's daily video segment will focus on the disabled community throughout Latin America.

The theme of this year's International Day for Persons with Disabilities, was “Together for a better world for all: Including persons with disabilities in development.” Across the world disabled individuals strive for inclusion within society including promoting mainstreaming and accessibility for all.

Last month a group of 55 disabled Bolivians and their caretakers marched along roads in order to call attention to discrimination and the lack of opportunities in the disabled community. Despite laws made to protect the rights of the disabled the protesters claimed that they are marginalized and treated like second-class citizens. Some marchers, like the one in the video below, blamed President Evo Morales for failing to follow through with his pledges to help disabled Bolivians.

Daily Headlines: December 5, 2011

Journalists Protest against rising violence during march in Mexi
* Mexico: President Felipe Calderon defended his anti-crime policies despite an estimated 43,000 deaths related to drug violence since he took office.

* Peru: President Ollanta Humala declared a state of emergency in areas of northern Peru where police have clashed with protesters opposed to a controversial mining project.

* Haiti: Rest in peace Sonia Pierre; the human rights activist who defended the rights of Dominican-born Haitians died yesterday at the age of 48.

* Brazil: Brazil’s chief ambassador at global climate talks in South Africa defended a government-backed proposal that would overhaul the country’s forest laws.

* Nicaragua: Thousands of people marched in Managua on Saturday to call attention to alleged “massive electoral fraud” in the reelection of President Daniel Ortega.

* Argentina: For the third time since 2006, Argentina lost in the finals of the Davis Cup tennis competition.

Image Source – Flickr via Knight Foundation (“Hundreds of Mexican journalists silently marched in downtown Mexico City (last year) in protest of the kidnappings, murder and violence against their peers throughout the country.”) (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Online Sources - Bloomberg, Miami Herald, Reuters,, ABC News, BBC Sport