Saturday, April 14, 2012

Obama on Drug Legalization: Just Say No

U.S. President Barack Obama vehemently opposed any possibility of narcotics legalization, according to remarks he made before the inauguration of the Summit of the Americas on Saturday.

“My personal view and my administration’s position is that drug legalization is not the answer,” said Obama during a business forum with his Brazilian and Colombian counterparts.

Though Obama admitted that he is willing to discuss whether current drug laws are “doing more harm than good,” he warned that widespread legalization would lead to "consequences that are worse than what we’re going through at this moment.”

Weekend Headlines: April 14-15, 2012

Los víctimos
* Argentina: Ex-military strongman Jorge Videla admitted that as many as 8000 people were killed by the state during the “Dirty War” era and coldheartedly justified such deaths as “the price we had to pay to win the war against subversion.”

* Haiti: A former Dominican military officer has been accused of being involved in an alleged plot to overthrow Haitian President Michel Martelly.

* Cuba: Ten former Cuban political prisoners currently residing in Spain have gone on a hunger strike in order to seek additional government assistance.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Daily Headlines: April 13, 2012

Journalists Protest against rising violence during march in Mexi
* Mexico: According to the National Human Rights Commission of Mexico City, Mexican journalists and members of the media were targeted by a “record number” of attacks in March.

* Argentina: The Argentine government praised BP’s decision against offshore oil exploration near the Falklands though other British firms continue to go ahead with their projects.

* Haiti: Tens of thousands of Haitians received cholera vaccines yesterday as part of an initiative to prevent the spread of the disease that has killed over 7000 people since October 2010.

* Peru: Over 1500 troops and police have been deployed in order to search for at least three dozen energy company workers kidnapped in southern Peru this week.

Image Source – Flickr via Knight Foundation (In August 2010, “hundreds of Mexican journalists silently marched in downtown Mexico City in protest of the kidnappings, murder and violence against their peers throughout the country”.) (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Online Sources- CNN, LAHT, The Latin Americanist, The New York Times, Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Today’s Video: Ten and Twenty

The following video clip comes from "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised", a documentary on the 2002 attempted coup against Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez:

On April 11, 2002 anti-Chavez demonstrators diverted their march from PDVSA headquarters to the presidential palace where some of them clashed with Chavez sympathizers. That violent confrontation was the spark for the attempted coup that was reportedly carried out by “parts of the military and business class along with support from some opposition political groups, private media outlets and senior Catholic Church officials.”

Daily Headlines: April 12, 2012

* Bolivia: President Evo Morales said that he would “annul” the contract of the Brazilian firm that was building a highly controversial road through indigenous territory.

* Brazil: A judge blocked an injunction seeking to halt Chevron and Transocean from operating in Brazil after two oil spills.

* U.S.: Nine suspected undocumented immigrants were killed in Texas after the crowded van they were riding in crashed during a chase with the Border Patrol.

* Mexico: No major damage has been reported from a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck in Michoacán state and forced the evacuation of several buildings in Mexico City.

Video Source – YouTube via Al Jazeera English (August 2011 report on protests against the controversial TIPNIS project in Bolivia).

Online Sources- BBC News, Reuters, Houston Chronicle, Bloomberg

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

World Watch: There Goes the Fear

* Indonesia: Officials called off a tsunami alert though that didn’t prevent some Indonesians from panicking after an 8.6-magnitude earthquake occurred on Wednesday.

* U.S.: A special prosecutor in Florida charged George Zimmerman with second-degree murder in the controversial killing of teen Trayvon Martin.

* Greece: Prime Minister Lucas Papademos resigned and called for a general election in the economically weakened country to take place on May 6th.

* Syria: Will the government comply with a UN-brokered cease-fire due to go into effect on Thursday morning?

Video Source– YouTube via Associated Press

Online Sources – The Guardian, Reuters, The Australian, BBC News

Daily Headlines: April 11, 2012

* Peru: Nine workers trapped underground for six days in an illegal mine in southern Peru were safely rescued this morning.

* Mexico: According to a poll released yesterday support for presidential frontrunner Enrique Pena Nieto gained slightly though almost one quarter of all respondents claimed to be “undecided or expressed no preference”.

* Haiti: At least six people died and over 700 Haitians were displaced after two days of heavy rainfall and flooding.

* Costa Rica: The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a tax reform bill pushed by President Laura Chinchilla was unconstitutional.

Video Source – YouTube via PeruDiario

Online Sources- CNN, USA TODAY, Reuters, Tico Times

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Today’s Video: Dark Knights

Former Medellin Cartel chief Pablo Escobar is remembered by very few residents of that city as the man who built houses and soccer fields for the poor. His efforts to give the image of a benefactor failed among most Colombians hurt by his greed, ruthlessness and sanguinary nature.

Much like the late Escobar, Mexico’s Knights Templar drug gang are also attempting to trick others and portraying themselves as modern-day Robin Hoods. The drug gang distributed flyers and hung banners last week in Michoacán claiming that they helped “achieve” a drop in food prices.

Feud Over the Falklands: Star of David

Last week we examined offshore oil drilling near the Falklands and how this has helped fuel the diplomatic tug-of-war between Argentina and Britain. Today we will briefly examine alleged anti-Semitism within the Argentine military during the Falklands War.

The recently declassified Rattenbach Report concluded that the Argentine troops “weren't adapted or equipped to handle the weather or the living conditions” in the south Atlantic during the Falklands War thirty years ago. According to journalist Hernan Dobry, Jewish troops faced additional difficulties due to their background and religious beliefs.

Daily Headlines: April 10, 2012

* Mexico: Leading presidential candidate Enrique Pena Nieto suggested that more private investment could help Pemex though he stopped short of urging for a full privatization of the state-run oil giant.

* South America: Increased seismic activity has been detected in Ecuador’s Tungurahua volcano, while Colombian authorities lowered the eruption threat level for the Nevado del Ruiz volcano.

* Venezuela: Government officials claimed that Costa Rican diplomat Guillermo Cholele was in “good physical state” after he was possibly targeted in an “express” kidnapping.

* U.S.: A “Latino-themed offshoot” of Paranormal Activity that will reportedly “tackle Catholic-based paranormal mythology” could be coming to a theater near you.

Image Source – Flickr via rutlo (CC BY 2.0)

Online Sources- The Globe and Mail, Colombia Reports, Prensa Latina, Reuters, The A.V. Club

Monday, April 9, 2012

Daily Headlines: April 9, 2012

Brasília - DF
* Brazil: The presidents of Brazil and the U.S. are scheduled to meet today and they might examine issues such as bilateral trade, counternarcotics strategies and energy cooperation.

* Peru:
Cabinet chief Oscar Valdes claimed that it “could take days” before rescue workers reach a group of nine miners trapped over 650 feet underground.

* Argentina: Argentina’s quest for its first ever Davis Cup tennis title continued after beating Croatia 4-1 in the quarterfinals.

* Venezuela: President Hugo Chavez flew back to Cuba for another round of radiation therapy but not before declaring a boost in the minimum wage by 30%.

Image Source – Flickr via dilmarousseff (Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff met with President Barack Obama in Brasilia in March 2011). (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Online Sources- Voice of America,, BBC News, ABC News