Friday, October 12, 2012

Daily Headlines: October 12, 2012

* Peru: Human rights activists in Peru rejected the formal request made this week of a full pardon for disgraced and imprisoned former president Alberto Fujimori.

* Guatemala: Nine members of the military were arrested yesterday and charged with the  "extrajudicial execution" of several indigenous protesters last week.

* Uruguay: The Uruguay Soccer Federation blasted FIFA vice president Jim Boyce who referred to Luis Suarez as a “cancer within the game.”

* Argentina: A Ghana court rejected Argentina's appeal of an order regarding the detention of a naval ship due to a dispute with creditors.

Video Source – YouTube via Al Jazeera English

Online Sources- CNN, Los Angeles Times, ESPN, Bernama

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Last December the U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) passed a resolution that established the International Day of the Girl on October 11th.  For the UNGA the aim of this observance was to “help galvanize worldwide enthusiasm for goals to better girls’ lives, providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential.”

According to the EFE news agency 75 million girls worldwide do not receive a secondary education, 64% of all HIV/AIDS cases are in women under the age of 24 and every three seconds a girl is forced to get married.  In several Latin America and the Caribbean countries the statistics are no less reassuring:
  • In 2009, 15.5% of Mexican girls between the age of 15 and 19 had at least one child partly as a result of 61.2% of teens who did not use birth control.
  • 69% of the 7551 reported cases of domestic or sexual violence in Peru during the first eight months of this year involved girls under the age of 17.
  • A survey taken two years ago showed that 43% of women in the Dominican Republic aged between 20 and 49 had married before reaching the age of 18.
  • 70% of Bolivian girls do not got to school while 30% of girls residing in rural areas finish elementary school.
  • 248 girls under the age of 14 were killed last year in Colombia, which is up from 176 in 2010.
  • 14% of Ecuadorian indigenous girls between the ages of 5 and 17 do not attend school.
  • Roland Angerer of the Plan International NGO told EFE that for Central American girls the “quality of education is worse” than other regions and the levels of malnutrition are “worrying”.

Daily Headlines: October 11, 2012

* Honduras: A new study from a Mexican thin-tank found that the San Pedro Sula, Honduras is the most dangerous city on Earth and that forty of the world's most violent urban areas are in Latin America.

* Costa Rica: President Laura Chinchilla signed an executive order banning shark-finning days after the country’s legislature passed a bill barring hunting for sport.

* Puerto Rico: Health officials declared a dengue epidemic in the commonwealth that has killed two and infected over 4800 individuals.

* Argentina: Latin American defense chiefs at a conference in Uruguay passed a resolution supporting Argentina’s sovereignty claim to the Falklands Islands.

Video Source – YouTube via AFP (Video uploaded in April 2012).

Online Sources-, New York Daily News, Mercopress, AFP, Reuters

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Daily Headlines: October 10, 2012

* Ecuador: The U.S. Supreme Court rejected Chevron’s appeal to prevent paying over $18 billion in damages in an Ecuadorian environmental damages case.

* Guatemala: Indigenous community leaders have called on authorities to investigate alleged brutality by the military against protesters at a deadly clash last week.

* Brazil: Six out of ten Supreme Court judges convicted a former top aide to ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva for his role in the “Mensalao” corruption scandal.

* Cuba: U.S. officials have granted at least twenty licenses to travel firms to legally conduct cultural trips to Cuba.

Video Source – YouTube via Al Jazeera English (Video uploaded in February 2012).

Online Sources- Fox News Latino, IPS News, The Guardian,

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Daily Headlines: October 9, 2012

* Caribbean: Health officials in the neighboring countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic agreed to working on a campaign aimed at eliminating cholera by 2022.
* U.S.: In the race for the White House, Mitt Romney may have closed the gap in the polls but the latest Latino Decisions tracking poll showed that President Barack Obama maintains a massive 52% lead over his Republican rival.

* Latin America: The International Monetary Fund cut its growth forecasts for Latin America and the Caribbean due to the possibility of a continued weakening global economy.

* Paraguay: Are members of the Mercosur bloc reconsidering the suspension placed against Paraguay weeks after the ouster of then-President Fernando Lugo?
Video Source – YouTube via user newsntn24 (Video uploaded in May 2011).

Online Sources- ABC News, Businessweek, Latino Decisions, Reuters, UPI

Monday, October 8, 2012

“Exploration Day” Instead of “Columbus Day”?

On previous Columbus Days we've wondered whether or not the date ought to be renamed for a different Italian explorer with a less checkered past than Christopher Columbus. But what about renaming the day to honor the accomplishments of all explorers in the U.S.?

Two new petitions have been launched (through and The White House) seeking to rededicate Columbus Day as Exploration Day. 

"Rededicating Columbus Day as Exploration Day will allow those who wish to commemorate his accomplishments to continue doing so," said Karl Frank, one of the men behind the Exploration Day plan, to Discovery News. "But for those who find Columbus's role in history disquieting, it will enable them to celebrate the day in a very different way. Exploration Day covers the depth and breadth of America’s rich history of exploration, research and discovery. Thus, Exploration Day will be something that unites rather than divides."

Frank and his cohorts, Tom Diehl and Dr. Rod Wright, claimed that they were inspired by the efforts of recently deceased astronaut Neil Armstrong.
“Inspired by the likes of Armstrong’s generation, we are finished wondering and are ready to make it happen by rekindling that fire of exploratory spirit intrinsic in all of humanity,” noted Frank. “Like the exploratory fire found in women like Sacajawea, Hedy Lamar, Amelia Earhart, and men like Lewis and Clark, John Fremont, Matthew Henson, Charles Lindbergh, and the more contemporary Elon Musk”.

Daily Headlines: October 8, 2012

* Uruguay: “The use of the military to perform civil law enforcement cannot be a long-term solution,” declared U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to his Latin American counterparts at a conference this morning in Punta Del Este, Uruguay.

* Mexico: No reports of casualties or major damage have resulted after a 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck in the Gulf of California off the Mexican coast in the overnight hours.

* Peru: The Shining Path rebels are believed to have been behind the burning of three helicopters owned by “international gas pipeline consortium” Transportadora de Gas del Peru.

* Cuba: Dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez and her husband were released from police custody over thirty hours after they were detained last Thursday.

Video Source – YouTube via user ElMuerto

Online Sources- RTT News, Huffington Post, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Hugo Chavez Wins Venezuelan Presidential Election (Updated)

Update (12:45 AM): President Hugo Chavez celebrated his victory in front of a multitude of jubilant Chavistas who outside the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas.

"Today the Venezuelan people achieved a perfect victory", declared Chavez after being elected to a fourth term in office.

Chavez, who has held the presidency since 1998, vowed to act as a better leader "in order to accelerate a new cycle that will start the construction of a powerful Venezuela."

Chavez also called on the opposition to "get out of the mental state that has led you to reject all the good in Venezuela."

Not surprisingly Chavez supporters and Capriles backers had differing reactions to Sunday's presidential election.

"I'm celebrating with a big heart - Chavez is the hope of the people and of Latin America," said Chavez supporter Mary Reina to BBC News. 
The reactions of proponents of Capriles in Miami included disappointment and anger according to

"We're denouncing an electoral fraud," proclaimed one upset expat while a community activist congratulated those who showed their "commitment to democracy" by voting in New Orleans.
According to The Guardian, Chavez may have to make some changes in order to gain support among the millions who backed Capriles:
(...) analysts say his reduced margin of victory - down from 26% in 2006 and 16% in 1998 may prompt changes in the cabinet and the government's policy, particularly with regard to public security and the economy. Health concerns are also likely to linger.
 Update (11:30 PM): Defeated candidate Henrique Capriles thanked the over six million voters who chose him and "who probably are feeling very sad now" but should also be "very proud" for their efforts. 

"We have planted many seeds all over Venezuela.  My dreams are the same dreams as millions of Venezuelans," said Capriles who will respect the electoral results.

Capriles congratulated President Hugo Chavez for his victory yet warned Chavez that he needs to do more to improve Venezuela.  "I hope that a project that has taken fourteen years understands that nearly half of the country disagrees with the government," said Capriles.  

Chavez, meanwhile, has taken to Twitter in response to his electoral win.  "My God thanks!  Thanks to everyone!!" he said.