Saturday, November 10, 2012

Weekend Headlines: November 10-11, 2012

* Cuba: Blogger Yoani Sánchez and ex-hunger striker Guillermo Fariñas were among the approximately twenty dissidents briefly detained after protesting in Havana.

* Guatemala: A family of ten were among the over fifty fatalities caused by Wednesday's 7.4-magnitude earthquake that was the most powerful to hit the nation since 1976.

* Mexico: U.S. and Mexican officials are reportedly close to signing a pact regarding water use in the border region.

* Argentina: The Argentine government may be forced by a U.S. court to pay billions of dollars in defaulted debt to private creditors.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Daily Headlines: November 9, 2012

* Argentina: Hundreds of thousands of Argentines participated in nationwide protests critical of President Cristina Fernandez and her policies.
* Dominican Republic: A medical student was killed during demonstrations opposed to major reforms at the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo.

* Mexico: Fourteen federal police officers were charged today with attempted murder in the attack on a pair of CIA agents last August.

* Brazil: The Brazilian ambassador to India claimed that trade between the two members of the BRICS group of emerging economic states grew by 34% last year.

Video Source – YouTube via AFP

Online Sources- New York Daily News, Huffington Post, New York Times, Reuters

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Daily Headlines: November 8, 2012

* Guatemala: At least 52 people are dead and 22 are missing after a massive 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Guatemala yesterday.

* Argentina: A judge ordered the freezing of Chevron’s $19 billion in assets held in Argentina while courts decide on whether those funds should be paid to plaintiffs in Ecuador.

* Peru: Bolivian officials returned to Peru a 700-year-old mummy that was stolen by traffickers in 2010.

* Brazil: FIFA approved six cities to host the Confederations Cup next year despite the slow construction progress of new soccer stadiums.

Video Source – YouTube via Associated Press

Online Sources- New York Times, IOL, The Guardian, BBC News

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Puerto Ricans Vote in Vital Elections (Updated)

All eyes have been placed on the U.S. presidential election that is projected to be won by incumbent Barack Obama over Mitt Romney.  Off the mainland, however, Puerto Ricans participate in a pair of crucial votes on Tuesday.

Hundreds of thousands of boricuas voted in a two-part plebiscite to help decide the political status of the island.  The first part of the referendum asked voters if they prefer the island’s political status as a commonwealth.  The second part of the plebiscite allowed voters to chose what type of political status they would like for Puerto Rico:  become the fifty-first U.S. state, become an independent country or remain as a commonwealth? (The island has been a commonwealth since the U.S. took control of the territory in 1898).

The results of the plebiscite are reportedly too close to call with exit polls indicating a 48%-48% tie over the first question on the island’s “status quo”.  Preliminary results for the second part of the plebiscite have indicated 50% for statehood, 32% for “enhanced commonwealth status” and 4% for independence. 

The referendum is non-binding and details of the island’s upcoming political status would have to be agreed upon by the governments of the U.S. and Puerto Rico.  The role of Puerto Rican governor thus gains more importance yet it’s unknown who will hold that seat for those critical negotiations.

The future of Gov. Luis Fortuño, who is representing the pro-statehood party, is in the balance with results of the gubernatorial election far too close to call.  With half of the votes tabulated in a recount Fortuño is behind by less than 1.0% to pro-commonwealth candidate Alejandro García Padilla.

Obama has said that he would “respect the people's will if there is a clear majority”.   The negotiations over Puerto Rico’s future political status could be made easier if Padilla wins his race since the political party he’s with is allied with the Democrats.

Update below the page break:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Today's Video: Turbaco Votes

We will be back later tonight to briefly report on a few news stories related to Tuesday's U.S. presidential elections.  For now we present an unusual bit of news from South America.

Chicago may be the homebase for President Barack Obama as he awaits results from the polls but it may not be the location where he's most revered.  That distinction could belong to the small Colombian town of Turbaco where people participated in a mock election organized by ex-mayor Silvio Carrasquilla.

"We know that Obama is worried over there because in all states things with Republican Mitt Romney are tight, but Turbaco tells him to relax, we will bring him the decisive victory" Carrasquilla was reported to have said.

As seen in the video below, 3000 ballots were prepared for voters in the "symbolic" election that included Turbaco residents and visitors from surrounding cities:

Daily Headlines: November 6, 2012

* Nicaragua: The U.S. State Department claimed, “disturbing practices have marred multiple recent Nicaraguan elections” that were dominated by candidates representing the ruling Sandinista party.

* Chile: Defense Minister Andres Allamand and Public Works Minister Laurence Golborne left their posts and will likely launch their campaigns for the next year’s presidential election.

* Argentina: Leandro Favio, one of Argentina’s most well known cultural figures, died on Monday at the age of 74.
* Honduras: At least three people died over a conflict regarding land rights in the town of Tocoa.

Video Source – YouTube via user canalNTN24 (At leas three people died in violence after Sunday’s municipal elections in Nicaragua.)

Online Sources- Businessweek, BBC News, Huffington Post, Fox News Latino

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sobredosis de TV: Eye on Juarez

It is said that a picture captures a thousand words.  This could be the mantra of photojournalists who venture to some of the world's most dangerous places in order to capture the chaos and conflict through the camera's lens.

"Witness: Juarez" is the first of a four-part documentary series that airs tonight on HBO at 9:00 PM.  Tonight's episode focuses on the work of Eros Hoagland in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Since 1993, he has traveled the world to cover violence and unrest in countries like Colombia and Haiti.  Hoagland followed in the footsteps of his father, John, a veteran photojournalist who was killed while covering the aftermath of El Salvador's civil war. 

In a recent article in The Daily Beast, Hoagland describes that the war on drugs in Mexico is complex and includes varied individuals such as "dirty cops, masked outlaws, and corrupt politicians."  He also delves into what he feels is the goal behind the images he captures:
Pictures lie all the time. I don’t believe my lens conveys the ultimate truth. I know full well that my photos are only part of the truth, and it’s up to you to decide the rest. Cases certainly exist with a clear victim and a villain, but in my line of work, it’s as if everything is in a bag—you can shake it up and take your pick. I’m on the hunt for thematic images that give perspective on a particular place. Good pictures should make you curious. If I’ve made you curious, I’ve done my job.
Below is the trailer for the "Witness" series that will also include Hoagland reporting on the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. 

A recent study found that Ciudad Juarez is not the world's most dangerous city though its murder rate is still a very high 148 people per 100,000. Juarez has reportedly undergone a decline in violence over the past few months though it's yet to be seen if this represents a road to recovery or a temporary improvement.

Online Sources -, The Daily Beat, Time, Eros Hoagland Photography, HBO Documentaries

Video Source - YouTube via user HBO Docs

Daily Headlines: November 5, 2012

Note: Today's "Daily Headlines" are an expanded edition in order to make up for the lack of posts last week.  Enjoy!

* Latin America: A group of 38 mothers from several Central American countries continued their march through Mexico calling for greater government protection for migrants.

* U.S.: According to new government data, unemployment among Latinos rose slightly to 10.0% last month though it’s below the October 2011 Latino unemployment rate of 11.4%.

* Bolivia: The family of a Bolivian radio host attacked and on set on fire have urged authorities to investigate who was the mastermind behind the assault.

* Paraguay: Human rights activists and former political prisoners are upset at plans over repatriating the remains of the late dictator Alfredo Stroessner from Brazil to Paraguay.