Friday, January 11, 2013

Daily Headlines: January 11, 2013

* Mexico: Eduardo Medina Mora, Mexico’s ambassador to the U.S., expressed his hope that new gun control laws in the U.S. could help reduce violence in Mexico.

* Honduras: Reporters Without Borders called on officials in one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists to protect a reporter facing several threats.

* Colombia: FARC lead negotiator Ivan Marquez said that the guerillas would not extend a unilateral ceasefire beyond a January 20th deadline.

* U.S.: Does the surprise resignation of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis signify a “diversity gap” in President Barack Obama’s cabinet?

Video Source – YouTube via Al Jazeera English

Online Sources- Washington Post, The Guardian, Chicago Tribune,

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Venezuela: Pro-Chavez LatAm Leaders Sign Solidarity Declaration

Representatives of over twenty Latin American and Caribbean countries signed a declaration supporting ailing President Hugo Chavez and the Venezuelan government.

Signatories to the “Caracas Declaration” promise to reject any attempts to  “destabilize and promote intervention into matters on which the Venezuelan people have clearly expressed their will.”

The text also called on the international community to “respect” Wednesday’s Venezuelan Supreme Court ruling to postpone the inauguration of Chavez that was supposed to take place on Thursday.

Among the countries that signed the declaration are member states of the Petrocaribe oil alliance and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, both groups that have received strong support from the Chavez regime.

In lieu of Chavez, who is reportedly in Cuba and in “delicate” condition since undergoing cancer surgery one month ago, several Latin American leaders gathered at a rally in his name on Thursday.  The presidents of Bolivia, Nicaragua and Uruguay joined Maduro and other senior Venezuelan government officials on stage at the event in Caracas.

“I am confident that our comrade Hugo is the person most interested in being here, but who says he is not here? He is in every woman, peasant...” proclaimed former Paraguayan president Fernando Lugo at the “symbolic” inauguration that was also attended by tens of thousands of Venezuelans.
Venezuelan opposition leaders, meanwhile, announced that they will hold their own rally on January 23rd over what they consider a violation of Venezuela’s constitution.

Nuestro Cine: The Artist

This morning the nominees for the 2013 Academy Awards were announced.  Among those films that made it to their respective Oscar categories are Chilean film “No” and the feature documentary “Searching for Sugar Man” that focuses on Mexican-American folk singer Rodriguez.  Another documentary that could win an Oscar highlights the work of a young Latino striving to speak out through her art.

Inocente” is named after its main subject: undocumented immigrant Inocente Izucar.  She has reportedly moved more than thirty times in nine years along with her mother and three brothers.  Her nomadic lifestyle included stints in homeless shelters along with her family and occasionally living on the streets.  Inocente also endured family abuse that led to the deportation of her father and a difficult relationship with her mother.

 “When I was little, I didn’t think it was weird. But as I got older, I began to see that other kids at school had houses to live in. I didn’t tell people at school I was homeless. It was my secret,” she said to Fox News Latino.

It was during her brief period at the Monarch School for homeless kids where Inocente would find her true voice.  Her colorful and vibrant artistic work caught the eyes of teachers and members of A Reason To Survive (ARTS), a non-profit program that organized therapeutic arts-based programs.  Inocente’s creativity also captured the attention of filmmakers Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine who decided to rework their planned film on homeless youth to concentrate on Inocente.

Since the film was made three years ago, some aspects of Inocente’s life have changed for the better.   She is able to support herself by selling her artwork for as much as $5000 apiece, which has allowed her to move into a small apartment in San Diego and continue painting.  Despite the strained ties to her mom, Inocente has not stopped dreaming of a better future for herself and her family:
“I want to join the circus,” she says. “I want to do trapeze…The documentary has opened many doors for me, and I’m sure there’ll be a lot more to come.”
She says she has learned through experience to just think about tomorrow, it’s easier that way. That’s her message to the other homeless kids out there. 
“It can only get better,” says Inocente. “I have a lot of impossible dreams, but I still dream them.”
“Inocente” has been featured in several film festivals and aired on MTV last August.  Below is the trailer to the film that will be vying to win the Oscar for top short documentary at the Academy Awards ceremony on February 24th:
Inocente Official Trailer from Shine Global on Vimeo.

Video Source - Vimeo

Online Sources – The Latin Americanist,, Fox News Latino, NBC Latino

Daily Headlines: January 10, 2013

* Argentina: An Argentine naval ship detained for two and half months in Ghana because of a financial dispute returned to a “triumphant homecoming” on Wednesday.

* Mexico: U.S. legislators Elijah Cummings and Henry Waxman released documents alleging that Wal-Mart’s chief executive was aware of widespread bribery taking place in Mexico.

* Peru: At least two people are dead and three are injured after a Dakar Rally convoy was involved in a multiple vehicle accident.

* Cuba: Dissident and former political prisoner Oscar Elias Biscet announced a new campaign aimed at collecting thousands of signatures for a pro-democracy manifesto.

Video Source – YouTube via user TVPublicaArgentina

Online Sources- LAHT, The Guardian, The Independent, Reuters

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Venezuelan Top Court OKs Chavez Inaguration Delay (UPDATED)

The inauguration of President Hugo Chavez scheduled for tomorrow can legally be delayed according to a unanimous decision issued on Wednesday by the Venezuelan Supreme Court (TSJ, in Spanish initials).

In the ruling read by TSJ president Luisa Estella Morales, the tribunal concluded that the end of a presidential term does not indicate an end of power. She also said that other members of the Chavez administration can continue in their offices.

Morales noted that Chavez can be inaugurated at a later date in front of the TSJ though she did not provide a specific date.

She said the court's decision came from its interpretation of Article 231 of the Venezuelan constitution that according to BBC News states,"the president-elect shall take office on 10 January... by taking an oath before the National Assembly. If for any reason, (they) cannot be sworn in before the National Assembly, they shall take the oath of office before the Supreme Court".

Chavez, who was supposed to be inaugurated for a third consecutive term on Thursday, has not been seen publicly since traveling to Cuba approximately one month ago for cancer surgery.

The TSJ's decision supports actions by the Venezuelan government seeking to delay the inauguration. Opposition politicians and exiled activists have decried the government's move as an unconstitutional power grab.

We will have more details later today on the ruling including reactions in Venezuela and abroad.

(Updates after the page break)

Daily Headlines: January 9, 2013

* Guatemala: The demand for biofuels in the U.S. and Europe could be causing major problems to the Guatemalan food supply.

* Cuba: A U.N. report urged the Cuban government to release the "unfairly" imprisoned U.S. contractor Alan Gross.

* U.S.: Harvard University is facing criticism after granting a one-year fellowship to former Mexican President Felipe Calderón.

* Brazil: Authorities rejected calls for energy rationing due to low water levels at Brazilian hydroelectric plants.

Online Sources: Miami Herald, Huffington Post, New York Times, ABC News

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Daily Headlines: January 8, 2013

* South America: For the fourth straight year Argentine striker Lionel Messi received the Ballon d’Or as the world’s best soccer player and he also joined fellow South Americans Marcelo, Dani Alves and Radamel Falcao to the World XI All-Star team.

* Bolivia: Bolivian officials claimed to have “irrefutable evidence” proving that the U.S. embassy in La Paz is plotting to “damage the image and prestige” of President Evo Morales.

* Venezuela: Rescuers continue to search for a plane that disappeared off the Venezuelan coast carrying Italian fashion executive Vittorio Missoni and five other people.
* Argentina: The Argentine foreign ministry blasted British Prime Minister David Cameron over alleged “military threats” made regarding the disputed Falklands.
Video Source – YouTube via user HeilRJ03 (Lionel Messi scored 91 goals in all competitions in 2012, which is reportedly a world record).

Online Sources- ESPN Soccernet, AFP, The Telegraph, Euronews

Monday, January 7, 2013

Sobredosis de TV: Another Eye on Juarez

Last November we looked at “Witness: Juarez”, a documentary following the experiences of photojournalist Eros Hoagland in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.  While Hoagland provided his perspective on violence in one of the Americas’ most dangerous cities, another film set to air tonight will provide another viewpoint of the conflict in northern Mexico.

“Reportero” highlights the work done by journalists working at Zeta, a Tijuana-based independent newsweekly. Much like Hoagland the staff at Zeta risk their lives in order to report on the rampant crime, corruption and difficulties faced on a daily basis in Juarez and Tijuana, respectively.  Unlike Hoagland who has traveled to conflict areas around the world, however, the subjects of “Reportero” are residents of Baja California who cannot as easily escape the dangers they encounter.

As Zeta co-director Adela Navarro and reporter Sergio Haro told PBS, the work by them and their colleagues continues though the odds are seemingly stacked against them:

Daily Headlines: January 7, 2013

* Venezuela: Chavistas and opposition politicos continue to be at loggerheads over the health of ailing President Hugo Chavez who is supposed to be inaugurated on Thursday for a third straight term.
* Chile: President Sebastián Piñera announced the application of Chile's tough Pinochet era anti-terrorism law as a result of increased tensions with indigenous Mapuche activists.

* Mexico: Could Canada’s guest worker program for Mexicans serve as an example for the U.S. to emulate?
* Colombia: Honduras’ ambassador to Colombia resigned after it was discovered that a bacchanalian holiday party was held at the embassy in Bogota last month.

Video Source – YouTube via euronews

Online Sources- Businessweek, Huffington Post, VOXXI, The Guardian