Friday, February 8, 2013

Report: 15,000 Rape Cases Yearly in Mexico

The recent rape of six Spanish tourists in Acapulco has served to highlight the problem of sexual assault against women in Mexico.  A report mentioned in one of Mexico’s main dailies described just how bad this problem is.

The “unpublished” study, which was mentioned in Wednesday’s edition of La Jornada, found that approximately 15,000 instances of rape were denounced yearly. Hence, the report concluded that levels of sexual violence in Mexico are “unacceptably high and, worse still, increasing.”  

The report’s authors, who include the U.N.’s agency on women and Mexico’s National Women’s Institute, also noted that despite such a high number of reported cases of abuse the number of defendants who go on trial decreased between 2002 and 2010.

Furthermore, the study described that 76% of those accused of rape between 1997 and 2006 were convicted of their crimes.  Yet this percentage has supposedly decreased and over the past four years less than 30% of cases have lead to a conviction. 

This study appears to support the results of another report that was presented last year to the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.  As written in an October 2012 article in VOXXI:

Daily Headlines: February 8, 2013

* Mexico: Mexico’s Yaquis de Obregon won the Caribbean Series over the Dominican Republic's Leones del Escogido in a nail-biting eighteen inning marathon game that took nearly 7.5 hours to play. 

* Venezuela: Ailing President Hugo Chavez might soon be able to rule by decree after an opposition lawmaker changed party affiliation.

* Haiti: A judge ruled that ex-President Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier must appear in court later this month to face charges of human rights abuse.

* El Salvador: The Salvadoran military will reportedly be withdrawn from several “peace zone” municipalities where the Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio 18 gangs agreed to a non-violence truce.

Video Source – YouTube via user iPhoneActualidad

Online Sources- ESPN, Christian Science Monitor, NBC News, Bloomberg

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Argentine Ambassador Rebukes Italian Newspaper

Over the past few weeks Argentina’s government has been at loggerheads with several countries across the Atlantic.

Several days ago, Argentine Foreign Minister Hectór Timerman clamed that his country will control the disputed Falklands Islands “within twenty years.”  Last week Timerman and Israeli officials criticized each other after Argentine and Iranian diplomats agreed to creating a joint “truth commission” to investigate the deadly 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish center.

In the latest incident, Argentina’s ambassador to Italy criticized a recent opinion article that appeared in the Corriere della Sera entitled “The Creative ‘Lies’ of Our Argentine Friends”.

In a letter sent to the chief editor of the influential newspaper, Ambassador Torcuato Di Tella called for “a little more balanced news coverage.”

“I know very well that your newspaper doesn’t treat Italian politics tenderly…Anyway, among so many news stories a little fun isn’t too bad.  But I expected the Corriere, which I read and keep many articles written by teachers, colleagues and friends as Sartori, Panebianco, Sapelli, a little more balanced news coverage," Di Tella said in his communique.

The article in question was originally published on Monday’s edition of the Italian daily and was a tongue-in-cheek critique of Argentina’s fudging of key economic data. 

The article that was written by a Corriere’s correspondent in Brazil did not pull punches:

Daily Headlines: February 7, 2013 (UPDATED)

* Chile: The Chilean Navy was ordered to investigate a group of sailors caught on video chanting, “I will kill Argentines, I will shoot Bolivians, I will behead Peruvians.”

Update: A report from the Chilean Navy said that the chant by a group of sailors in Viña del Mar was an "improvised" form of a "typical" song used by the military in training.

The report, which was ordered by the federal government in response to the controversial video, labeled the chant as "offensive" but called for the leader of the chant to be punished rather than the entire group of 27 sailors.

* South America: Police in Peru nabbed the suspected head of Los Urabeños, a Colombian neo-paramilitary criminal gang involve in drug trafficking.

* Cuba: Lack of demand is reportedly to blame for a decline in the number of charter flights between the U.S. and Cuba.

* U.S.: Can Governors Brian Sandoval and Susana Martinez help attract Latino voters to the Republican Party?

Video Source – YouTube via user Guillermo Rossini

Online Sources including Update- La Nacion, ABC News, UPI, Miami Herald, New York Times

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Today’s Video: Big Dreams

In yesterday’s look at the effects of cancer in Latin America we highlighted the difficulties faced by one of Bolivia’s few children’s cancer doctors.  Though some of her patients face very difficult odds at survival some of them are able to pull through and lead normal lives.

This message of hope and overcoming immense obstacles is featured in the following Peruvian Cancer Foundation commercial from Peru that first aired several years ago:

Please click here if you’re interested in donating to the Peruvian Cancer Foundation and finding out more information about the group.

Cancer is reportedly the second-leading cause of death in Peru.

Video Source – YouTube via user Jorge Alarcon

Online Sources – The Latin Americanist, La Republica, Peruvian Cancer Foundation

Daily Headlines: February 6, 2013

* Haiti: An International Crisis Group report warned that “Haiti is in a race against time to convince its own people, donors and potential investors that progress and stability are achievable”.
* South America: Is a controversial under-20 soccer match between Bolivia and Argentina and played in 2010 under the scrutiny of European gambling investigators?

* Nicaragua: Money transfers to Nicaragua reached a record high of over $1 billion in 2012 according to the country’s Central Bank.

* Ecuador: President Rafael Correa claimed that an attack against supporters at a pro-government rally on Monday was not politically motivated.

Video Source – YouTube via euronews (Dozens of protests like the one seen here could sink the presidency of Michel Martelly and hamper Haitian progress according to the International Crisis Group).

Online Sources- Miami Herald, NBC Sports, Prensa Latina, Chicago Tribune

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Today’s Video: One Patient at a Time

On Monday we examined a recent march in Honduras aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of cancer.  Today we continue our commemoration of World Cancer Day with a look at a Latin American country hit very hard by cancer.

A 2012 study from the World Health Organization, (WHO), found that Bolivia has the second-highest cancer death rate in Latin America and this has led to one of the world’s highest mortality rates.

Why such high rates? One reason is lack of proper health care since it is not affordable.  Indeed, the WHO estimated that a whopping 90% of cancer deaths in Bolivia are among those in the lower economic classes. 

The challenge of providing cancer treatment and raising awareness of the disease is seen every da by Dr. Beatriz Salas, one of the few child cancer doctors in Bolivia.  As seen in the video below the page break, Dr. Salas provides care for her mostly impoverished patients including some who travel as far as hundreds of miles to Cochabamba.  Treatment for these patients is difficult to come by due to their poverty as well as a lack of funds to the hospital.  Yet Dr. Salas does not give up and she strives daily to help all of her patients:

Daily Headlines: February 5, 2013

* Venezuela: Vice President Nicolas Maduro read a letter purportedly from President Hugo Chavez who has not made a public appearance since undergoing surgery on December 11th.

* Colombia: Representatives for the FARC rebels denied allegations that peace talks with the Colombian government are floundering, while the ELN guerillas reportedly kidnapped two German citizens.

* U.S.: A new survey found that 18% of Latinos are gun owners, which is a smaller percentage compared to blacks (21%) and whites (33%).

* Argentina: Most Argentine supermarkets will freeze the prices of goods for two months in a move aimed at halting rising inflation rates.

Video Source – YouTube via Al Jazeera English

Online Sources- ABC News, LAHT,, Huffington Post, Washington Post

Monday, February 4, 2013

Today’s Video: Hondurans Against Cancer

In commemoration of World Cancer Day, which is being observed today, we will highlight several videos this week showing the impact of cancer on several Latin American countries.

According to the World Health Organization, (WHO), cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide and it kills more people on Earth than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.  Researchers believe that factors such as increased rates of tobacco use, poorer diets and greater exposure to hazardous chemicals have led to most cancer deaths occurring in developing countries.

Regarding Latin America, the WHO praised the region for establishing national plans to combat cancer.

“Within Latin America there is great activity.  A network of national cancer institutes was created recently thanks to the UNASUR bloc, which allows for dialogue and the exchanging of experiences,” noted WHO official Andreas Ullrich to BBC Mundo.  Nevertheless, Ullrich also observed that these initiatives are in their early stages and there’s still a long road ahead.

Certain sectors in some Latin American countries are especially vulnerable to the cancer epidemic.  Such is the case in Honduras where one in nine women suffer from cancer.

The most common forms of cancer in Honduras are cervical cancer followed by breast cancer with the latter causing an estimated 350 yearly deaths.  As a result, women between the ages of 36 and 55 are believed to be the most vulnerable group to suffer from cancer in that Central American nation.

Despite the difficulties faced by Honduran women numerous organizations strive to promote cancer awareness.  One of these campaigns was organized last October when several hundred women marched through the streets of Tegucigalpa.

“For several years we have informed women at risk (of cancer) to undergo a mammogram and on this day we’re once against launching a message of hope,” said Lía Bueso, head of a women’s organization against cancer, to the EFE news agency.

As seen in the video below the page break, the “Pink Carnival” attracted Hondurans representing all walks of life including activists, children, and cancer survivors:

Daily Headlines: February 4, 2013 (UPDATED)

* Paraguay: Presidential candidate Lino Oviedo died in an accident that occurred on the twenty-fourth anniversary of the coup d’état that he took part in against ex-dictator Alfredo Stroessner. 

* Mexico: Funerals were held over the weekend for some of the thirty-six people killed as a result of an explosion at the PEMEX complex on Thursday.

Update: According to PEMEX a 37th dead body was found on Monday amid the rubble from last week's explosion. 

* Cuba: Former Cuban ruler Fidel Castro voted in Sunday’s general elections and, thus, made his first extended public appearance since 2010.

* Uruguay: Should the Falkands Islands really belong to Uruguay instead of Argentina or Britain?

Video Source – YouTube via user canalNTN24

Online Sources including Update- Bloomberg, euronews, The Latin Americanist, The Guardian, The Telegraph, ABC News