Friday, July 5, 2013

The Paulista Who Won at Wimbledon

Juan Martín del Potro of Argentina will attempt to become the first Latin American tennis player to win the men's singles at Wimbledon.  The 2009 U.S. Open champion will likely face a very tough challenge in the semifinals from top ranked Novak Djokovic as he vies to capture his second Grand Slam title.

Two of Del Potro’s fellow Argentines – David Nalbandian and Gabriela Sabatini – made it to the Wimbledon finals though both stumbled at the final hurdle.  In fact, only one Latin American tennis player has won a singles title at the All England Club: Brazil’s Maria Bueno.

In 1959, the nineteen-year-old Bueno captured the Wimbledon crown when she bested Darlene Hard in straight sets:
Her accomplishments in 1959 included a U.S. Open title, the World No. 1 ranking and recipient of the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year award.  In Brazil, meanwhile, Bueno was treated as a national heroine, received a ticker tape parade in Rio de Janeiro and was honored a special Mass at the cathedral of her native Sao Paulo.

Daily Headlines: July 5, 2013

* Brazil: A Brazilian judge placed under house arrest Rayfran das Neves Sales, the convicted murderer of U.S. nun and environmental activist Dorothy Stang, after serving only eight years in prison.

* Bolivia: “This was an open provocation toward a continent, not just a president,” declared Bolivian President Evo Morales regarding the forced diversion of his presidential plane in Europe this week.
* Ecuador: A British security firm denied allegations that they bugged the Ecuadorian embassy in London where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been residing in.

* Argentina: Buenos Aires, Argentina beat out Medellin, Colombia and Glasgow, Scotland to win the chance to host the 2018 Youth Olympic Games.

Video Source – YouTube via user sisterdorothy (Trailer for a documentary on murdered U.S. nun and environmental activist Dorothy Stang).

Online Sources- France24; The Latin Americanist; Reuters; Al Jazeera English;

Thursday, July 4, 2013

América the Beautiful

July 4th is Independence Day in the U.S. and in recognition of this is the video below of renowned Brazilian musician Caetano Veloso performing “Soy Loco Por Ti America.” 

Composed by a trio of Brazilians including Gilberto Gil, the song can be interpreted as a tune that praises America the country as well as the Americas themselves.

Video Source– YouTube via user heinrichmanch

Daily Headlines: July 4, 2013

* Central America: Four Central American countries - Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and El Salvador – have issued health alerts over an outbreak of dengue fever that has killed at least seventeen people in the region this year.

* Peru: Two private building companies have been blamed for the leveling of the 5000-year-old El Paraiso pyramid near the capital city of Lima.

* Argentina: Did the Argentine government provide up to 100 tons of “yellowcake” uranium to Israel for its nuclear arms program in the 1960s?

* Venezuela: Changes were made to Venezuela’s currency exchange system in order to increase the flow of U.S. dollars into the country.

Video Source – YouTube via Prensa Latina

Online Sources- AFP; io9; Reuters; Jerusalem Post

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Latin American Anger Over Bolivian Plane Diversion (Updated)

A diplomatic crisis is apparently developing between several Latin American and European states after a plane carrying Bolivian president Evo Morales made an unexpected layover in Austria.

Morales was returning to his homeland yesterday after attending a conference in Russia but according to Bolivian officials Spain, Italy, Portugal and France prohibited the presidential plane from flying through their respective airspaces. 

"We are told that there were some unfounded suspicions that (U.S. intelligence whistleblower Edward) Snowden was on the plane," Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca said.

The aircraft was then forced to make an emergency landing in Vienna where it was refueled but also inspected by Austrian authorities.  After approximately thirteen hours the plane was permitted to depart and it’s currently en route back to Bolivia. 

“I feel that this was an excuse to frighten and intimidate me,” said Morales to the press before leaving Austria.

Bolivian Defense Minister Ruben Saavedra Soto claimed that the U.S. State Department spread the rumor that the former contractor was smuggled onto the Bolivian aircraft.  “It’s a rumor completely based on a lie,” said Saavedra before he and the rest of the Bolivian contingent left Austria. 

Sacha Llorenti, Bolivia’s Ambassador to the U.N., said that his country while a file a complaint with the organization’s human rights body regarding what he deemed as a “diplomatic kidnapping”.

“We have no doubt that it was an order from the White House... For no reason whatsoever should a diplomatic plane with a president [inside] be diverted from its route and forced to land in another country,” he said earlier today.

Daily Headlines: July 3, 2013

* Honduras: The Honduran Congress accepted the resignation of Attorney General Luis Ruby who quit after admitting that his office had trouble trying to stem rampant violence.

* Mexico: Forty-six women were rescued in a human trafficking bust at a Mexico City nightclub over the weekend.

* Cuba: Officials on Monday announced that the first non-farm cooperatives since the 1959 revolution were functioning and approval was granted for the establishment of an extra 71 cooperatives.
* Colombia: Negotiators for the FARC rebels have urged the Colombian government to include the ELN guerillas in peace talks being held in Cuba.

Video Source – YouTube via Al Jazeera English (“Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world - and gangs are the main perpetrators of the violence. But now two of the largest and most dangerous street gangs have agreed to end all violence,” according to the description provided to this video that was uploaded roughly five weeks ago).

Online Sources- GlobalPost; CNN; Reuters; NBC News

Monday, July 1, 2013

Daily Headlines: July 1, 2013 (Updated)

* Ecuador: President Rafael Correa of Ecuador said yesterday that the fate of U.S. intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden is up to Russia to decide even though Snowden has requested asylum in the South American country.

Update: In an interview with The Guardian on Monday, Correa claimed that Ecuador is not considering Snowden's asylum request unless he were to travel directly to that country.  Correa also admitted that "it was a mistake on our part" to grant the former intel contractor a temporary travel pass that he used to move from Hong Kong to Russia.  

* Chile: Ex-leader Michelle Bachelet easily won Chile’s presidential primary among center-left candidates and is the favorite to win the general election in November.

* Argentina: Prosecutors will open an investigation against former Interior Minister Carlos Vladimir Corach regarding the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people.

* Latin America: The summit of the Petrocaribe trade bloc ended last week with representatives of the 19 member states agreeing to create a special economic zone.

Video Source – YouTube via euronews (Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa mentioned on Saturday that he had a “cordial” telephone conversation with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden regarding the Edward Snowden affair).

Online Sources including Update - The Guardian; Reuters; Washington Post; The Guardian; Jerusalem Post