Friday, September 13, 2013

Daily Headlines: September 13, 2013

* Uruguay: Recent polls have shown growing public support for a proposal to legalize marijuana use though most Uruguayans are still opposed to it.

* Honduras: The government granted the rights to over 1.6 million acres of coastal land to some 21,800 members of indigenous Miskito communities.

* Cuba: Hundreds of people marched to the U.S. Interests Section in Havana yesterday and called for the release of four Cuban intelligence agents convicted of spying in 2001.

* Venezuela: Regional newspapers are reportedly in danger of shutting down due to the escalating costs of newsprint.

Video Source – YouTube via AFP (Video uploaded on Aug 1, 2013).

Online Sources- GlobalPost; Businessweek; Christian Science Monitor; UPI

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Daily Headlines: September 12, 2013

* Brazil: The Brazilian government is reportedly looking into creating its own network equipment in order to protect information privacy and prevent alleged surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency.

* Mexico: Thousands of striking teachers took to the streets of Mexico City as part of their protests against government-backed educational reforms.

* Venezuela: Venezuelan officials rejected a recent World Bank arbitration panel decision claiming that the South American country had “failed to act in good faith or properly compensate” ConocoPhillips for the 2007 nationalization of oil projects.

* Colombia: John Leguizamo was selected to play the late Medellin Cartel boss Pablo Escobar in a Hollywood biopic set to begin shooting this January.

Video Source – YouTube via euronews

Online Sources- The Guardian; USA TODAY; Reuters; Bloomberg; The Latin Americanist

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Chile: Widow of Charles Horman Seeks Justice

The widow of slain U.S. journalist Charles Horman said that she is continuing to seek for justice in his death that occurred days after the 1973 military coup d’état in Chile.

“(Charles Harmon’s) story is just as relevant today as it was 40 years ago, and makes the cases against those responsible just as pressing,” wrote Joyce Horman in an article published in The Guardian on the fortieth anniversary of the coup.

She described how she “feared the worst” when she discovered that her husband disappeared on September 17, 1973 and the frustration against who hindered her efforts to locate her husband.

“In the days and weeks that followed, Charles' father, Ed Horman, and I sought the help of American officials. Rather than aiding our search, however, they inquired about our social circles, and asked if we had been "annoying" the Chileans… Charles was transformed from an American citizen who was entitled to protection, to a vulnerable and disposable threat to powerful forces” by U.S. officials,” claimed Joyce.

One month after he was kidnapped, Joyce was informed that Charles was executed by the military and was buried in the walls of the national stadium in Santiago.
The Horman case became the inspiration for the award-winning 1982 film “Missing” by the director Costa-Gavras.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government would deny any involvement in Horman’s death until 1999 when a declassified 1976 State Department memo admitted, “U.S. intelligence may have played an unfortunate part.”  These and other documents were instrumental in the 2011 indictment in a Chilean court of ex-U.S. Navy Capt. Ray E. Davis.  Davis was accused of providing Chilean military intelligence agents with information on Horman and Frank Teruggi, another U.S. citizen killed in Chile in 1973.

Chilean officials last year approved the extradition from the U.S. of Davis but thus far it hasn’t been served.

“If and when that happens, it would set an important precedent for a US military officer to be charged by another country for the death of American citizens,” Joyce mentioned.

Chilean Bishops Urge Reconciliation on Coup Anniversary

A group of Chilean Roman Catholic bishops called for reconciliation on the fortieth anniversary of the military coup d’état that ousted President Salvador Allende.

“Beyond the different and legitimate reading of the facts, as pastors of the Church we want to remember this date and reflect on the dignity of the human person,” read part of a statement from the bishops.

The letter observed, “Reconciliation cannot be imposed by decree, but comes from a merciful heart. Our belief is that small personal and institutional gestures can be vital to help heal wounds and contribute to true reconciliation”. 

The bishops also noted the role of the Church as defenders of human rights during the seventeen years of post-coup military rule that was led by General Augusto Pinochet.

“Nothing justifies the violation of human dignity perpetrated starting from 11 September 1973,” said the statement.

Current Chilean President Sebastián Piñera at an event this morning commemorating the coup also echoed the push for reconciliation.

“Human rights violations are the responsibility of those who committed them but also those who could’ve prevented them,” said Piñera on a date officially designated as a national day of remembrance.

In an interview with published today, the man who was elected as Chile’s first conservative leader since Pinochet stepped down in 1990 mentioned that he “thought that my country had just gone mad” when the coup occurred. Yet he blamed Allende for “not respecting basic democratic principles” prior to the golpe and for creating a situation where there “was no dialogue”.

Isabel Allende, the daughter of the late president who is now the head of the country’s Socialist Party, also mentioned unity among Chileans.

Daily Headlines: September 11, 2013

* Venezuela: Venezuela's annual inflation rate hit a five-year high of 45.3% in August despite a slower increase in consumer prices.

* Dominican Republic: Authorities confirmed that the parents of at least seven children have formally accused the ex-Vatican envoy to the Dominican Republic of sexual abuse.

* Brazil: According to new preliminary government data the rate of deforestation in the Amazon may have increased by 35% over the past year.

* Mexico: Mexico’s All the Rights of Everybody coalition received the King of Spain Human Rights Prize yesterday.

Video Source – YouTube via AFP

Online Sources- LAHT; Reuters; GlobalPost

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Revisiting 9/11/73

Note: This article was originally posted on September 12, 2010.  We are republishing it on the eve of the fortieth anniversary of the 1973 military coup in Chile.

While most people in the States associate September 11th with the tragedies in 2001, that date has a different significance for some Chileans. On that day in 1973 the Chilean military carried out a coup d'etat against the government led by Salavdor Allende.

Over 3000 people marched in Santiago on Saturday in order to "pay homage to the victims of the military dictatorship" under Augusto Pinochet Others, however, view Pinochet's legacy in a more positive light and defended the coup. Opinions differ in Chile over whether the coup was justified but September 11,1973 was a key date in that nation's history.

"The Battle of Chile" was a critically acclaimed documentary filmed in three parts by Patricio Guzman.  Made in 1975, 1976, and 1979, the movie examined the conditions that led to the coup against Allende as well as the deep social and political divisions before and after the golpe.  

The following clip (below the page break) come from Guzman's film and shows the military onslaught against the Chilean presidential residence, the military junta's first post-coup televised address, and the start of the infamous crackdown against government dissidents. 

We will return on Wednesday with several news stories from the Americas including more on the  fortieth anniversary of the 1973 "golpe."     

Online Sources - BBC News; Press TV; NPR; Icarus Films

Video Source - YouTube via user Jose Vergara 

Daily Headlines: September 10, 2013

* Peru: A new study found that illegal mining operations in Peru have led to the toxic poisoning of indigenous communities and a “very serious public health crisis”.

* Guatemala: At least 43 people died in a bus accident that took place roughly two days after eleven people were killed in a series of gang-related attacks.

* Ecuador: Ecuador’s first satellite has officially become a piece of space junk after it was hit by a Russian rocket about a month after it was launched.

* Venezuela: Amnesty International blasted the Venezuelan government’s decision to withdraw from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights as putting “future generations of Venezuelans at risk.”

Video Source – YouTube via PBS NewsHour

Online Sources- The Guardian; Time; Al Jazeera English; GlobalPost; Mercopress

Monday, September 9, 2013

Posting on Monday

Unfortunately we will not be posting any new articles on Monday September 9th.

We hope to return on Tuesday September 10th.

We deeply apologize for this inconvenience. Thank you for your kind attention.