Friday, September 12, 2014

Daily Headlines: September 12, 2014

* Argentina: Argentine legislators approved a debt restructuring plan that could be at odds with a U.S. court ruling that led the country into default.

* Venezuela: President Nicolás Maduro announced a three-month extension to the closing of traffic across the Venezuelan border into Colombia during the late night hours.

* U.S.: A Floridian man was charged with allegedly helping to smuggle Yasiel Puig from Cuba in exchange of a percentage of the superstar ballplayer's Major League contract.

* Ecuador: “People are dying from bad food, not a lack of food,” said President Rafael Correa who proposed a new tax against fast food with the aim of lowering Ecuador's growing obesity rates.

Video Source - YouTube via AFP

Online Sources - Reuters; The Latin Americanist; The Globe and Mail; The Independent

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Chile Gov’t to Propose Eliminating Amnesty Law

Chile’s government will reportedly propose overturning an amnesty law protecting former senior members of the country’s authoritarian military regime.

According to the Chilean media, the plan will be presented later today on the forty-first anniversary of the military coup led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet against the democratically elected government headed by President Salvador Allende.

The amnesty law has been in the books since Pinochet decreed it nearly five years following the September 11, 1973 coup that brought him into power.  Although some judicial decisions have circumvented the law and helped convict 260 people to prison for human rights abuses, only sixty have been sentenced due to protections offered by the amnesty law.

An estimated 1300 disappearances and 30,000 tortures took place during the seventeen years under Pinochet’s rule.  Most of them are believed to have taken place prior to the now-late ruler’s 1978 amnesty decree.

“Enough with the painful waiting and unjust silence...It is time to come together for the truth,” declared President Michelle Bachelet at an event this morning to as part of the commemorations of the 1973 golpe.

“Forty-one years have passed and the survivors and victims who saved their lives…are elderly people.  Most of them have died waiting for justice while others have kept silence,” added the president who was tortured at imprisoned and tortured at the infamous Villa Grimaldi detention center in 1975 and before fleeing into exile.

Daily Headlines: September 11, 2014

* Brazil: New government data indicated that deforestation in the Amazon rainforest increased for the second consecutive year due to illegal logging and the expansion of major infrastructure projects.

* Central America: Panama’s president claimed that a major expansion of the Panama Canal is expected to be completed in December 2015 while construction of a planned interoceanic waterway in Nicaragua will reportedly commence later this year.

* U.S.: Homeland Security senior officials denied rumors of ISIS terrorists trying to cross the border from Mexico into the U.S.

* Haiti: Over one million doses of a treatment for the chikungunya virus as authorities worry that the rainy season could worsen the outbreak of the disease.

Video Source – YouTube user EarthOutreach

Online Sources – BBC News; ABC News; Inside Costa Rica; TVNZ; New York Daily News

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Daily Headlines: September 10, 2014

* Guatemala: The Guatemalan Constitutional Court recently suspended the “Monsanto Law,” which would have forced farmers to obtain permission from firms like Monsanto, DuPont or Bayer in order to grow certain crops.

* Chile: President Michelle Bachelet announced a series of legal reforms including strengthening a Pinochet-era anti-terrorism law in response to a bombing in Santiago, Chile on Monday.

* Peru: Four indigenous environmental activists were murdered in a remote area of Peru allegedly at the hands of illegal loggers.

* Haiti: At least twenty-three people died and thirty-two were injured when a bus fell into a ravine in southern Haiti yesterday.

Video Source – teleSUR English via YouTube

Online Sources –VOXXI; Fox News Latino; The Latin Americanist; Voice of America; Reuters

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Daily Headlines: September 9, 2014

* Mexico: Drought conditions on both sides of the border over the past few years could explain why Mexico allegedly owes some 380,000 acre-feet of water to the U.S.

* Latin America: A recent UNICEF report found that Latin America and the Caribbean has the worst homicide rate among children and youth, and at roughly three times the global average.

* Venezuela: Has Venezuela unofficially fallen into a recession due to a decrease of goods coming into the country?

* Honduras: According to Honduras’ human rights commissioner the number of deaths caused by firearms had more than doubled between 2005 and 2013.

Video Source – Reuters via YouTube (Areas of northern Mexico were devastated in 2011 due to the worst drought conditions in about seventy years).

Online Sources – The Washington Post; MercoPress; LAHT; Reuters

Monday, September 8, 2014

Chile: Gov’t Blames “Terrorists” for Bombing (Updated)

Chilean officials believe that an explosion in the Santiago subway system on Monday was a terrorist attack.

“This is an act that has all the hallmarks of a terrorist deed,” declared government spokesman Alvaro Elizalde regarding the incident that has left at least eight people injured including two in serious condition.

“There is no doubt. And it has been carried out with the intention of hurting innocent people,” he added.

 “I was having lunch, I felt the noise and we went out to see and we saw a lot of smoke, people running and shouting,” said Joanna Magneti, an eyewitness to the explosion that occurred at a fast food restaurant by the Military Academy metro station.

First responder Fernando Zapata told the press that among the wounded was a cleaning woman who lost several fingers due to the explosion.

Update: President Michelle Bachelet urged her countrymen to remain calm in light of the bombing on Monday.

"This is a cowardly act because it has as its objective to hurt people, create fear and even kill innocent people," said Bachelet to the press after she visited some of the injured at a Santiago medical clinic.

"We're going to use all the weight of the law, including the anti-terrorist law, because those responsible for these acts have to pay," she added.

Daily Headlines: September 8, 2014

* Argentina: Several thousand fans of Gustavo Cerati lined the streets of Buenos Aires on Friday to view the funeral procession of the late Argentine rock musician.

* Nicaragua: Officials claimed that a meteorite most likely caused a blast that left a forty foot wide crater in Managua on Saturday night.

* Chile: Police in Santiago clashed with vandals following a largely peaceful protest yesterday to commemorate the victims of human rights abuses during the regime of Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

* El Salvador: Ex-President Francisco Flores is under house arrest after he turned himself in to face corruption charges stemming from his alleged misappropriation of $15 million.

Video Source – YouTube user CadenaTres Espectáculos

Online Sources – The Telegraph; Reuters; The Latin Americanist; BBC News