Friday, October 10, 2014

Daily Headlines: October 10, 2014

* Mexico: Federal authorities captured suspected Juarez drug cartel chief Vicente Carrillo Fuentes days after the detention of Hector Beltran Leyva, boss of the Beltran Leyva Cartel. 

* Bolivia: Polls indicated that Bolivian president Evo Morales is expected to easily triumph in Sunday’s general election and will be reelected to a third straight term in office.

* Venezuela: A World Bank arbitration board ruled that the Venezuelan government must pay ExxonMobil around $1.6 billion in compensation for a 2007 nationalization.

* Ecuador: Did the European Union “bully” Ecuador in order to sign on to a free trade agreement?

Video Source  – Noticieros Televisa via YouTube (Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, seen here after he was arrested on Thursday, was one of Mexico's most wanted criminals and he faced a number of charges in the U.S. including drug trafficking and money laundering).

Online Sources – CNN; The Latin Americanist; LAHT; Voice of America; teleSUR English

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Marchers Rally for Missing Mexican Students

A series of marches are taking place today in several cities to repudiate the disappearance of forty-three students in Mexico’s Guerrero state.

With the theme of “Por Ayotzinapa, tod@s a la calle” (“Everyone take to the streets for Ayotzinapa”) a coalition of civil organizations behind the rallies urged protesters to carry candles and dress in black as signs of solidarity with the recent victims  of violence in Guerrero.

An estimated 20,000 marchers have shut down one of the main highways in Guerrero as they make their way to the governor’s residence in the state capital city of Chilpancingo.  The protesters include students from the region, professors and family members of the forty-three students from a teacher training college that have been missing since the evening of September 26th. 

Scores of marchers are gathering near Mexico City’s iconic Angel of Independence monument as part of their peaceful protest today.

Other rallies took place around the world including Barcelona where some 100 people demonstrated while wore masks of the disappeared students and held signs calling for an end to perceived impunity in the investigation.  Demonstrates in Los Angeles presented a letter to the Mexican consul in that city urging officials to punish those responsible for the killings in Guerrero two weeks ago.

On September 26th, armed men from the town of Iguala fired upon some 120 students while they were riding local buses back to their school in Ayotzinapa.  Local police chased those students who were able to escape the attack and are believed to have fired at them.

“They were hitting the students as they took them. People were also scared about being shot so they gave themselves up. They thought they would just be arrested. But something else awaited them,” said Eusebio, one of the survivors of the attack in Iguala.  

Eusebio claimed that police officers and men in plainclothes with rifles ambushed them while none of the students were armed. The next day, he alleged to have encountered the faceless corpse of one of the students who was allegedly detained by the attacking mob.

Daily Headlines: October 8, 2014

* Brazil: Aécio Neves' bid to win in the upcoming presidential runoff against current leader Dilma Rousseff received a boost from several allies of defeated candidate Marina Silva.

* El Salvador: A Spanish court ruled that Spain has the jurisdiction to investigate the 1989 Jesuit Massacre of eight people in El Salvador.

* Latin America: A new World Bank report concluded that economic growth for Latin America and the Caribbean this year will be less than initially estimated.  

* Mexico: Ten Mexican states were ranked as the worst places to live in among the thirty-four member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Video Source – euronews via YouTube

Online Sources – JURIST; LAHT; World Bank; The Latin Americanist; BBC News

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Daily Headlines: October 7, 2014

* Ecuador: As many as 2500 “micro-traffickers” of drugs could be freed from prisons in Ecuador as part of a new crime law that took effect in August.

* Argentina: U.S. federal judge Thomas Griesa continues to put pressure on the Argentine government in its legal battle against paying millions of dollars to bondholders.

* Colombia: At least eleven residents of a Colombian indigenous village died due to a lighting strike yesterday.

* Haiti: Researchers examining a shipwreck near Cap-Haitien, Haiti concluded that it did not belong to the Santa Maria, one of the three vessels used by Christopher Columbus in his 1492 voyage to the Americas.

Video Source – The Washington Office on Latin America via YouTube

Online Sources – NBC News; CNN; MercoPress; The Latin Americanist; The Guardian

Monday, October 6, 2014

Daily Headlines: October 6, 2014

* Mexico: Investigators in southern Mexico are examining a mass grave that could contain the remains of some of the forty-three student protesters missing since police reportedly attacked them last month.

* Brazil: Defeated presidential candidate Marina Silva said that she will not publicly back Dilma Rousseff or Aécio Neves in an upcoming runoff to decide Brazil’s next president.

* U.S.: Will President Barack Obama’s pledge last week to push for immigration reform attract potential Latino voters to next month’s midterm elections?

* Cuba: “I’m happy I made it alive, but it was something no one should have to go through,” said one of the fifteen Cuban migrants who survived for three weeks without food or water while adrift in the Caribbean.

Video Source – euronews via YouTube

Online Sources – NBC News; Xinhua; The Latin Americanist; The Guardian; CNN

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Dilma, Marina or Aécio? (UPDATE: Neither...For Now)

About 142 million registered voters in Brazil head to the voting booths on Sunday in order to decide who could be the South American country’s next president.

Recent polls have shown that incumbent leader Dilma Rousseff is the odds-on favorite to win today’s election though she might not obtain the majority of voted to prevent a runoff on October 26th against the runner-up of today’s election. 

“We took Brazil off the U.N.’s hunger map and helped thirteen million Brazilians attend university,” tweeted Rousseff regarding public social programs under her rule. She also referred to her predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, for their efforts to push through a “peaceful social revolution” during the past twelve years.

Of the ten other presidential candidates on the ballot, former environment minister Marina Silva appeared to be Rousseff’s strongest rival.  Silva, who took over for Eduardo Campos when he died in a plane crash nearly two months ago, has positioned herself as an alternative to Brazil’s traditional politics by appealing to disenchanted youth while also promoting pro-business and socially conservative policies. 

“She’s not a messiah… she’s a human with flaws like everyone else. But she’s a person of integrity and ethics and we need that desperately,” said Camargo Cesar, the author of a biography on Silva.

A series of negative ads from the Rousseff campaign and accusations of flip-flopping have apparently affected support for Silva.  According to two polls released on Saturday, Silva is in a statistical tie for second place with senator Aécio Neves.  Neves enjoyed a recent surge in the polls as he has hammered away at several corruption scandals including alleged bribery by execs at state-run oil giant Petrobras.

“He is the most capable and knowledgeable of the three candidates – the safest pair of hands.  Dilma is just an agitator and Marina is too unreliable,” noted one Rio de Janeiro resident.