Friday, May 1, 2015
* Cuba: “We will only advance toward the normalization of bilateral relations (with the U.S.) on a basis of respect for the sovereignty…which includes the lifting of the blockade,” declared the lone speaker at Cuba’s annual May Day parade today.
* Venezuela: Ex-Brazilian President Henrique Cardoso, former Mexican leader Felipe Calderon and 24 other heads of state signed an open letter to the Venezuelan government urging the release of imprisoned opposition activists.
* Nicaragua: Lawmakers in Nicaragua approved a proposal that would allow Russia to build satellite bases on the Central American country.
* Brazil: Police in Curitiba have clashed twice with teachers protesting a planned reform to the pension and retirement system of public employees.
YouTube Source – teleSUR (Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro joined Cuban leader Raul Castro and thousands of other attendees at the annual May Day parade in Havana on Friday.)
Online Sources – Bernama, Yahoo! News, BBC News, Fox News Latino
Thursday, April 30, 2015
* Puerto Rico: Puerto Rican legislators rejected a $2.9 billion tax plan that supporters claimed would have helped ease the commonwealth’s debt crises.
* Brazil: “No, I'm not going to be executed, I'm going to Brazil in a year's time,” was allegedly said by death row convict and possible schizophrenic Rodrigo Gularte shortly before he was killed by a firing squad in Indonesia on Tuesday.
* Argentina: Families of the 85 victims of the controversial AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires twenty-one years ago could soon receive a “one-time” financial compensation.
* Guatemala: An estimated 15,000 protesters recently called on the resignations of Guatemala’s president and vice president amid a growing corruption scandal potentially involving senior members of government.
YouTube Source – TIME (Video uploaded in March 2014).
Online Sources – Bloomberg, BBC News, The Guardian, The Latin Americanist, Global Voices Online
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
* Mexico: A Pew Research Center study found that increased deportations from Mexico and declining homicide rates in Central America could be behind the reported drop in unaccompanied child migrants entering the U.S. since last October.
* Venezuela: Vice President Jorge Arreaza announced that the workday for Venezuelan public employees would be shortened as part of a nationwide electricity-rationing plan.
* Ecuador: Ecuador could soon become the latest Latin American country to recognize same-sex civil unions.
* Panama: New research suggests that the isthmus of Panama was first formed twenty million years ago, not between three and four million years as scientists generally believe.
YouTube Source – Vox (Video uploaded in July 2014).
Online Sources – UPI, BBC News, teleSUR English, Pew Research Center
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Indonesian authorities today executed eight convicted drug smugglers including Rodrigo Gularte of Brazil despite an outcry from international governments and human rights groups.
The 42-year-old was shot by a firing squad at around midnight local time along with seven other convicts from Nigeria, Australia, Brazil and Indonesia. A Philippine woman was reportedly the only inmate spared from the execution that was scheduled last Saturday and confirmed by prison officials earlier today.
Gularte was one of three men detained in July 2004 at a Jakarta airport with approximately thirteen pounds of cocaine hidden inside of surfboards. He took the blame for the incident and was subsequently sentenced to death while his companions were let free.
Angelita Muxfeldt, Gularte’s cousin, believe that his mental state has been hammered by drug addiction and depression. She feels criminals exploited this and led him to commit what she called “his biggest mistake.”
Gularte was in a weakened state of health in the days leading to his execution while a last-minute appeal from Gularte’s lawyers was rebuffed. Attorneys argued in 2014 that their client suffered from schizophrenia and were hoping that his sentence would be commuted since its illegal to apply the depth penalty to prisoners with mental disorders in Indonesia. Meanwhile, an evaluation in March requested by Indonesia's prosecutor-general has purportedly not been released.
“The Brazilian is in a very deteriorated psychiatric state. He keeps affirming that it will not happen. At the same time he asks for the procedures to be sped up, that everything happens quickly,” said an anonymous Brazilian diplomatic official.
* Uruguay: Six former Guantanamo detainees could have their public assistance withdrawn as a result of a rift between them and the Uruguayan government.
* Peru: A recent report found that more than five million international tourists traveled to the Peruvian capital of Lima in 2014 and this made it the most visited Latin American city last year.
* Colombia: The alleged recruitment of underage girls for the fugitive leader of the Urabeños criminal organization has highlighted the “ongoing child sexual exploitation in Colombia's gang culture.”
* Puerto Rico: Puerto Rico’s debt woes continue to worsen, which increases the odds of a government default in a few months time.
YouTube Source – AFP
Online Sources – ABC News, Reuters, Peru this Week, Bloomberg
Monday, April 27, 2015
* Brazil: Petrobras reported a $16.8 billion write-down and an approximately $8 billion loss in 2014 that wiped out profit made by the state-run oil company in its previous four years.
* Argentina: Visiting Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner signed numerous agreements with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin as part of an “all encompassing strategic partnership” between both countries.
* Bolivia: Bolivia has reportedly become the country with the greatest number of dinosaur footprints with more than 10,000 of them found in the landlocked nation.
* Venezuela: Antonio Ledezma, the former Caracas mayor detained on charges of allegedly plotting a coup against President Nicolás Maduro, successfully underwent a hernia surgery yesterday.
YouTube Source – France 24 English
Online Sources – Fortune, Fox News Latino, MercoPress, Rappler