Friday, August 21, 2015

Remembering Daniel Rabinovich

Daniel Rabinovich, a member of Argentine comedy-musical group Les Luthiers, died on Friday after suffering from cardiac problems since approximately 2012. He was 71-years-old.

Nicknamed “Neneco” by his family and close friends, Rabinovich was one of the founders of Les Luthiers and remained with the group since its birth in 1967. For nearly four decades, Les Luthiers created 170 stage shows where they showcased their unique blend of musical knowledge and humor. Rabinovich was said to be “one of the group's most popular members, playing a variety of instruments outside of singing, including guitar, violin, bass-pipe, sousaphone, recorder and percussion”.

At times reminiscent of Tom Lehrer and on other occasions more like Victor Borge, Les Luthiers have entertained audiences worldwide. They will likely continue though the gang won’t be the same without the contributions of the late Rabinovich. He will be missed.
YouTube Sources – YotteCat and Cibertracker Imperium

Online Source (English) - Billboard

Daily Headlines: August 21, 2015 (Updated)

* El Salvador: A U.S. federal court delayed Spain’s extradition request for Col. Inocente Orlando Montano, a retired army officer allegedly involved in the 1989 massacre of five Jesuit priests in El Salvador.

* Guatemala: Former Vice President Roxana Baldetti was arrested today on charges relating to one of the corruption scandals affecting President Otto Pérez Molina’s administration.

Update: Guatemalan prosecutors and investigators on a U.N.-backed panel recommended impeachment proceedings to begin against Pérez Molina over his alleged role in the "La Linea" customs fraud scandal.

* Brazil: Brazilian prosecutors filed charges against ex-President Fernando Collor de Mello and the current Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies related to the Petrobras bribery affair.

* Puerto Rico: The head of Puerto Rico’s Chamber of Commerce claimed that a coalition of twenty private sector firms urged the U.S. Congress to allow the commonwealth to declare bankruptcy.

YouTube Source – AP Archive (“Salvadorans are commemorating the sixth anniversary (in 1995) of a massacre of Jesuit priests by members of the military”.)

Online Sources including Update – Inside Costa Rica, BBC News, The Huffington Post, The Latin Americanist, NBC News, INternational Business Times

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Daily Headlines: August 20, 2015

* Argentina: Attorneys representing the family of Alberto Nisman, a top Argentine prosecutor killed under mysterious circumstances last January, claimed that “someone” erased data from his cell phone shortly before he died.

* Venezuela: PDVSA chief Eulogio Del Pino was named as Venezuela’s new oil and mining minister amid a domestic economic crisis caused in part by the low prices of crude.

* Colombia: Colombia recently became the sixteenth Latin American country to define femicides as a specific crime but will the new law help decrease levels of violence against women?

* Brazil: Brazil’s unemployment rate rose for the seventh straight month in July and jumped from 6.9 percent in June to 7.5%.

YouTube Source – BBC News

Online Sources – Reuters, Financial Times, The Latin Americanist, Buenos Aires Herald

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Daily Headlines: August 19, 2015 (Updated)

* El Salvador: At least 28 people died during a violent 24-hour span in El Salvador according to data from the Attorney General’s office.

* Colombia: Representatives of Colombia’s FARC rebels once again expressed their willingness to meet with Pope Francis during his trip to Cuba in September.

Update: Vatican spokesman Ciro Benedettini on Wednesday said that the pope doesn't have any plans to meet with FARC envoys next month.

* Latin America: The capitals of Argentina and Chile – Buenos Aires and Santiago – were named by the Economist Intelligence Unit as the best Latin American cities to live in.

* Brazil: Former Petrobras executive Nestor Cervero was sentenced to twelve years in prison in relation to one of the corruption scandals that has hurt President Dilma Rousseff’s administration.

YouTube Source – Al Jazeera English

Online Sources including Update – Catholic News Service, CNN, Latin American Herald Tribune, The Guardian, Colombia Reports

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Guatemalan Women Go on Anti-Government Hunger Strike

The hunger strike is sometimes used as a form of protest in Latin America oftentimes to denounce government policies and actions. This year alone, former Chilean dissidents imprisoned during the Pinochet military regime went on a forty-one day hunger strike while Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez ended a 30-day fast last June. Guatemala has been no exception to this trend as two women commenced their own opposition hunger strike on August 14th.

Human rights activists Bárbara Hernández and Gabriela Flores have gone at least four days fasting to call for the resignation of scandal-plagued President Otto Pérez Molina as well as the postponement of the general election scheduled for September 6th.

“We act in solidarity with the grandfathers who have had to go with their kin to the morgue and identify their grandchildren who died in the midst of this violence caused by systemic corruption,” declared Hernández to the press last Friday as they began their protest from a tent in front of the Metropolitan Cathedral in Guatemala City.

We overflowed with anger...and we are seeking the immediate resignation of the president who symbolizes impunity,” admitted Hernández who is a member of the local Unidad de Protección a Defensoras y Defensores de Derechos Humanos de Guatemala. (Flores, meanwhile, is a representative of the Asociación de Jóvenes para el Desarrollo y Rescate Social).

Both protesters also claimed to have “strong evidence” linking the former army commander turned president to “crimes of corruption and crimes against humanity.”
They suggested that any followers or sympathizers at home and abroad should campaign human rights groups and NGOs in their respective countries to ensure the safety of the strikers.

In an interview Hernández admitted that she and her colleague decided to go on a hunger strike after the Guatemalan Congress last week refused to strip Pérez of his presidential immunity. As we mentioned last June, Pérez is facing plenty of pressure over the corruption controversies against him and his cohorts:

Daily Headlines: August 18, 2015

* Peru: Peru may have registered a 30% drop in coca cultivation over the past two years yet hundreds of coca growers accuse authorities of providing them insufficient compensation to grow other crops.

* Caribbean: Cuba’s civil defense system was placed on alert due to the effects of a year-long drought, while Puerto Rico sought U.S. Defense Department aid to combat one of the worst droughts in the island’s history.

* Ecuador: Senior disaster official Maria del Pilar Cornejo claimed that about 325,000 people living near the active Cotopaxi volcano are at risk of being hit by possible mudslides and rock flows.

* Mexico: The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights accused the Mexican government of preventing them from fully investigating the disappearances of 43 missing (and possibly murdered) students from Ayotzinapa.

YouTube Source – VICE News (“Despite the United Nations confirming in 2013 that Peru has overtaken Colombia as the world's top coca and cocaine producer, the country’s place atop the drug supply chain has — at least so far — not included the levels of violence seen in Colombia, Mexico, and other international narcotics hubs.”)

Online Sources – Reuters, ABC News, Business Insider, Fox News Latino, BBC News

Monday, August 17, 2015

Daily Headlines: August 17, 2015 (Update)

* Brazil: Hundreds of thousands of protesters marched throughout in Brazil to call for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff though the odds of her actually quitting are slim to none.

Update: A Brazilian central bank survey of economists published the day after the protests found that the country's economy is expected to contract in 2016.

* Cuba: The Defense Department is allegedly considering moving some inmates from the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba to correctional facilities in the U.S.

* U.S.: A recent study found that TV ads for junk foods like sugary drinks and candy are disproportionately targeted at African-American and Latino youth.

* Venezuela: Representatives with the Pan American Health Organization are worried over shortages of medicines to treat cancer in Venezuela.

YouTube Source – euronews (“Brazil's third "major demonstration"…of the year drew tens of thousands to Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach to call for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff.”)

Online Sources including Update – Reuters, Los Angeles Times, Voice of America, The Huffington Post