Friday, September 18, 2015

Daily Headlines: September 18, 2015

* Chile: Areas of the Chilean port city of Coquimbo were declared disaster zones after an 8.3-magnitude earthquake Wednesday night left at least eleven people dead and one million evacuated.

* Mexico: Mexican authorities announced the capture of Gildardo Lopez Astudillo, the suspected head of the Guerreros Unidos gang behind the disappearances of 43 Ayotzinapa college students one year ago this month.

* Cuba: Jose Cabanas, the head of the Cuban interests section in Washington, has been named as Cuba’s first ambassador to the U.S. since 1961.

* U.S.: The Copa America Centenario tournament is still scheduled to be played next year in the U.S. despite numerous indictments against current and former regional soccer body officials.

YouTube Source – Times of Oman (“New aerial video shows the devastation in the coastal town of Coquimbo after Chile's 8.3 earthquake.”)

Online Sources – teleSUR English, BBC News, Tico Times, The Latin Americanist, CBS News

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

De Musica Ligera: Victor Jara on Stage

This past Thursday marked the 42nd anniversary of the military coup d’├ętat in Chile that toppled the democratically elected civilian government. Whether September 13, 1973 should be a date for celebration or infamy continues to be a divisive issue for Chileans to this date. For supporters of the subsequent regime like congressman Ivan Moreira, Gen. Augusto Pinochet “saved the lives of an entire generation.” Yet detractors point to the thousands of political dissidents and activists tortured, murdered and disappeared during the twenty-seven year reign under strongman who died in 2006. One of those slain days after the coup was musician and artist Gonzalo Jara who was killed on this day in 1973.

The forty-year-old figure in the socially conscious Chilean New Song movement was kidnapped by state agents one day after the coup as and taken to a soccer stadium converted into a makeshift military prison. It is believed that intelligence chief Pedro Barrientos ordered the torture of Jara and then played Russian roulette with him. Barrios then shot Jara in the back of the head at point-blank range and ordered five soldiers to fire dozens of rounds into the body before the corpse was dumped in a Santiago street.

While Pinochet died in impunity, other military commanders have been corralled by the long of arm of the law. Barrientos died last month while serving 526 years of multiple prison terms for human rights abuses. Meanwhile the site were Jara’s bullet-ridden body was found has been transformed into a memorial with a plaque in his name as well as all “of the fallen” as a result of the military junta’s crackdown.

Below the page break is a Victor Jara concert that aired on Peruvian television some two months before his death. Aside from performing some of his music, Jara discusses his background and why he sang the type of folk songs that made him famous.

YouTube Source – chelo gonzalez

Online Sources (English) – BBC News, The New York Times, The Guardian 

Online Sources (Spanish) – La Tercera

Daily Headlines: September 16, 2015

* Mexico: Mexican foreign minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu traveled to Egypt and met with nationals injured in a deadly military strike against a tourist group, and is expected to later talk with President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

* U.S.: U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders claimed that a political action committee backing rival hopeful Hillary Clinton has tried to link him to the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.

* Chile: An estimated 70,000 passengers were affected by a 24-hour airport workers strike that grounded hundreds of domestic and international flights.

* Uruguay: The Uruguayan economy shrank for the first time since 2003 though it’s unknown if the country will fall into recession like trading partner Brazil.

YouTube Source – AFP

Online Sources – The Idaho Statesman, Christian Science Monitor, ABC Online, Bloomberg

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Daily Headlines: September 15, 2015

* Bolivia: The U.S. State Department claimed Bolivia “failed demonstrably” to combat drug trafficking even though coca leaf cultivation has fallen by over one-third since 2010.

* Puerto Rico: A group of eight Latino legislators called on Treasury secretary Jacob Lew to work with Congress and help push proposals that would allow debt-ridden Puerto Rico to declare bankruptcy.

* Brazil: The Brazilian government unveiled a $17 billion austerity plan though President Dilma Rousseff may not have sufficient political and popular support to implement the package.

* Cuba: Cuban police detained some fifty dissidents marching in Havana less than a week prior to Pope Francis’ scheduled visit to the island.

YouTube Source – wochit World (“According to a new UN report, Bolivia has reduced coca production by 34 percent in four years…(President Evo) Morales forced the DEA and USAID to leave the country in 2008 and 2013 respectively”.)

Online Sources – Voice of America, Bloomberg View, Time, The New York Times, GlobalPost

Monday, September 14, 2015

Daily Headlines: September 14, 2015

* Mexico: The Mexican government condemned the deaths of at least two nationals killed when the Egyptian military attacked a tour group allegedly mistaken for a terrorist convoy.

* Latin America: Several Latin American countries including Brazil, Venezuela and Mexico are considering following the lead of Argentina and Uruguay by welcoming refugees from war-torn Syria.

* South America: Colombia’s Foreign Ministry is expected to lodge a formal complaint over the incursion of two Venezuelan military planes into Colombian territory.

* Peru: One of Peru’s most wanted suspected drug traffickers, Gerald Oropeza Lopez, was extradited from Ecuador where he was caught after spending four months on the lam.

YouTube Source – euronews

Online Sources – The Atlantic, International Business Times, The Guardian, UPI