Friday, April 1, 2016

Daily Headlines: April 1, 2016

* Peru: The archbishop of Arequipa has come under fire after he claimed that presidential candidates Alfredo Barnechea and Veronika Mendoza should be barred from running due to their support of abortion and same-sex marriage.

* Brazil: George Hilton resigned as Brazil’s sports minister roughly four months prior to the Rio Olympics, while Cuban defector Orlando Ortega will be unable to compete at Rio due to residency issues.

* Latin America: According to the Food and Agriculture Organization an average of 348,000 tons of food are wasted each day in Latin America, which could feed some 300 million people.

* U.S.: A recent study found that Latinos in the U.S. including those who are native-born have opted to reside away from states that have enacted harsh anti-immigration measures over the past decade.

YouTube Source – Ruptly TV (Mass protests for and against the right to choose have been held in Peru over the last few months).

Online Sources –, teleSUR English, PRI, Fox News Latino, SBS

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Daily Headlines: March 31, 2016

* Mexico: A new Human Rights Watch report concluded that Mexican immigration officials broke the law as part of their push to deport thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central American states ravaged by violence.

* Brazil: Brazil may be mired in a political crisis and ongoing recession but that hasn’t stopped the Bovespa stock index and national currency to improve by around 19% and 10% this year, respectively.

* Puerto Rico: A proposal by the House Natural Resources Committee to alleviate Puerto Rico’s nearly $70 billion dollar debt has allegedly been assailed by commonwealth politicians and officials.

* Ecuador: Will WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange end his asylum later this year at the Ecuadoran embassy in London where he has been protected since 2012?

YouTube Source – AFP (Video uploaded on June 26, 2015).

Online Sources – ABC Online, CNBC, The Latin Americanist, Vocie of America, NBC News

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Daily Headlines: March 30, 2016

* Costa Rica: A Costa Rican court convicted and sentenced four men to prison sentences of between 74 and 90 years for the 2013 murder of sea turtle conservationist Jairo Mora Sandoval.

* Argentina: British Prime Minister David Cameron tried to downplay a U.N. commission decision finding that waters around the disputed Falkland Islands belong to Argentina.

* Venezuela: In the latest clash between Venezuela’s government and opposition, President Nicolás Maduro threatened with vetoing a law granting amnesty to political prisoners.

* El Salvador: Salvadoran authorities declared a state of emergency for the prison system and cracked down against inmates allied to street gangs.

YouTube Source – Vice News (Video uploaded in June 2015).

Online Sources – The Telegraph, The Guardian, Tico Times, euronews

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Ex-Minister Marina Silva Leads Poll for Brazilian President

It may be presumptuous to discuss the 2018 Brazilian presidential race amidst the current political crisis shaking up the South American state. But the growing distrust by Brazilians against their leaders seems to be reflected in the results of a recent poll.

According to a Datafolha survey conducted from March 17 to 18, a plurality of respondents opted for Marina Silva, a former senator and presidential candidate. Silva, who ran as an outsider for the Socialist Party (PSB) in 2014, received 21% backing in the poll if she were to run as an independent. Accounting for the margin of error, she would be in a statistical dead heat with 2014 presidential election runner up Aécio Neves and embattled ex-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Yet her support climbs to 24% if she were to run as representative of the conservative opposition PDSB, while backing of Lula has plummeted in light of his suspected role in the “Lava Jato” corruption scandal.  

Silva was allied to the ruling Workers Party and served as an environmental minister under Lula from 2003 to 2008. The long-time environmental activist resigned, however, amid disgust over his lack of strong conservation policies. She unsuccessfully ran for president twice including four years ago when she was succeeded Eduardo Campos after he died in a plane crash. She became among the favorites in the polls to make it to the runoff and was backed mainly by social conservatives, middle class Brazilians upset at the government led by Dilma Rousseff, and young voters people turned off by the traditional political establishment. Battling against the existing political machinery along with doubts among some in the PSB seemed to have worked against her, however, and she was trounced in the first round by Neves and eventual victor Rousseff.

Daily Headlines: March 29, 2016

* Chile: President Michelle Bachelet of Chile said her government could countersue Bolivia at the International Court of Justice regarding a dispute over water rights from the Silala River located in a border region.

* Latin America: Argentina and Uruguay’s joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup received a boost from the president of FIFA, while the ex-chief of the Honduran soccer federation pled guilty to his role in the “FIFA-gate” corruption scandal.

* Brazil: A group of Brazilian legislators called for relaxing the country’s harsh gun laws even though 60,000 homicides took place in the country in 2014.

* Puerto Rico: A U.S. federal judge sided with Wal-Mart and quashed a law that raised taxes wealthy companies paid  “on goods they buy from ‘related parties’” in debt-ridden Puerto Rico.

YouTube Source – CCTV News (“Bolivia argues it owns the Silala River and is not being compensated for Chile's use of the water. Chile argues that the water flows across their shared border and therefore it constitutes as an international river.”)

Online Sources – NPR, Fortune, Sky Sports, euronews, ABC News

Monday, March 28, 2016

Daily Headlines: March 28, 2016 (Updated)

* El Salvador: “We have ordered all of our people . . . to halt all types of homicides nationwide,” said a masked figure purportedly representing the Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio 18 gangs in a video claiming that both groups will renew an anti-murder truce.

Update: El Salvador's police chief and a spokesman for President Salvador Sánchez Cerén each rejected the possibility of negotiating with the gangs.
* U.S.: Santiago Erevia, a former U.S. Army sergeant who in 2014 received the Medal of Honor after decades of racial discrimination, passed away last week at the age of 69.

* Cuba: Ex-Cuban leader Fidel Castro blasted U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to the island last week even though Obama held multiple talks with current Fidel’s brother and current Cuban President Raul Castro.

* Mexico: Authorities have reportedly arrested a man nicknamed “King Midas” who allegedly laundered up to $400 million yearly for Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel.

YouTube Source – Vice News (Video uploaded on December 2015).

Online Sources including Update – The Toronto Star, Fox News Latino, BBC News, CNN, ABC News