Monday, August 22, 2016

Daily Headlines: August 22, 2016

* Cuba: How are Cubans trying to work around the financial and technological barriers that make it very difficult to access the Internet?

* Chile: Hundreds of thousands of Chileans marched nationwide to call for reforming the private pension system in place since the regime of then-strongman Augusto Pinochet.

* United States: A recent study concluded that Latinos age at a slower rate than other ethnic groups despite having higher cases of chronic diseases as obesity and diabetes.

* Mexico: Bad news for the Mexican economy, which suffered its first quarterly loss in approximately three years.

YouTube Source – Wall Street Journal (From August 2015: “The streets of Cuba are famous for their classic American cars and weathered buildings. Now, they are also increasingly popular with Cubans using the Internet.”)

Online Sources – Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg, Quartz, The Guardian

Friday, August 19, 2016

Daily Headlines: August 19, 2016

* Bolivia: The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization believes Bolivia is safe from food shortages despite going through one of its worst droughts in decades.

* Colombia: Polls show most Colombians would back voting in a plebiscite for a planed peace deal with the FARC though support varies from a little more than half to as high as 67%.

* Mexico: Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission accused the police of killing twenty-two people in extrajudicial executions last May and trying to cover up the murders.

* Honduras: Approximately one-third of the senior police officers in Honduras have been fired as part of a push to eliminate corruption within law enforcement.

YouTube Source – CCTV News (From March 2016: “Lake Poopo was Bolivia’s second largest. It started to dry up in late 2014, and by December last year it evaporated. Scientists said a drought linked to El Nino, as well as the diversion of rivers for mining and farming, have all played a part in Lake Poopo’s latest disappearance.”)

Online Sources – Deutsche Welle, Xinhua, BBC News, Colombia Reports

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Daily Headlines: August 18, 2016

* Haiti: The United Nations admitted to have “played a role” in a cholera outbreak that has killed at least 10,000 people in Haiti but stopped short of admitting peacekeepers caused the epidemic.

* El Salvador: The Salvadoran Supreme Court unanimously ruled to send former Colonel Guillermo Benavides to prison over civil war crimes and refused an extradition request from Spain relating to the 1989 massacre of a group of Jesuit priests.

* Venezuela: “Venezuela will represent a growing supply risk for oil markets in 2017,” concluded a recent report from Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy.

* Paraguay: Several hundred protesters participated in an anti-government march on the second anniversary of the inauguration of President Horacio Cartes.

YouTube Source – AFP (From January 2015: “Five years since the 2010 earthquake, the cholera epidemic in Haiti is still claiming lives, and there are recriminations over who was responsible for bringing it to the country.”)

Online Sources – Fox News Latino, Bloomberg, Reuters, The New York Times

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Daily Headlines: August 17, 2016

* Bolivia: Landlocked Bolivia took a big step towards being the world’s largest exporter of lithium following its first shipment of the metal to China.

* Brazil: Suspended President Dilma Rousseff proposed early elections though that may not be enough to prevent her from possibly being removed from office by the Brazilian Senate later this month.

* Puerto Rico: At least 500 passengers were evacuated from a ferry that caught fire off the Puerto Rican coast this morning.

* Nicaragua: Opposition parties have called for a boycott of Nicaragua’s upcoming presidential elections that critics claim are rigged to create a “dynastic dictatorship” for current leader Daniel Ortega.

* Mexico: Is the kidnapping of six people including the son of imprisoned capo Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman a sign of increased violence between Mexican drug gangs?

Monday, August 15, 2016

Daily Headlines: August 15, 2016

* Argentina: Human rights group the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo held their 2000th weekly march in Buenos Aires days after the United States (US) declassified hundreds of documents related to actions during the “Dirty War” era.

* Cuba: Former Cuban president Fidel Castro made a rare public appearance to celebrate his 90th birthday and also penned a letter thanking his compatriots “for the signs of respect, greetings, and gifts” he has recently received.

* Puerto Rico: The US government declared a public health emergency in Puerto Rico due to the spread of the Zika virus that has infected at least 10,000 people there.

* Guatemala: A Canadian legal aid group has called on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to probe a local mining firm accused of allegedly using legal chicanery to prevent a referendum over a Guatemalan mine.

YouTube Source – teleSUR English

Online Sources – BBC News, The Bubble, Vice News, The Toronto Star, The Atlantic

Friday, August 12, 2016

Daily Headlines: August 12, 2016

* South America: The presidents of Colombia and Venezuela agreed to a gradual and partial reopening of their shared border one year after Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro ordered the shutdown of several crossings.

* United States: A new poll of Latino voters found two-thirds of respondents prefer Hillary Clinton as the next president while 82% view Republican rival Donald Trump unfavorably.

* Haiti: A nationwide doctor’s strike that has entered its fourth month has exacerbated a public health crisis that has included a cholera epidemic and the spread of the Zika virus.

* Brazil: Brazilian energy giant Petrobras recorded its first quarterly profit in nearly a year though it was nearly one-third less than earnings in the second trimester of 2015.

YouTube Source – BBC News (From July 2016: “Colombian officials say 35,000 Venezuelans have crossed the border into their country over 12 hours to shop for basic supplies. Venezuela is suffering a severe economic crisis which has caused mass food shortages.”)

Online Sources – Bloomberg, Reuters, Fox News Latino, Humanosphere

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Daily Headlines: August 11, 2016

* Guatemala: United States (US) immigration authorities deported Santos Lopez Alonzo, a former Guatemalan solider believed to have participated in the Dos Erres massacre of at least 160 villagers in 1982. 

* Argentina: Argentinian Foreign minister Susana Malcorra admitted that her government and British diplomats plan to hold talks over oil exploration off the shore of the disputed Falkland Islands.

* Peru: A 687-mile pipeline in the Peruvian Amazon leaked for the fourth time this year and has spilled an unpublished quantity of crude oil.

* Ecuador: Ecuador will allow Swedish investigators to question Wikileaks founder Julian Assange who has been exiled at the South American country’s embassy in London since 2012.

YouTube Source – AP Archive (“In Guatemala 162 bodies discovered in a mass grave were buried Sunday in the northern region of Peten. Among the bodies, are those of 91 women and children massacred in 1982 during the dictatorship of general Efrain Rios Montt.”)

Online Sources – UPI, Reuters, MercoPress, CBS News

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Daily Headlines: August 10, 2016

* Brazil: Amid the fervor of the Rio Games, Brazil’s Senate voted in favor of holding an impeachment trial against suspended President Dilma Rousseff.

* Puerto Rico: Tourism in Puerto Rico has weakened over the past few months reportedly as a result of the Zika virus outbreak that has affected most countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

* Chile: President Michelle Bachelet in a televised address proposed reforming the private pension system created under the rule of former dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

* Venezuela: Opposition politicos are none too pleased with the Venezuelan electoral commission’s decision to likely hold a possible recall referendum against President Nicolas Maduro in 2017 instead of later this year.

YouTube Source – AFP

Online Sources – euronews, Travel Weekly, Deutsche Welle, Yahoo News

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Daily Headlines: August 9, 2016

* Nicaragua: President Daniel Ortega and First Lady Rosario Murillo are the odds-on favorites of winning in November’s elections according to a survey of 2000 likely voters.

* Ecuador: A United States court upheld a lower tribunal ruling barring the payment of an $8.6 billion environmental damages fine against Chevron to plaintiffs in Ecuador.

* Peru: Interior Minister Carlos Basombrio said prosecutors are looking into allegations of police officers running “death squads” from 2011 to 2015.

* United States: A poll of Millennials found that 89% of Latino respondents are concerned over “terrorism committed by U.S. residents inspired by group like ISIS,” while 55% are “very concerned about terrorism committed by White American citizens.”

YouTube Source – CCTV News (Earlier this month “Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega picked his wife, Rosario Murillo, as his running mate for November's election”.)

Online Sources – Yahoo News, The Washington Post, NBC News, Reuters

Monday, August 8, 2016

World Watch: Protest vs. Repression

* Ethiopia: According to Amnesty International at least ninety-seven people have died and hundreds were injured over the weekend after security agents fired against anti-government protesters in the Oromia and Amhara regions.

* Turkey: Turkish authorities detained at least ten foreign nationals as part of a crackdown after a failed July 15th coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

* Japan: Regulators in Japan raided the offices of online retail giant Amazon as part of an antitrust investigation.

* World: Oil futures closed at their highest point in two weeks as a result of speculation over an “informal” meeting next month of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries member states.

YouTube Source – France 24 English

Online Sources – UPI, CNBC, USA TODAY, The Independent

Daily Headlines: August 8, 2016

* Mexico: At least forty people died following several landslides in Puebla and Veracruz states following Tropical Storm Earl though heavy rain is expected to continue and potentially cause “life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.”

* Cuba: Cuban officials blamed the United States for a surge of nationals fleeing from the country including several hundred migrants awaiting deportation from Colombia.

* Ecuador: Maria Duarte, Ecuador's Minister of Urban Development and Housing, claimed to be “optimistic” over the rebuilding of homes destroyed in a major earthquake nearly four months ago.

* Brazil: Several upsets in tennis at the Olympics on Sunday including Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina beating Novak Djokovic, and the Colombian pair of Juan-Sebastián Cabal and Robert Farah surprising the top seed in men’s doubles.

* Bolivia: Bolivian authorities last week seized nearly eight tons of cocaine valued at around $350 million from a cargo truck.

YouTube Source – Associated Press 

Online Sources – Reuters, CNN, Business Insider, Houston Chronicle, Al Jazeera English, The Tico Times

Friday, August 5, 2016

Rio Games Crowd Shouts ”Fora Temer” (Updated)

“For better or worse, politics and the Olympics are intertwined,” was an argument we made back in 2008 during a discussion on the Tlateloco massacre prior to the 1968 Mexico City Games. That certainly has not changed at the Summer Olympics that is will be officially inaugurated tonight in Rio de Janeiro.

Acting Brazilian President Michel Temer became the first leader, acting or otherwise to skip the opening ceremonies of an Olympics since U.S. President jimmy Carter at the 1980 Winter Games. His name was not announced as tradition for the host country’s leader during the public introduction of the International Olympic Committee chief. Yet his absence did not go unnoticed by some of the thousands of spectators at the Maracana Stadium.

Update: Temer did appear at the ceremonies to officially open the Rio Games, whereupon he was soundly booed by the spectators.

“Shouts of ‘Fora Temer’ (‘Temer Out’) were heard coming from the crowd from the left of the grandstand,” reported O Globo on its website.

“Then part of the audience booed,” as if to drown out the chanters yet that led to stronger calls of “Fora Temer,” according to O Globo. The jeering would die down as the ceremonies continued with numerous performances and the parade of athletes participating at the Olympics.

Had he appeared and spoken at the opening ceremonies, organizers would have allegedly “raise the volume of the music or play sound effects” in order to cover up any booing or jeering against him.

Temer last month claimed the Rio Games would serve as “a time of international unity and national reconciliation” though that hasn’t been the case in the early goings of the event.

Several thousand protesters marched in Rio hours prior to the opening ceremonies with anti-Temer banners and chants. This rally, as seen in the video at the top of this post, caused a detour in the planned route of the Olympic torch parade.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Daily Headlines: August 4, 2016

* Colombia: The neoconservative Democratic Center political party announced their opposition to a peace plebiscite regarding the FARC even though nearly three out of four Colombians in a recent poll would vote for the “Yes” option,

* Venezuela: In what seems to be the latest concession by the Venezuelan government to the military, a general accused by the United States for drug trafficking was named as interior and justice minister for the South American state.

* Panama: The newest batch of documents uncovered via the Panama Papers leak has implicated businesses in at least fifty-two African countries including Egypt, Nigeria, and Algeria.

* Puerto Rico: Pedro Pierluisi, Puerto Rico’s lone member of Congress, suggested that genetically modified mosquitoes could be used to combat the spread of the Zika virus on the commonwealth.

YouTube Source – euronews (From June 2016: “Three years of historic peace talks between Colombian government and FARC negotiators have resulted in a ceasefire agreement.”)

Online Sources – Reuters, teleSUR English, Business Insider,, ABC News

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Daily Headlines: August 3, 2016

* Haiti: Observers from the Organization of American States will monitor Haiti’s upcoming elections but warned that more than a dozen reforms are needed for the much maligned and delayed electoral process.

* Latin America: At least six people are dead and four others are missing in the Dominican Republic following Tropical Storm Earl, which is advancing towards the Gulf coast of Mexico and Honduras.

* Guatemala: The daughter of the fifth Guatemalan journalist murdered this year was herself shot and killed though it’s unknown if the motives behind both deaths are linked.

* Venezuela: Jamaica will pay back some of its oil debt under the Petrocaribe alliance with food and medicine to a Venezuelan state mired in an economic crisis.

YouTube Source – AFP (Haiti’s presidential election was initially held nearly ten months ago but the election will be rerun this October amid deep political tension and accusations of voter fraud).

Online Sources – The Miami Herald, The Weather Channel, Bloomberg, Yahoo7 News, The Independent

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Daily Headlines: August 2, 2016

* Cuba: The Cuban government accused the U.S. State Department of attempting to rush to settle billions of dollars of claims between both countries.

* Venezuela: Electoral officials have approved the first step in a possible recall vote against President Nicolas Maduro, while Amnesty International blasted a decree that is reportedly shifting more power to the military.

* Argentina: Could the appointment of Edgardo Bauza as new coach of the Argentine men’s national soccer team lure Lionel Messi back into the fold for los albicelestes?

* Mexico: The mayor of a town in Michoacán state and four police officers were arrested and charged with the massacre of ten people purportedly in relation to the local drugs trade.

YouTube Source – Associated Press (From March 2015: “Nearly 60 years after Fidel Castro took over Cuba, American families and companies who have claims on billions worth of confiscated property are wondering if the communist government will pay up as the U.S. and Cuba restore diplomatic ties.”)

Online Sources – ESPN FC, Reuters, The Guardian, BBC News, CNN Money

Monday, August 1, 2016

Daily Headlines: August 1, 2016

* Poland: Pope Francis spent several days in Poland that included a visit to the former Nazi death camp at Auschwitz and also declaring Panama as the site of the next World Youth Day.

* Puerto Rico: Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla signed into a law a proposal allowing municipalities to share administrative services in order to cut costs at the heavily indebted commonwealth.

* Nicaragua: Nicaraguan electoral officials unseated twenty-eight opposition members of the federal legislature in a move critics view as consolidating the power of President Daniel Ortega.

* Cuba: JetBlue could become the first air carrier to regular schedule commercial flights to Cuba but the move first requires permission from the island’s government.

YouTube Source – France 24 English 

Online Sources – Refinery29, NPR, Vatican Radio, Business Insider, Yahoo7 News