Friday, September 30, 2016

Daily Headlines: September 30, 2016

* Brazil: Children's rights groups urged the International Olympic Committee to compensate minors who they claim were victims of police violence during the Rio Olympics and the security crackdown prior to the games held in August.

* Cuba: The campaign of United States (US) presidential candidate Donald Trump is under fire over alleged secret and illicit business dealings with Cuba’s government in 1998, while the Cuban state media blasted “subversive” US-funded programs.

* United States: The OneOrlando Fund commenced distribution this week of donations to some of the families and survivors of the June 12th massacre during a Latino-themed night at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando.

* Venezuela: Representatives of thirty countries led by Paraguay at the Untied Nations Human Rights Council called for a “timely and effective dialogue” in Venezuela and advocated the freeing of all political prisoners.

YouTube Source – ITV News (Uploaded on August 2, 2016: “As battles between security forces and drugs gangs rage ahead of the Rio Olympics, innocent bystanders are getting caught in the crossfire.”)

Online Sources – BBC Sport, Newsweek, McClatchy, Latina, Reuters

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Daily Headlines: September 29, 2016

* Argentina: Nearly one in three residents in Argentina live below the poverty line according to the first data on the subject published by the government since October 2013.

* Colombia: Days after a peace accord was signed with Colombia’s largest guerilla army, the ELN rebels claimed to be ready to officially start peace talks with the government.

* Chile: “I believe that women should have legally the possibility of making their own choices,” said Chilean President Michelle Bachelet over a proposal that would relax the country’s ban on abortion under all circumstances.

* United States: A PricewaterhouseCoopers study concluded that Hispanic television viewers prefer English-language programs over those in Spanish with stronger preference in each subsequent generation for shows in English.

YouTube Source – CCTV America (New data from the Argentinian government seems to confirm the findings of a 2014 World Bank report warning that a third of the population is vulnerable of falling into poverty.)

Online Sources – Voice of America, The Latin Americanist, Deadline, BBC News, ABC News

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Daily Headlines: September 28, 2016

* Peru: Vladimiro Montesinos, the shady former Peruvian intelligence chief who was instrumental in the rise and fall of Alberto Fujimori from the presidency, was sentenced to twenty-two years in prison for the kidnapping and burning of three people.

* Panama: Panamanian officials formally sought the extradition from the United States (US) of ex-President Ricardo Martinelli who is accused of using public funds for illegal surveillance.

* Puerto Rico: US Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen warned that Puerto Rico is facing a fiscal crisis and claimed it’s up to Congress or the White House to formulate an adequate solution.

* Latin America: The Pan American Health Organization declared the Americas are free from all endemic cases of measles “after years of intense efforts to vaccinate children under the age of five.”

YouTube Source – Journeyman Pictures (Documentary from December 2003.)

Online Sources – UPI, Reuters, Voice of America

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Daily Headlines: September 27, 2016

* Colombia: “In the name of the FARC, I sincerely apologize to all the victims of the conflict for any pain we may have caused during this war,” admitted rebel commander alias Timochenko as he and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos signed a historic peace deal yesterday.

* Mexico: The Mexican peso, which has hit record lows over the last past week, has sharply rebounded following the United States (US) presidential debate on Monday night.

* Argentina: In a surprising move, former Argentina men’s national team coach Gerardo Martino was named as manager of Major League Soccer expansion club Atlanta United.

* Venezuela: According to a State Department spokesman, US Secretary of State John Kerry “spoke of our concern about the economic and political challenges that have affected millions of Venezuelans” after meeting President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela.

YouTube Source – AFP (“Colombia's leftist FARC rebel force signed a historic peace accord with the government bringing the country a step closer to ending their half-century civil war.”)

Online Sources –, Reuters, SBS, Fox News Latino

Monday, September 26, 2016

US, EU to Remove Terrorism Status from FARC?

United States (US) and European Union  (EU) diplomats have given indications that the FARC might be rescinded of its status as a terrorist group for both entities as Colombia’s president and the leader of the rebels will soon sign a historic peace agreement.

EU Special Envoy for the Peace Process in Colombia Eamon Gilmore confirmed that the bloc will soon commence actions to eliminate the status of the FARC as a terrorist organization and claimed it was an action “that had been considered for a long time.”

“The peace process is on its journey. We hope the process ends with the signing of the (peace) agreement,” affirmed Gilmore in an interview earlier to Colombian media outlet RCN.

The comprehensive pact gives the FARC a 180-day deadline to disarm and move to disarmament zones monitored by the United Nations. A judicial mechanism was established in order to place rebels on trial for crimes against humanity, torture, and rape, while the guerillas must also provide reparations to victims of an armed conflict that over a fifty-two year period claimed an estimated 260,000 lives and led to seven million displaced people.

As part of the accord, the rebels may be allowed to form their own political party, will receive aid to return into civil society, and cannot be put on trial for "political crimes". 

US Secretary of State John Kerry, meanwhile, listed numerous conditions the guerillas must meet as part of the peace deal before they’re removed from the terrorist blacklist.

Daily Headlines: September 26, 2016

* United States: The baseball world, and especially players of Cuban background, is mourning the untimely death of rising star Jose Fernandez who died at the age of 24.

* Latin America: Several recent reports concluded that the burgeoning weapons trade in Latin America “serves to both profit illicit groups and to facilitate criminal violence in the region.”

* Mexico: Jose Alfredo Lopez Guillen became the third Mexican priest kidnapped and killed in less than a week.

* South America: A small diplomatic brouhaha has developed between Bolivia and Chile after Bolivian President Evo Morales alleged that the landlocked country was being denied access to Chilean ports.

YouTube Source – Associated Press

Online Sources – InSight Crime, CBS Miami, CBC, Reuters

Friday, September 23, 2016

Daily Headlines: September 23, 2016

* United States: A new report estimated that one million Latinos are expected to be diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease by 2030, which could lead to a cash crunch for families who “are among the least resourced to deal with the financial demand Alzheimer's places on households and on family caregivers.”

* Brazil: Brazilian officials unveiled a controversial education reform that would ironically drop physical education as an obligatory subject in high school despite the national fervor caused by the recent Olympics and Paralympics competitions in Rio de Janeiro.

* Nicaragua: The Nicaraguan government strongly rejected a proposal being considered by the United States (US) Congress that would prevent the Central American country from receiving international loans unless political reforms are made.

* Cuba: Several Latin American leaders at the United Nations General Assembly including the business-friendly presidents of Mexico and Peru called for the elimination of the US trade embargo. 

YouTube Source – National Council of La Raza

Online Sources – NBC News, Xinhua, Retuers, The Miami Herald

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Daily Headlines: September 22, 2016

* Puerto Rico: An estimated 1.5 million Puerto Rican customers remain without power following a blackout that first began on Wednesday afternoon.

* Venezuela: Venezuelan electoral officials announced that the recall referendum of President Nicolas Maduro would likely be held sometime in the first three months of next year.

* Brazil: Andrew Mackenzie, the CEO of BHP Billiton, had his salary slashed in half after the mining giant suffered a massive annual loss partly due to the Samarco dam disaster in Brazil.

* Chile: Chile could become the next Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage.

YouTube Source – euronews 

Online Sources – CNN, Reuters, The Independent, Bloomberg

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Daily Headlines: September 21, 2016 (Updated)

* Brazil: A Brazilian judge determined ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will need to stand trial over allegedly accepting some $1.1 in bribes in connection to the Lava Jato corruption scandal.

Update (September 22nd): Guido Mantega, the former Finance Minister under Lula, was detained for several hours and then released on Thursday as part of the Lava Jato probe.  

* Latin America: Outgoing United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he felt “tremendous regret” over a cholera outbreak that hit Haiti, while the Venezuelan government is upset with critical remarks made by Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski at the UN General Assembly.

* United States: A new study found that the number of undocumented migrants from Mexico to the United States has dropped from a high of 6.9 million in 2007 to 5.8 million in 2014, and those from Central America have sharply increased in recent years.

* Honduras: Authorities began the transfer of thirty-seven “high-risk prisoners” including former gang leaders to a new maximum-security facility as part of planned reforms to the corrections system.

YouTube Source – AFP 

Online Sources including Update – ABC News, The Miami Herald, Reuters, InSight Crime, BBC News, Reuters

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Daily Headlines: September 20, 2016

* Mexico: A drill of Mexico City’s earthquake alert system, which was installed following a deadly 8.1-magnitude tremor in 1985, was conducted yesterday on the 31st-annoversary of the quake.

* Argentina: Argentine President Mauricio Macri affirmed his state’s sovereignty claim regarding the Falklands as “standing and non-negotiable” despite improved relations between Argentina and Britain over the disputed islands.

* Haiti: Some 130 Organization of American States observers began arriving in Haiti this week in anticipation of the controversial presidential election rerun scheduled on October 9th.

* Cuba: Iranian and Cuban officials signed several pacts in areas of health, education and science after the heads of government for both countries met in Havana.

YouTube Source – ITN Source (“Mexico City was struck by an earthquake measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale followed by an aftershock of 7.5 the next day. Thousands of people were killed with many more made homeless in the three minute quake which caused major damage.”)

Online Sources – MercoPress, Xinhua, The Guardian, Reuters, The Miami Herald

Monday, September 19, 2016

Daily Headlines: September 19, 2016

* Peru: The San Sebastian Church in Cuzco, which was built in the 16th century, was almost completely destroyed by a fire purportedly caused by a short circuit.

* Latin America: A Mexican boy’s stand at an anti-gay rights demonstration wasn’t the only image at a protest in Latin America that went viral last week.

* Venezuela: President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela said OPEC member states and non-cartel oil producing countries are “close” to agreeing to a plan to stabilize oil prices.

* Argentina: Third time could be the charm for Argentina in the Davis Cup finals after their team knocked out defending champions Great Britain in the semifinals.

YouTube Source – No Comment TV (“The historic San Sebastian church, in Cuzco, Peru has been gutted by fire. Dozens of works of art, including those by celebrated local artist Quispe Tito were destroyed in the flames.”)

Online Sources – The Washington Post, CNN, The Latin Americanist, Reuters, ESPN

Friday, September 16, 2016

Daily Headlines: September 16, 2016

* Colombia: A Colombian court found the state responsible for the murder in 1999 of Jaime Garzón, one of the country’s most acclaimed satirists in the 1990s, who was killed purportedly at the behest of paramilitary commanders.

* Peru: Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski deemed his visit to China as “a success” but his government doesn’t seem to be too pleased over the $60 billion price tag placed by Chinese officials on a proposed railway crossing South America.

* Brazil: Television actor Domingos Montagner will be buried in his native city of Sao Paulo on Saturday after he drowned while filming a scene for Brazil’s most popular telenovela.

* Mexico: “We don't have a reason to shout 'viva Mexico' ... There are thousands of injustices,” said one of the many hundreds of protestors in Mexico City who called on President Enrique Peña Nieto to resign from office.

YouTube Source – Señal Colombia 

Online Sources – Reuters, Colombia Reports, Forbes, BBC News, Peru this Week

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Daily Headlines: September 15, 2016

* Latin America: Former Guantanamo detainee Abu Wa'el Dhiab woke up from a coma following the effects of a hunger strike, while Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas said he was duped by a fake website into halting his fast.

* Mexico: Extradition hearings against imprisoned drug capo Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman are expected to start on September 26th though the process could take years to carry out.

* Venezuela: The Vatican confirmed its mediation in the tense and deep political division in Venezuela between the government and the opposition.

* Brazil: Ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva claimed he was a “victim of extremely serious illegalities” after prosecutors charged him with corruption as part of the “Lava Jato” probe.

YouTube Source – Marti Noticias (Guillermo Fariñas halted his latest hunger strike, the twenty-fifth such protest by the Cuban dissident, on Monday after more than two months).

Online Sources – ABC News, Fox News Latino, El Pais, BBC News, CNN

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Mexican Boy Blocks Anti-Gay Rights March

The actions of a child at a protest against gay rights and same sex marriage in Mexico over the weekend has reportedly become viral.

In the image, the boy stands alone in the middle of the street with his arms outstretched in front of the multitude of protesters. He seemingly halts the demonstration including the police escort ahead of it.

Nationwide marches organized by the Frente Nacional por la Familia organization were held last Saturday across Mexico including the city of Celaya in Guanajuato where local newspaper photographer Manuel Rodriguez took the photo.

The image was not placed online by the publication Rodriguez works for but instead by an online news site via their Facebook page. The snapshot included the caption “I was nauseous by the sight of so much homophobia but I’ll stick with the image of a boy 'stopping' the protesters.”

Since the photo became more widespread via social media, Rodriguez has been accused of doctoring the image for political purposes or career advancement. Both accusations have been steadfastly denied by the photog who explained to Buzzfeed Mexico how he was placed on an elevated pedestrian crossing when the child ran on to the street and the image was taken.

Daily Headlines: September 14, 2016

* Brazil: Eduardo Cunha, the former Brazilian lower house speaker who helped lead the impeachment process against recently ousted President Dilma Rousseff, was himself expelled from the Chamber of Deputies over corruption allegations.

* Latin America: According to the State Department, seventeen Latin American and Caribbean states are still deemed as “major drug transit or major illicit drug producing countries.”

* United States: A new poll taken in four key battleground states in the upcoming presidential election showed Latino voters overwhelmingly support former senator Hillary Clinton.

* Mexico: Investigators looking into the disappearance and possible massacre of forty-three trainee teachers nearly two years ago have widened their probe to focus on more police officers.

YouTube Source – Transparency International

Online Sources – The Atlantic, InSight Crime, Politico, Reuters

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Daily Headlines: September 13, 2016

* Nicaragua: A new poll published weeks before the November 6th presidential election showed that incumbent Daniel Ortega continues with a massive lead ahead of his rivals.

* Venezuela: Human rights activists claimed extrajudicial killings in Venezuela have been on the rise since a government-backed crackdown on crime began fourteen months ago.

* Brazil: A spokesman for the International Paralympic Committee claimed that more than 1.9 million tickets have been sold for the Rio Paralympics, and the 170,000 plus attendees last Sunday surpassed any single day of the recently held Olympics.

* Argentina: Former Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner received a subpoena to testify as part of a corruption probe focused on her time in office.

YouTube Source – CCTV News (From August 3, 2016: “Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega has picked his wife, Rosario Murillo, as his running mate for November's election.”)

Online Sources – teleSUR English, Voice of America, CBC News, InSight Crime