Sources- lyrics007.com, BBC News, Bloomberg, YouTube
Friday, April 18, 2008
Garcia Torres said…that paramilitarism penetrated as far as the office of the Chief Prosecutor…and also that former Environment Minster Sandra Suarez Perez was possibly “a former collaborator with paramilitaries.”
He also assured that there was paramilitary infiltration in the National Civil Registry…in the Departments of Interior, Foreign Relations, Agriculture, Environment, Communications, and Transportation…and in the Navy and Colombian Embassy in Panama. [Ed. – personal translation]
The Supreme Court recently opened preliminary investigations against four senators with supposed links to paramilitaries, while seven soldiers were arrested Wednesday after being accused of assisting with paramilitary drug smuggling operations.
Update: Now we can add the president of the Colombian Senate to the list of politicians being investigated for possible links to paramilitaries.
Sources (English)- International Herald Tribune
Sources (Spanish)- El Tiempo, Caracol Radio
Judge Estrella Perez officiated the civil union between Adrian Figuera, 38, and actor and theater director Juan Carlos Moretti, 67, in a courtroom before a small group of friends and family, as witnessed by an AFP reporter.
Moretti later told AFP that after living together for 14 years, he and Figuera thought their marriage was "a matter of justice and a step forward for Uruguayan society."
The head of LGBT affairs for the Mercosur bloc said that allowing gay civil unions is a positive step yet noted that “this doesn’t mean that homophobia and discrimination will suddenly disappear.”
Sources (English)- AFP, Yahoo! News, The Latin Americanist,
Sources (Spanish)- Observa
"What Chavez will do is give us an international forum," Mr. Nelson said. "We're fighting big oil. We have two pipelines going through that [are] going to bring $47-billion a year in crude oil sales to the U.S., and we're saying the [federal] government is not sitting down with us. They're not following the law. The Supreme Court has made dozens of decisions on this - on the duty to consult and accommodate - and they haven't done that."
Source : The Angry Indian
The proposed law would simply remove any distinction of sex from existing provisions that allow Brazilians to sponsor foreign partners. In reality, Brazil is already one of two-dozen countries that already allow gay citizens to sponsor foreign partners for residence, but that right is based entirely on vulnerable judge-made law.
Source : Blabbeando
* Caribbean: Rest in piece Aimé Césaire; the Martinique poet who promoted black cultural identity died yesterday at the age of 94.
* Brazil: Could the recent discovery of a “major oil field” be a boon for the country’s economy?
* Chile: The former chief of the country’s secret police force was sentenced to 15 years in jail over a “Dirty War” disappearance.
Sources- BBC News, Associated Press, The Latin Americanist, International Herald Tribune,
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Sources- Wikipedia, YouTube
“I believe that Raul Castro will continue in, many ways, the cause of his brother, but I do believe that there will be changes. I believe that both the Americans and Latin America should respond and help facilitate that change,” Gorbachev said during a speech at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
Gorbachev advocated dropping the U.S. embargo against Cuba and added that “it was a mistake to demonize Fidel Castro.”
Coincidentally, a March editorial in Canada’s National Post compared Raul Castro to Gorbachev by claiming that the Cuban leader will “preside cluelessly over its collapse.”
Sources- PBS, AHN, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, National Post, The Latin Americanist
Image- Palm Beach Post
Food riots also underlined the need for an agreement in the so-called Doha round of global trade negotiations, Lula said. Rich countries need to reduce farms subsidies and trade barriers to allow poor countries to generate income with food exports, Lula said on Wednesday…
Either the world solves the unfair trade system, or "every time there's unrest like in Haiti, we adopt emergency measures and send a little bit of food to temporarily ease hunger."
If Europe doesn't open its market to farm imports, "someone will have to assume the historic responsibility," Lula warned.
Sources- BBC News, Reuters UK, MSNBC
Image- BBC News
As the Pope leads mass today in Washington D.C., the Baltimore Sun has a story about an increase in Hispanic Catholics has molded the current Catholic church in the United States.
One-third of Catholics are Hispanic, the Sun reports, many of whom are under 40.
Many say the flow of Hispanics has been good for the church, perhaps filling a void from others falling away from the church.
The feature zeroes in on a Catholic church in Baltimore experiencing a new Hispanic wave.
Source and Photo: Baltimore Sun
Apologies for the tardy posting!
The Huffington Post writes today about the Bush administration and Colombia tying Chavez to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
The latest proof, HuffPost says, is resurrected from the border dispute in March when Colombian troops recovered laptops and documents after attacking the FARC across the Ecuador border.
The Bush administration now wonders whether Venezuela should go on a list of "state sponsors of terrorism," implying economic sanctions.
HuffPost concludes that no one else in the region backs the Chavez-FARC ties.
Source: Huff Post
* Peru: The country’s Supreme Court upheld a six-year jail sentence against former president Alberto Fujimori while he continues to stand trial for human rights abuses.
* Bolivia: Ex-president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada is being sued in a U.S. federal court over deaths caused during protests in 2003.
* Chile: The country’s education minister was booted from her post due to alleged accounting irregularities.
Sources- Associated Press, The Latin Americanist, Guardian UK, CNN, MSNBC
Image- Christian Science Monitor
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
This hasn’t been the first time that “The Simpsons” has previously upset others in the region:
- “Complaints from viewers” led Venezuela’s Televen network to replace “The Simpsons” from the 11am slot with “Baywatch.”
- In 2002, the Rio de Janeiro tourist board threatened to sue producers over an episode where the Simpsons visit Brazil.
- A group of fans boycotted last year’s Simpsons movie over the decision to abruptly change the Spanish-language voice actors.
Sources- Variety, YouTube, Reuters, Guardian UK, Latina Viva
Two Cubans have been detained by immigration authorities for heading the “ill-fated migrant smuggling mission” Manuel was on. According to one source, a pair of survivors blamed a Miami-based record label for trying to deceive Manuel:
(Alejandro "DJ Jerry" Rodriguez Lopez) said he and his friends were intrigued by fame and fortune.
"We were told we would be millionaires in two months," Rodriguez said. "They said we would be signed for about $25,000 each on arrival. I thought I would send my father $20,000 so he could build a palace in Cuba. That kind of money lasts forever here."
Elvis Manuel's mother, who also survived the voyage, said her son and his friends were "brainwashed" by tales of success across the Florida Straits. Nodarse, who managed her son's career, decided to make the journey with him.
"They filled his head with lies and promises," she said.
Executives at Millennium Records Entertainment Corp. have denied the accusations against them.
Sources- MSNBC, UPI, miamiherald.com, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, HeraldTribune.com
Image- South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Violent criminal activity fueled by a war between criminal organizations struggling for control of the lucrative narcotics trade continues along the U.S.-Mexico border. Attacks are aimed primarily at members of drug trafficking organizations, Mexican police forces, criminal justice officials, and journalists…
U.S. citizens are urged to be especially alert to safety and security concerns when visiting the border region. While Mexican citizens overwhelmingly are the victims of these crimes, this uncertain security situation poses risks for U.S. citizens as well.
Sources- Newsweek, State Department, UPI, The Latin Americanist
Image- BBC News
At 8:10 this morning, the FBI continued it's witch hunt by approaching Tania Delgado Soto as she left her home in Rio Piedras.
In both cases the FBI left when the individuals asserted their legal right not to speak to agents without a warrant and without legal counsel.
These very recent examples of the continued harassment of Puerto Rican activist demonstrates just how the U.S. federal government operates with regards to the Puerto Rican people and those determined to fight for the island's sovereignty. People are reminded that they have no legal responsibility to speak to federal agents, that when they are approached they should seek legal counsel, and report all incidents of harassment so that the Feds know that they are being watched.
Update: the count of people being harassed by armed FBI agents on the island is now up to 4 and there may possibly be an arrest. Still waiting for confirmation on that last part.
Gracias to Jo Boriken for the information.
“We are going to make it so that the strength of South America is born of the union of our peoples,” the minister told the press Monday evening.The defense council would promote joint military trainings and defense bases, and “military industrial integration” in order to “ensure the supply of the necessary elements for defense,” the minister clarified.
“It is impossible to talk about problems in isolated form; we should resolve the problems in conjunction and in unity," Jobim articulated, assuring that any problem affecting one South American country affects the whole region.
This is probably exact what the U.S. government is afraid of.
Sources : The Angry Indian and Venezuela Analysis
* Colombia: Thousands of people left their homes after the Nevado del Huila volcano erupted yesterday.
* Peru: The country’s economy grew by 11.9%, the largest monthly increase in thirteen years.
Sources- Reuters, MSNBC, CNN, The Latin Americanist
Image- MSNBC (“The Nevado del Huila volcano is seen in the southwestern state of Huila, Colombia, in this Thursday, Feb. 22, 2007 file photo.”)
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
The crisis among Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela may have ended last month, but a new column resuscitates it to argue that Chavez is a toxic threat.
Lawrence J. Hass, vice president of the Committee on the Present Danger, writes in the Duluth News Tribune that Chavez and his "axis of unity" with Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are an "ingredient to the toxic stew" thwarting international peace.
Hass connects Chavez to Iran to Hezbollah to illustrate dangerous connections and challenges that Chavez poses to the international community.
Read the article here.
Source: Duluth News Tribune
The Cancun meeting has a "reform agenda" discussing free market policies with an emphasis on "supporting the productive sector rather than focusing on ideologies," said Emilio Lozoya Austin, a Forum Leadership Fellow.
Latin America's economy has grown during the last few years, but some worry that this growth will ebb as the U.S. economy slows.
Read the Forbes article here.
Yesterday, the Friends of Eric Volz blog released a brief video of an imprisoned Volz which he supposedly took secretly in January 2007. In the clip, he talks about his time in jail and thanks his supporters for sticking by him.
Sources- The Latin Americanist, YouTube, MSNBC, NPR, Friends of Eric Volz
* According to NME.com, a Chilean TV station recently aired footage of a group of emos being attacked by skinheads.
* Several Peruvian bloggers have observed how the media tends to look down on emos including a “sketch of false cases” for a comedy program.
* A fifteen-year-old student was attacked and stabbed by a pair of his schoolmates in Bogota, Colombia. According to the mother of the victim, he was assaulted for being an emo:
“He dressed and had hair just like an emo. They said that he should stop being a chicken and fight like a man. But he always said that he wasn’t interested in arguing.” - [ed. Personal translation]
Sources (Spanish)- El Tiempo
Sources (English)- The Latin Americanist, Global Voices Online, NME.com
Image- USA TODAY (“Jose Luis Caballero, a 21-year-old self-described "Emo," hangs out in the Insurgentes Traffic Circle in Mexico City on April 7. Caballero said he has been threatened recently amid frictions between Mexico's multiplying youth movements.”)
In his riveting volume In Sickness and In Power, former Foreign Secretary and medic David Owen reviews the health and medication of leaders over the last century. The chapter on Kennedy is jaw-dropping.
Owen starts by convincingly asserting that Kennedy was much sicker than is commonly appreciated and certainly much sicker than was appreciated at the time. His Addison's disease was very debilitating and needed constant attention.
And there were other health troubles. During the Bay of Pigs fiasco Owen writes that Kennedy had:
“Constant and acute diarrhea and a recurrence of his urinary tract infection.”
The review of the book adds that JFK was “back on an even keel” by the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
(Hat tip: Wonkette).
Sources- Wonkette, Times Online, BBC News, National Security Archive
Image- History Channel UK
* Latin America: Liar, liar pants on fire for a former Lonely Planet travel writer who confessed to not visiting several Latin American countries he wrote about.
* Peru: Over 40,000 artifacts were taken from Machu Picchu by Yale University almost a century ago and should be returned, according to Peruvian officials.
* Chile: Chilean and Chinese officials called for stronger bilateral economic and trade links as President Michelle Bachelet visited Beijing.
Sources- BBC News, Associated Press, Guardian UK, Reuters, Xinhua
Image- tampabay.com (“Rufina Hernandez of Clearwater prays…during a charismatic prayer group at Incarnation Catholic Church.”)
Monday, April 14, 2008
Since we’re in a celebratory mood, here’s the music video for a pretty catchy song- “Complemento” by Arteciopelados:
Sources- YouTube, The Latin Americanist
Critics of Calderon - like Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador- have warned that the president’s plan will lead to a full privatization of PEMEX:
Mexico's Constitution bans most private and foreign involvement in the industry, although Pemex subcontracts some work to private firms. The bill would allow Pemex to pay bonuses to private companies but not a share of the oil profits.
Lopez Obrador said the bill aims to privatize Pemex, allowing Mexico's oil revenues — which now account for nearly 40 percent of the national budget — to go to private and foreign companies.
He urged his followers to go house by house and neighborhood by neighborhood to educate Mexicans about "the grave consequences" of the bill.
Sources- Reuters, Associated Press, The Latin Americanist, Guardian UK
In the meantime, international organizations worry that rising food prices around the world could lead to more situations like those in Haiti:
The president of the World Bank on Sunday announced an additional US$10 million (euro6.3 million) in aid to Haiti for feeding programs. Robert Zoellick said the ouster of Haiti's prime minister after a wave of rioting and looting over food prices underscores the importance of quick international action.
The chief of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, also sounded the alarm on food prices, warning that progress on development can be destroyed by spiraling food costs, which can lead to starvation and shake the stability of governments.
Sources- The Latin Americanist, Associated Press, Reuters UK, New York Times, Christian Science Monitor
Image- The Independent
Puerto Rican poet and writer, Piri Thomas, best known for his depiction of barrio survival in Down These Mean Streets, suffered a stroke.
The 79 year old author is recovering in his now home of California.
Another blogger writes on how well-wishers can communicate with Thomas:
If you want to send Piri Thomas a get well message please email us at CapicuPoetry@gmail.com or call our community hotline (208) 723-5966 and we will compile these in a transcript and audio CD that will go directly to Piri, so that collectively we can raise his spirits and lend him our strength to survive this ordeal.
Get well soon, Piri!
Sources- Vivirlatino, Sofrito for Your Soul
Image- Boys Club of New York
* U.S.: Apparently, Alberto Gonzales is still on the unemployment line.
* Central America: Fewer Central Americans have migrated to the U.S., according to the Border Patrol.
Sources- The Latin Americanist, BBC News, The Hill, The Nation, Associated Press, UPI
Image- Los Angeles Times