Friday, June 7, 2013

Daily Headlines: June 7, 2013

* Mexico: Approximately 165 kidnap victims – mostly migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras - were freed by Mexican troops in northern Tamaulipas state.

* Guatemala: Ex-dictator Efrain Rios Montt will be retried on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity in April 2014, which is nearly a year after his original conviction was overturned.

* Cuba: 125 U.S. soldiers will be sent to serve as guards at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay where over half of the detainees have been on a hunger strike since February.

* Brazil: According to new government data green house gas emissions have decreased by 39% between 2005 and 2010 partly due to a nosedive in deforestation.

Video Source – YouTube via Univision Noticias (Tamaulipas was the same Mexican state where in 2010 the corpses of 72 migrants were found abandoned at a ranch).

Online Sources- Reuters; Hispanically Speaking News; The Latin Americanist; Nature; Military Times

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Daily Headlines: June 6, 2013

* Nicaragua: Will Saudi Arabia and Kuwait accept President Daniel Ortega’s request to help in the construction of a new canal between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans?

* Uruguay: Uruguay beat France 1-0 in an international soccer friendly held days before a “must win” World Cup qualifying match against Venezuela.

* Argentina: Congress passed a law permitting the private and public health care providers to assist the fertility treatments of adults over the age of eighteen.

* U.S.: According to a recently released study by the Immigration Policy Center, “immigration law…contains gender biases that create barriers for many women trying to gain legalization within the current immigration system.”

Video Source – YouTube via Al Jazeera English (Video uploaded in December 2012).

Online Sources- Prensa Latina; Xinhua; ABC News; Huffington Post

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Venezuela Frees, Deports U.S. "Spy" Filmmaker (Updated)

U.S. filmmaker Timothy Tracy is expected to arrive in Los Angeles later today after Venezuelan officials freed and deported him.

“The gringo Timothy Hallet Tracy, captured committing espionage in our country, has been expelled from the national territory,” tweeted Interior Minister Miguel Rodríguez Torres this morning regarding the 35-year-old.  Furthermore, Tracy’s lawyer said that his client boarded a flight from Caracas to Miami this morning and was scheduled to fly on to Los Angeles.

"He's animated… (It) all worked out well in the end " attorney Daniel Rosales told USA TODAY.  He added that Tracy was treated well during the roughly six weeks he spent behind bars.

Tracy was detained on April 24th at Caracas’ international airport, and accused of inciting post-electoral violence and conspiring against the Venezuelan government.

“We have no doubt that he is an intelligence operative based on his training.  He knows how to infiltrate, recruit others and manage security information,” Rodriguez said at a press conference the day after Tracy was arrested.

Supporters of Tracy rejected the government’s accusations and alleged that he was in Venezuela since last October working on a documentary based on the deep political divisions in the country.

"They don't have CIA in custody. They don't have a journalist in custody. They have a kid with a camera," said Aengus James, a friend and associate of Tracy shortly after he was detained.

Tracy’s arrest was also denounced by the U.S. government including President Barack Obama who said, “The idea that this individual is a spy is ridiculous.”

Daily Headlines: June 5, 2013

* El Salvador: A Salvadoran woman barred from obtaining a legal abortion survived a Caesarean section though her anencephalic baby died five hours after birth.

* Argentina: An Argentine court sided with Chevron and freed up to $19 billion in assets that were frozen as part of an environmental damages lawsuit in Ecuador.

* Mexico: An Aldo de Negris goal was enough for Mexico to earn their first victory in the CONCACAF final group for World Cup qualifying and virtually eliminate Jamaica.

* Honduras: Arrest warrant were issued against five Honduran policemen accused of killing seven gang members in a 2011 incident.

Video Source – YouTube via Al Jazeera English

Online Sources- Huffington Post; ABC News; The Latin Americanist; Fox Sports; Washington Post

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Mexico: Politician Criticized for Slurs Against Indigenous Women

On Tuesday, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said that problems in the U.S. educational system began when “mom got in the workplace.”  His comments on women and education weren’t the only recent eyebrow-raising remarks made by an official in the Americas.

Domingo Gómez Díaz, a Mexican politico from the town of Nichnamtic in Chiapas, attended a May 26th high school graduation ceremony for several hundred indigenous Tzotzil women.  Upon seeing that several of the graduates were women, Gómez Díaz reportedly took to the stage with other officials.

“It’s a shame that pregnant women should study since their only use is in the kitchen and to work in the fields,” Gómez Díaz allegedly declared in front of the crowd.  He further barred sixty-seven pregnant women who were supposed to receive their diplomas during the ceremony. 

“Equal treatment of women should exist because aside from being hardworking mothers and heads of household we decided to go to school and not continue being ignorant and illiterate.  We want to provide with all our hearts a better future for our children” read part of a letter to Chiapas governor Manuel Velasco Coello from some of the women banned from graduating.   The communiqué also accused other local politicians who along with Gómez Díaz stood opposed to their graduating.

Velasco Coello’s office replied on Tuesday by ordering that a graduation ceremony will take place for the sixty-seven pregnant women.  The governor’s message also noted that the women will receive a special recognition for “the example they provide to other women and indigenous girls.” 

Although the message did not mention Gómez Díaz by name, it did warn that “the full force of the law will be used against those” who cut the May 26th event short.

Daily Headlines: June 4, 2013

* Mexico: An unidentified government official told the Associated Press that there has been no surveillance video showing the disappearance of eleven young people missing from a Mexico City bar since May 26th.

* Latin America: Representatives of Argentina and Costa Rica, two of the countries co-sponsoring the Arms Trade Treaty, were among the sixty-six signatories yesterday to the historic international weapons pact.

* Spain: Over 50,000 Barcelona supporters gathered at the Nou Camp to welcome Brazil’s Neymar to the storied soccer club.

* U.S.: Seven members of an extended family from Guatemala died as a result of storms that tore through Mississippi over the weekend.

Video Source – YouTube via CNN

Online Sources- NBC News; Deutsche Welle;; WCVB

Monday, June 3, 2013

Death of Haitian Migrant Denounced in Dominican Republic

Immigration agents in the Dominican Republic have been accused of savagely assaulting and killing a Haitian migrant last month.

Thirty-one-year old carpenter Jean Robert Lors died in hospital on the 23rd of May, nine days after he was reportedly beaten up during an immigration raid in the Dominican Republic.

According to Meles Lors, brother of the deceased, the operation was carried out in a “violent” manner in the predawn hours.  Meles claimed that Jean Robert was beaten up by “immigration agents along with the Dominican police” using the butt of their rifles and kicking him while he lay defenseless on the ground.

“When I saw my brother on the floor all swollen with bruises I asked the agents to let me take him to the hospital.  They instead put me in handcuffs,” said Meles.

Onil Ruiz, spokesman for the Coalition of Haitian Migrants in the Dominican Republic (CHMDR), claimed that other detainees during the raid interceded and were able to convince officers to take Jean Robert to the hospital.  Doctors diagnosed Jean Robert with numerous cranial and spinal injuries before he died of a heat attack.

The tragic case of Jean Robert Lors comes days after Marlene Antoine, a Haitian woman married to a Dominican man, alleged that her son “slipped and split his head open while guards threatened” them at the Haina Detention Center.

The CHMDR have called on Dominican authorities to investigate the circumstances surrounding Lors’ death and urged the immigration officials to enforce the proper protocol during raids and repatriation of undocumented Haitians.

A representative for Amnesty International in the Dominican Republic also called on a thorough investigation:

Daily Headlines: June 3, 2013

* Chile: A judge issued an order for police to make a portrait of and look for the possible killer of famed Chilean poet Pablo Neruda who died days after a 1973 military coup.

* Venezuela: Timothy Tracy, a U.S. filmmaker detained last April and accused of spying against the Venezuelan government, was allegedly transferred to the El Rodeo prison.

* Brazil: The iconic Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro was reopened yesterday with a 2-2 tie between Brazil and England.

* Mexico: Mexican author turner peace activist Javier Sicilia praised a recent Organization of American States report on drugs as a tool that could “lead to the formulation and implementation of new drug policies”.

Video Source – YouTube via AFP (The body of famed Chilean poet Pablo Neruda was exhumed last April in order to examine if he was murdered via poison in September 1973).

Online Sources- Huffington Post; Fox News Latino; The Latin Americanist; BBC Sport; The Guardian