Friday, July 4, 2014

Injured Neymar Out of World Cup

Brazil may have gone through to the World Cup semifinals following a 2-1 win against South American neighbors Colombia, but the tournament came to an abrupt end for one of the team’s star players.

Brazilian team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar announced that Neymar would miss the rest of the World Cup after fracturing his vertebrae during a quarterfinal match on Friday.

“He will not be in condition to play, he will need a few weeks to be fit again,” said Lasmar who added that the star striker will not have to undergo surgery.

Neymar became injured when Colombia defender Juan Camilo Zúñiga kneed him in the back in the 86th minute of the match.  The 22-year-old crumpled to the ground and was carried on a stretcher off the field.  He was subsequently transported to a medical clinic in Fortaleza where Lasmar made his assessment. 

“I never had the intent of hurting the player,” said Zúñiga after the match to reporters. “On the field we have to play tough but never with the aim of injuring a player,” he added regarding the striker who scored four goals for Brazil in this World Cup.

Thiago Silva, Brazilian team captain and the scorer of his team’s first goal against Colombia, defended Zúñiga as someone who “doesn’t have any malice” when he usually plays.  He also downplayed worries that Brazil will falter in the next round against Germany due to Neymar’s absence.

“This moment could start a revolution for us.  We’ve pledged to win the Cup for Neymar…This is the moment when we have to show our strength as a team.”

Today's Video: "América the Beautiful" Revisted

Note: This post was originally published on July 4, 2013.
July 4th is Independence Day in the U.S. and in recognition of this is the video below of famed Brazilian musician Caetano Veloso performing “Soy Loco Por Ti America.”

Composed by a trio of Brazilians including Gilberto Gil, the song can be interpreted as a tune that praises America the country as well as the American continent.

Video Source – YouTube via user heinrichmanch

Online Source - The Latin Americanist

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Brazil: Deadly Overpass Collapse in Belo Horizonte

At least two fatalities have resulted from the collapse of an overpass in Belo Horizonte, a Brazilian city that has hosted several World Cup matches:

Images have shown the front of a yellow bus trapped beneath the motorway while local fire department officials claimed that there is at least one person stuck inside a vehicle pinned down underneath the structure.  Nineteen people are said to be injured due to the incident that occurred on Thursday afternoon.

"When I saw the overpass falling down, I feared the worst would happen, that the bridge would turn on top of our bus," said Renata Soares, a passenger allegedly sitting at the back of the yellow bus, to Brazilian TV. 

“The ground shook violently. I heard a very loud bang,” noted Daniel Magalhaes, another eyewitness to the accident. 

According to the Brazilian press, one of the deceased is said to be twenty-five-year-old Hana Cristina Santos who was the driver of the partially crushed bus.  Her ex-husband claimed that their five-year-old daughter was riding on the bus but escaped death and is being treated in a local hospital.

Daily Headlines: July 3, 2014

* Mexico: Approximately $9.5 billion in remittances were sent to Mexico from January to May of this year and representing nearly 8% more than the same period in 2013.

* Brazil: Authorities arrested eleven people accused of illegally selling tickets to the World Cup while a “massive cybercrime ring” may have stolen billions of dollars in Brazil.

* U.S.: The unemployment rate among Latinos rose slightly in June to 7.8%, which is 2.3% less than the rate in June 2013 yet 1.7% higher than the overall unemployment rate for last month.

* Central America: Senior Nicaraguan ruling party legislator Edwin Castro claimed that the planned interoceanic canal in that country will not “compete” with an expanded Panama Canal.

Video Source – YouTube via ExcélsiorTv

Online Sources – NBC News; La Prensa; BBC News; Fox News Latino; LAHT

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Daily Headlines: July 2, 2014

* Brazil: President Dilma Rousseff’s approval rating may be 27% less last month than in June 2013 but she may have the last laugh since she’s favored to win reelection this October.

* Latin America: Health officials warned that the mosquito-born chikungunya virus continues to sweep through the Caribbean, is spreading further into the Americas and could soon extend into Europe.

* Argentina: Latin American representatives at the Organization of American States gave their support to Argentina in its dispute with creditors who are owed billions of dollars.

* Panama: “Corruption will not be tolerated in our government,” declared new Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela in his inauguration speech on Tuesday.

Video Source – YouTube via user Newsloop Top News

Online Sources – Bloomberg; The Latin Americanist; BBC News; Bernama; GlobalPost

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Daily Headlines: July 1, 2014

* Argentina: President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is trying to survive being rocked by two major scandals involving an indictment against Vice President Amado Boudou and Argentina potentially falling into debt default.

* U.S.: Can President Barack Obama use executive orders to make more progress on major immigration reform than a deadlocked and divided Congress? 

* Mexico: Mexico’s painful elimination from the World Cup proved to be a big ratings gain for Univision and ESPN as 17 million people watched the match on Sunday between El Tri and the Netherlands.

* Guatemala: Authorities in Texas believe that a dead eleven-year-old boy recently found near the U.S.-Mexico border was an undocumented Guatemalan migrant who got lost during his trip.

Video Source – euronews via YouTube

Online Sources – CNN; ABC News; MSNBC; USA TODAY

Monday, June 30, 2014

Poll: Fewer Brazilians Support Anti-World Cup Protests

During the Confederations Cup last year, an estimated one million Brazilians participated in street protests to express their ire at government corruption and public spending for the World Cup. The possibility that these mass mobilizations would repeat during the World Cup this summer has not materialized in part due to dwindling public support.

A poll released last week found that 54% of about 3800 people nationwide in May backed anti-World Cup protests, which represents a drop from 75% in August of 2013. These percentages reflect individuals who have participated in prior marchers, were interested in taking part in the rallies and supporters of the protests.

The survey carried out by the Brazilian government SAE agency found that opposition to the protests has increased from 26% ten months ago to 46% in May.

Much like the results of a June 2013 Datafolha poll, the SAE noted that most participants in the protest movement are young adults with higher education.  Yet about 23% of respondents to the SAE poll disagreed with the reasons behind prior protests and, hence, has not taken part in recent manifestations.

Several factors could explain the decreased backing of anti-World Cup protests in Brazil.  A few of the demands made in last year’s protests, such as preventing an increase public transit fares in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, have been met.  In contrast to the largely peaceful marches last year, protests over the last few months have become more violent.  The more overtly political nature of the recent rallies has apparently turned off Brazilians who may have been interested in supporting or participating in protests this year.  The Brazilian team at the World Cup may have come within a whisker of being eliminated by Chile over the weekend but the squad has won four straight matches and is still in the hunt to win the tournament.

Daily Headlines: June 30, 2014

* Paraguay: The Red Cross warned that the flooding that has led to the evacuation of some 300,000 people in Paraguay could lead to "outbreaks of disease like dengue and chikungunya".

* Brazil: A new scientific study concluded that Indonesia has surpassed Brazil as the country with the world’s highest rate of deforestation.

* Cuba: Red Bull gives you wings…except if you travel illegally to Cuba.

* Venezuela: More than half of Venezuela including the capital city of Caracas was in the dark for several hours on Friday due to a blackout.

Video Source – BBC World via YouTube

Online Sources – Red Cross; BBC News; Reuters; Bloomberg