Friday, March 6, 2015

Daily Headlines: March 6, 2015

* Argentina: An independent forensics team hired by the family of the late prosecutor Alberto Nisman concluded that he was killed and did not commit suicide as official investigators initially believed.

* Uruguay: Recently inaugurated president Tabaré Vázquez will continue the marijuana legalization program backed by his predecessor, José Mujica, and critiqued by the U.N.’s counternarcotics agency.

* Honduras: Archeologists reportedly located a “lost city” in the Honduran rainforest that belonged to a “vanished ancient civilization.”

* Caribbean: The CARICOM bloc of Caribbean states expressed their “grave concern” over “a number of recent developments grievously affecting Dominicans of Haitian descent and Haitian migrants in the Dominican Republic.”

Video Source – YouTube user France 24 English

Online Sources – NPR; CNN; Bloomberg; Fox News Latino

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Daily Headlines: March 5, 2015

* Guatemala: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden met with three Central American presidents in Guatemala to reportedly discuss issues like immigration, regional security and economic opportunities.

* Bolivia: Former Bolivian national police chief Gen. Oscar Nina was arrested and charged with illicit enrichment from drug trafficking.

* Argentina: Investigators appealed a court decision to throw out a probe against President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner for allegedly covering up Iran’s role in the 1994 AMIA bombing.

* Uruguay: The U.N.’s counternarcotics agency once again criticized the Uruguayan marijuana legalization plan for potentially breaking international treaties.

Video Source – YouTube user AFP

Online Sources –The Guardian; UPI; BBC News; The Tico Times

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Daily Headlines: March 4, 2015

* Mexico: Mexican authorities purportedly detained alleged Zetas chief Omar Trevino Morales, which marks the second time in less than a week that officials nabbed a suspected drug cartel leader.

* El Salvador: Defense consultancy firm IHS Jane's warned that the delayed publication of last Sunday’s local election results in El Salvador could increase already heightened political tensions.

* Brazil: Brazilian prosecutors will expand their probe of a major bribery scandal involving oil company Petrobras by opening investigations into fifty-four politicians.

* Argentina: Britain’s Foreign Office is none too pleased that Argentina will print new currency bills containing images of the disputed Falkland Islands.

Video Source – YouTube user Univision Noticias (Mexican officials claimed that suspected Zetas leader Omar Trevino Morales was captured on Wednesday morning).

Online Sources – MercoPress; Bloomberg; CNN; IHS Jane's

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Daily Headlines: March 3, 2015

* Chile: More than 3000 people have been evacuated in parts of southern Chile after the Villarica volcano erupted prior to sunrise this morning.

* Mexico: A spokesman for the families of the 43 Ayotzinapa students missing since September criticized the recent resignation of Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam. (Note: first link is in Spanish).
* Cuba: U.S. President Barack Obama expressed his hope that an American embassy can soon be opened in Cuba yet admitted that “there’s a lot of work that still has to be done” to fully normalize bilateral relations.

* Peru: Hundreds of people held a vigil in Lima calling for the legalization of same-sex unions and greater rights for the LGBT community.

Video Source – YouTube user Sky News

Online Sources – Quartz; teleSUR English; The Guardian; Fusion; Univision Noticias

Monday, March 2, 2015

Daily Headlines: March 2, 2015

* Uruguay: Tabaré Vázquez returned to the Uruguay presidency as the successor to José Mujica, the leader who helped legalize marijuana, decriminalize abortion and accept refugees from Syria.

* U.S.: Cuban-born Latin American baseball pioneer Orestes “Minnie” Minoso died on Sunday purportedly at the age off ninety.

* Brazil: In another negative sign for Brazil’s economy, financial analysts cited by the central bank predicted that the gross domestic product will decrease while inflation will grow.

* Chile: President Michelle Bachelet visited Valentina Maureira, a 14-year-old girl hospitalized with cystic fibrosis whose plea for euthanasia was rejected by the Chilean government.

Video Source – YouTube via euronews (“Uruguay has sworn in Tabare Vazquez as President replacing one leftist leader with another.”)

Online Sources – CNN; Fox News Latino; MercoPress; Bloomberg

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Weekender: Militias of Michoacán

“The Weekender” is our new feature where every weekend we hope to highlight a short film, movie or documentary pertaining to the Americas.

In the early morning hours of February 27th Mexican authorities captured the country’s most wanted criminals: Knights Templar drug gang chief Servando “La Tuta” Gomez. The former teacher turned drug capo led a cartel that served as the de facto rulers of Michoacán state by bribing politicians, intimidating business leaders and ruthlessly eradicating any perceived enemies. The turning point started in early 2013 with the emergence of armed “self defense” groups of local residents allied with rival criminals. The vigilantes helped break up the power held by the Knights Templar though it remains to be seen what role they will take following Gomez’s arrest. Will they incorporate themselves to the government’s rural police force, continue their armed fight against the remnants of the Knights or succumb due to infighting amongst their leaders?

Below the page break is a VICE News video made about one year ago that looked at the rise of “La Tuta” and the Knights Templar, the group’s effects on Michoacán communities and the challenges faced by the “self defense” groups. (Perhaps it’s worth noting that even though the government legalized the vigilantes after the video was published, tensions continue between the federal law enforcement authorities and the local militias).