Friday, March 13, 2015
* Haiti: Haiti's electoral council announced the dates for legislative and municipal elections that have been delayed since 2011 due to political bickering between President Michel Martelly and the opposition.
* Brazil: The probe into a major bribery scheme at state-run oil firm Petrobras has expanded to include investigations of three former governors.
* Latin America: According to a World Bank report published this week 130 million residents in Latin America and the Caribbean live in “chronic poverty” though there are variations between countries.
* Venezuela: The European Parliament passed a resolution calling on the Venezuelan government to free opposition figures and student protesters “arbitrarily detained” in anti-government marches last year.
Video Source – YouTube use Reuters (From New Year’s Day 2015: “Thousands of Haitians protest in Port-au-Prince, marking their independence day and calling for their leader to resign.”)
Online Sources – Yahoo News; Fox News Latino; Reuters; ABC News
Thursday, March 12, 2015
Another major step was taken on the path for sainthood for the late Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero when the day of his beatification was confirmed on Wednesday.
“Monsignor Romero will be proclaimed blessed in San Salvador on May 23,” affirmed Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia at a press conference where he appeared alongside President Salvador Sanchez Ceren.
The Episcopal Conference of El Salvador announced in February that the beatification ceremony would be held at the Divino Salvador del Mundo Square in the capital city of San Salvador.
Paglia praised Romero and acknowledged his sacrifice for the people of El Salvador before he was assassinated while celebrating Mass in 1980.
“Romero from heaven has become the good and blessed shepherd, who today unites all the people of El Salvador, the people for whom he gave his own life," said the main promoter in the campaign for Romero’s sainthood. "From heaven he wants all of El Salvador to walk on the path of justice and peace,” Paglia added.
As the Archbishop of San Salvador, Romero spoke out against the brutal repression carried out by the military in the early stages of El Salvador’s brutal civil war. Despite the constant threat against his own life, he was unafraid to use the pulpit to denounce human rights abuses and tirelessly advocate for the poor. His time as Archbishop was only three years yet his humanitarianism led his followers to consider him as “St. Romero of the Americas.”
* Peru: The debate over legalizing same-sex unions turned ugly recently when an “influential” Catholic bishop used a homophobic slur against a gay legislator.
* Cuba: According to a new poll 64 percent of respondents including majorities among Democrats, Republicans and independents support eliminating the decades-long U.S. trade embargo against Cuba.
* Mexico: Ex-ambassador Eduardo Medina Mora was confirmed as the new Supreme Court chief despite questions raised over his close ties to President Enrique Peña Nieto and his alleged role in the infamous “Fast and Furious” weapons transfer program.
* Argentina: The government will reportedly build unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, for defense proposes and at a cost of about $238 million.
Video Source – YouTube user teleSUR English (“Despite opposition from within Peru's traditionally conservative society, debate and pressure are mounting, including in parliament, for recognition of civil unions.”)
Online Sources – Reuters; Fusion; Bernama; Los Angeles Times
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
* Venezuela: An irate President Nicolás Maduro said that he will lead a Venezuelan defensive military exercise this weekend in light of the diplomatic crisis between his country and the U.S.
* Brazil: The office of the comptroller general opened a case against ten construction firms connected to the scandal-ridden oil giant Petrobras.
* Guatemala: Two members of the media and local journalist rights activists were murdered in southern Guatemala.
* Colombia: President Juan Manuel Santos ordered the one-month suspension of military bombings on FARC camps in recognition of the progress made in peace talks with the government.
Video Source – YouTube user Reuters (“Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro declares support in a letter to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro following U.S. measures against Venezuela.”)
Online Sources – teleSUR English; NBC News; Reuters; BBC News; The Latin Americanist
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro urged the federal legislature to grant him decree powers in response to a new series of sanctions imposed by the White House.
In a televised speech on Tuesday night, Maduro formally requested the National Assembly to approve an Enabling Law “to defend the peace, sovereignty and full progress of Venezuela against the threat from the U.S. government.”
Maduro rejected the claim made in the executive order the U.S. President Barack Obama signed on Monday alleging that the “situation in Venezuela...constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy”.
“Nobody believes that Venezuela is a threat against (the U.S.) becuasie it is false and a lie,” Maduro declared in front of a packed congressional chamber. He said that while the Venezuela is “noble (and) pacifist” in the U.S. commentators appear on cable news channels "pretending to love democracy but approve genocide".
The White House action targeted seven current and former officials affiliated to Venezuela’s security apparatus including the director of the national police, the inspector general of the armed forces and the head of intelligence. The seven are barred from entering the U.S. and their assets are frozen after U.S. authorities accused them of human rights abuses and corruption.
* Colombia: Several thousand people in Colombia and in foreign cities participated in peace marches one day after the government and FARC rebels agreed to a landmine removal program.
* Puerto Rico: “I did not come here to put a Band-Aid on the problem,” declared Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla in a televised speech defending his controversial tax reform plan.
* Haiti: Haitian authorities reportedly pledged to increase security near Dominican consulates amid heightened political and social tensions between the neighboring countries.
* Argentina: The Argentine government called on HSBC to repatriate $3.5 billion in funds placed in offshore accounts by alleged tax evaders.
Video Source – YouTube via teleSUR English
Online Sources – VOXXI; Reuters; CCTV Americas
Monday, March 9, 2015
* Mexico: “Torture and abuse are widespread in Mexico,” according to a report that will be published today from U.N. Special Rapporteur Juan Mendez of Argentina.
* Brazil: President Dilma Rousseff urged Brazilians to back new austerity measures she claimed are needed in order to “rebalance our economy.”
* South America: Peru recalled its ambassador to Chile amid a growing scandal over Peruvian military officials supposedly paid to spy for their southern neighbor.
* Cuba: The New York Cosmos soccer squad will allegedly become the first U.S. professional sports team in sixteen years to play a game in Cuba.
Video Source – YouTube user Amnesty International (Video published in 2013).
Online Sources – teleSUR English; Reuters; The New York Times; Deutsche Welle