Tag Archive | "bolivia"

Latin America News Roundup: 16th April 2014


The fire in Valparaíso has killed 12 and destroyed 2,000 homes. (photo: AFP/Martin Bernetti/Télam/lz)

The fire in Valparaíso has killed 12 and destroyed 2,000 homes. (photo: AFP/Martin Bernetti/Télam/lz)

Chile – President Announces Benefits for Fire Victims: President Michelle Bachelet announced that the government is preparing a special one-off payment for victims of the recent Valparaíso fire. “We will announce the amount later, because we’re working on it, but it’s a resource for people to be able to buy the basic, essential things they need,” she said on a radio interview, and she highlighted there are already two payments available to people who lost their possessions to the fire, ranging from US$216 to US$300. Also today, Interior Minister Rodrigo Penailillo gave the latest figures regarding the fire, which indicate that an estimated 12,500 people have been affected by it, with 2,900 homes “completely destroyed”. Chilean authorities expect to fully control the fire today.

Venezuela – Opposition to Join ‘National Pacification Plan’: As a result of the second round of dialogue between the government and the opposition, the Mesa de Unión Democrática (MUD) alliance agreed to joining the ‘National Pacification Plan’ launched by president Nicolás Maduro. MUD’s Secretary General, Ramón Guillermo Aveledo, stated that the opposition is willing “to participate in the national plans of protection and promotion of safety and peace,” and that they will focus their participation on developing policies to curb insecurity, “so we can enrich that plan.” During the meeting, it was also agreed that the parliamentary opposition will take part in the nomination committees for the electoral and judicial powers, something they had previously refused to do. The government, in turn, agreed to including personalities from outside the legislative power to the Truth Commission that will investigate the violence that left 41 people dead and hundreds wounded over the last two months, as requested by the opposition.

Talking about the process, vice-president Jorge Arreaza said that “the meeting is never without tension, it was carried out in good terms, with tolerance, we listened to each other, respected each other’s rights. We’re moving forward.” He also confirmed that the dialogue will continue next week.

President Evo Morales at The Hague (photo courtesy of Bolivian government)

President Evo Morales at The Hague (photo courtesy of Bolivian government)

Bolivia – President Travels to The Hague over Access to the Sea: President Evo Morales presented documentation supporting his country’s claim against Chile over access to the Pacific Ocean before the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The documentation, called ‘Maritime Memory’, was presented yesterday by Morales and Foreign Affairs Minister David Choquehuanca, two days before the deadline set by the ICJ. Now Chile has until 18th February 2015 to respond to the Bolivian presentation. In a press conference from The Hague, president Morales indicated he is “optimistic” about the outcome of the claim. “Bolivia has placed a lot of trust and hope in the ICJ to bring justice to Bolivians,” he said. The Chilean government, through Foreign Affairs Minister Heraldo Muñoz, criticised the presentation, saying it “lacks a legal foundation and it reverts a  debate which was constructive and conducive to generating mutual trust.” The claim was lodged before the ICJ in 2013, and it seeks to force Chile to negotiate a solution to the conflict which dates back to the War of the Pacific in 1897, and which saw Bolivia lose 120,000 km2 of its territory, including access to the sea.

Posted in News From Latin America, Round Ups Latin AmericaComments (0)

Latin America News Roundup: 9th April 2014


Ramiro Hernández Llanas (photo: Texas Department of Criminal Justice)

Ramiro Hernández Llanas (photo: Texas Department of Criminal Justice)

Mexican Citizen to be Executed in the US: Despite objections from human rights organisations, Mexican national Ramiro Hernández Llanas will be executed today at 6pm (local time) in the US state of Texas. Hernández Llanas’ legal team has exhausted all legal avenues to stop the execution, and are now appealing to governor Rick Perry to use his power of reprieve. According to Amnesty International, “the state has relied upon racial stereotyping and the views of discredited ‘expertise’ to secure this death sentence.” Hernández Llanas’ defence, as well as Amnesty, have claimed that their client is mentally disabled, having endured a childhood “of abuses and extreme poverty in Mexico.” With an IQ of between 50 and 60, Hernández Llanas “suffers from severe adaptive functioning deficits across a range of skill areas including linguistic, academic, conceptual, social, work and domestic,” according to an Amnesty report. They have also questioned the late notice given to Mexican consular authorities regarding his detention, effectively denying him the consular protection to which he was entitled. A 2004 ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the ‘Avena case’ obliged the US to review the cases of at least 51 Mexican nationals imprisoned in the country who had been denied their right to consular assistance, including that of Hernández Llanas. This revision, however, has not been carried out.

Hernández Llanas, 44, was sentenced to death in 2000, after being found guilty of murdering his employer and raping his wife. His execution will be the fifth in Texas, and the second of a Mexican citizen, so far this year.

Paraguay – Indigenous People Sue Stroessner for Genocide: The Aché indigenous community of Paraguay filed a lawsuit in Argentina against former dictator Alfredo Stroessner for genocide. Backed by Spanish ex-judge Baltasar Garzón, the Aché are invoking the principle of universal jurisdiction to bring Stroessner to justice over the crimes committed against the community in the early ’70s. “Practically 60% of the Aché people were disappeared, eliminated; over 200 children were stolen and given up as domestic servants, sold, given up for illegal adoption,” said Garzón. Aché representative Ceferino Kreigi Duarte said that “we still feel a huge pain in our hearts and minds. This is why today we’re asking that the Paraguayan state answer for all this damage, not only to our community but to all the peoples of Paraguay that were victims of the dictatorship,” adding that “this is the reason why we’re asking the Argentine justice to help us.” The lawsuit was filed with federal judge Norberto Oyarbide, who is carrying out an investigation into crimes against humanity in Paraguay during the Stroessner dictatorship (1954-1989) since August last year. As a judge in Spain, Garzón himself applied the principle of universal jurisdiction to investigate human rights crimes in Latin America.

Bolivia – New Mining Minister Sworn In: César Navarro was sworn in as Mining Minister yesterday, replacing Mario Virreira, who recognised his responsibility in the recent conflict regarding changes to the mining law. The new minister was given four main tasks by President Evo Morales: to audit contracts between cooperatives and private companies, to train mining professionals, to modernise state mining, and to encourage industrialisation in the mining sector. Upon taking office, Navarro intervened the offices of the state-owned Bolivian Mining Corporation (Comibol), as suspicions arose regarding the signature of mining contracts contrary to the interests of the state. “We have filed a lawsuit before the Public Ministry because we pressume there are contracts damaging to the state that go against Bolivian society and what we want is an inventory and an audit of all of Comibol’s documentation,” said Navarro. Over the weekend, Government Minister Carlos Romero revealed the existence of at least 42 contracts between mining cooperatives and private companies without state endorsement.

Posted in News From Latin America, Round Ups Latin AmericaComments (0)

Latin America News Roundup: 1st April 2014


Costa Rica drought (photo: Manuel Kasper-Claridge)

Costa Rica drought (photo: Manuel Kasper-Claridge)

Costa Rica Votes to Protect Water as ‘Public Good’: The legislative assembly in Costa Rica voted last night overwhelmingly in favour of a new Water Resources Management Bill designed to regulate the use and control of water. The law, which requires a second vote, establishes water as a public good, and access to it as a basic human right. The bill will also create at National Water Directorate (DINA) to manage state control over water resources and prevent the privatisation and export of the good. The bill was developed as a popular initiative, after being originally presented by environmental groups that had gathered more than 150,000 signatures, equally 5% of the electorate. Costa Rica is vulnerable to rising temperatures, which could create major water shortages in the country’s northwest, according to the IPCC. Recent local studies highlighted the threat the the country could lose up to 85% of its drinking water supply in the next 50 years.

Bolivia – Government Postpones Mining Law Debate After Protest Deaths: President Evo Morales today ordered the suspension of a Senate debate over a new mining law after violent protests left two dead. “To avoid unnecessary and violent actions by mining co-operatives we have decided to postpone the debate over the new Mining Law,” said Presidential Minister Juan Ramón Quintana in a statement earlier today. Yesterday, mining cooperatives blocked major roads, including accesses to La Paz, in protest again a modification to the Mining Law, which has already been approved by the lower house of Congress. Violence erupted when security forces moved in to clear the roads, with two protesters shot dead and around 20 police officers injured. The new law would permit only the Bolivian state to sign contracts with private investors to exploit natural resources, effectively banning cooperatives – which have special tax benefits – from doing so. The independent mining sector, made up of approximately 100,000 miners, is a traditional ally of the Bolivian government.

Brazil – Work on São Paulo World Cup Stadium Suspended: Construction on the Arena Corinthians stadium in São Paulo has been halted “indefinitely” after the death of a worker on the weekend. The Regional Supervisory Office for Work and Employment in São Paulo state suspended construction work on two temporary stands at stadium after finding security flaws during an inspection earlier today. “We will only continue with the construction when there is a guarantee that workers can operate in safe conditions,” said the Supervisory Office representative Luiz Antonio Medeiros. On Saturday, Fábio Hamilton da Cruz became the seventh person fatality during construction work at world cup stadiums, and the third at the Arena Corinthians, which is scheduled to host the opening match on 12th June.

Posted in News From Latin America, Round Ups Latin AmericaComments (0)

Latin America News Roundup: 31st March 2014


Bolivian National Assembly (photo: Wikipedia)

Bolivian National Assembly (photo: Wikipedia)

Bolivian Miners Protest New Law: Mining cooperatives have blocked major roads in Bolivia, including accesses to La Paz, in protest again a modification to the Mining Law passed by the Chamber of Deputies. The new law, which must still be voted in the Senate, establishes that only the Bolivian state can sign contracts with private investors to exploit natural resources, effectively banning cooperatives -which have special tax benefits- from doing so. “If mining cooperatives sign contracts with private parties, they will become companies and will lose their ‘cooperative’ category,” said Mining Minister Mario Virreira, who justified the amendment to the law by explaining that “there is the risk that, once again, multinational capitals will enter Bolivia without any state control.” The National Federation of Mining Cooperatives, however, oppose the modification and threatened to paralyse the country “until we achieve our aim, which is to have a mining law consistent with our daily work,” said its president Alejandro Santos. The independent mining sector, made up of approximately 100,000 miners, is a traditional ally of the Bolivian government.

Cuba Approves New Foreign Investment Law: The National Assembly in Cuba approved on Saturday a new foreign investment law to attract international investment and encourage development. The law will come into force in 90 days, and includes cuts and exemptions in taxes on profits, legal guarantees, and speedier processes for new foreign investors. The government said it would initially target investment in industrial infrastructure, agriculture, and energy production, and claimed that the country needs US$2.5bn in foreign investment a year to achieve its growth targets. Presenting the bill at the Assembly, Foreign Trade and Investment Minister Rodrigo Malmierca said foreign investment was fundamental to the country’s development, but assured that the new law would not undermine sovereignty over resources. “We will not return to the past or hand over our riches. We will never again sell our country,” he said. The law comes as part of a series of gradual economic reforms introduced by President Raúl Castro, including a plan to end of the dual currency system, announced in October last year.

Chile – President Bachelet Introduces Tax Reform Bill: President Michelle Bachelet today sent a comprehensive tax reform bill to the National Congress, with the hope of boosting tax revenues by 3% of GDP. The four main objectives of the reform are to provide permanent income stream to cover spending requirements, encourage a more equitable distribution of wealth, incentivise savings and investment, and reduce tax evasion. “Today more than ever we need to decisively and responsibly use this powerful instrument of development, on the one hand, and justice on the other,” said Bachelet. The bill includes a proposed increase in corporate taxes and reduction in income taxes for individuals, except for politicians. It also provides specific benefits for small and medium sized enterprises and incentives to encourage the use of clean technology. The tax reform is the first of three major policies promised by Bachelet, the other two being education reform and an updated constitution.

Posted in News From Latin America, Round Ups Latin AmericaComments (0)

Latin America News Roundup: 27th March 2014


Peruvian, Bolivian and Chilean territories before the 1879-83 War of the Pacific (courtesy of Wikipedia)

Peruvian, Bolivian, and Chilean territories before the 1879-83 War of the Pacific (courtesy of Wikipedia)

Landlocked Bolivia Creates ‘Sea Ambassador’: In a press conference yesterday, President Evo Morales announced the creation of a new, itinerant diplomatic position to follow the landlocked country’s maritime claim and Chile, and also changed his country’s ambassador to Chile. Magdalena Cajías, an historian and former minister of education, will take up the position in Santiago, while the president has still not confirmed who will be taking up the position of roving ambassador. The neighbouring countries have not had full diplomatic relations since 1976, when Bolivia tried to regain access to the Pacific which it lost in 1879 during the War of the Pacific, which changed the borders of Bolivia, Chile, and Peru, seeing Chile annex Bolivia’s coast and part of the south of Peru.

The announcement came on the same day Chile and Peru finalised new maritime borders after 27th January’s ruling in the Hague demarcated the Pacific ocean frontier.

Tension Between El Salvador and Honduras over Isla Conejo: El Salvador’s president, Mauricio Funes, yesterday sent a letter to his Honduran counterpart, Juan Orlando Hernández, demanding that Honduras “immediately vacate” Isla Conejo. The spat comes after Honduras’ recent construction of a heliport on the tiny, uninhabited island, which preceded last week’s visit to the island by Hernández. Funes said that his neighbour’s behaviour has “gravely affected the countries’ bi-lateral relations”, to which Hernández replied that the island is Honduran and that Funes’ protest was “impertinent”. Funes also sent a note to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, lamenting Honduras’ provocation. The International Court of Justice marked the maritime border between the Central American nations in 2004, but Isla Conejo, which sits just metres off the Honduran coast, was not specifically named as it sits well within the country’s maritime borders. El Salvador’s claim on the island, which lies in a strategic location, stems from the country’s occupation of the island until 1983, when the country’s army abandoned the islet during the El Salvadorian civil war.

Colombia: FARC will not give up Police Killers: The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) announced yesterday that they would not hand over those responsible for the death of two police officers earlier this month. Germán Méndez and Edílmer Muñoz were captured by the FARC on 15th March in the south-western department of Nariño and beaten to death, something Juan Manuel Santos’ government has deemed a “war crime”. The Colombian government and the UN went on to ask that FARC give up those responsible as a sign of their commitment to the on-going peace talks. In yesterday’s communication, FARC’s leader, Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri, known as ‘Timochenko’, responded by saying that those responsible will face “guerrilla justice”, and went on to say “Let’s sign a ceasefire, Santos, and make peace possible.”

Posted in Current Affairs, News From Latin America, Round Ups Latin AmericaComments (0)

Argentina News Roundup: 14th February 2014


Minister Lino Barañao and Biochemist Gabriel Rabinovich (photo: Télam/jcp)

Minister Lino Barañao and Biochemist Gabriel Rabinovich (photo: Télam/jcp)

Argentine Scientists Present Key Findings in Fight Against Cancer: A group of Argentine scientists led by Dr. Daniel Rabinovich presented a discovery that could become a step forward in the fight against cancer. The scientists, from the Institute of Biology and Experimental Medicine (Ibyme) at Conicet, had their findings published in leading molecular biology publication Cell. They were able to identify a mechanism that can be used to treat certain tumors that are resistant to conventional treatments. “This is a great celebration for us (…) since this work was completely financed by Argentine funds, there were no foreign agencies involved in financing,” said Rabinovich, talking at a press conference yesterday where the findings were presented. The $1.8m project follows a “national line of work (…) It is not simply adding to an already developed international investigation,” highlighted Science and Technology Minister Lino Barañao.

Mendoza Farmers Denounce Intimidation: A group of families from the district of Lavalle, in Mendoza, have accused a former police superintendent of attempting to illegally evict them from their land. In a statement published on their website, the Landless Rural Workers’ Union of Cuyo (UST) have denounced that a former superintendent with the Mendoza police has been trying to evict a group of residents from their community land, claiming to work for a multinational company which would have purchased the land. However the purchase, according to UST, would be illegal. The statement indicates that the ex police officer “and his hitmen have repeatedly tried to bring in shacks, bulldozers [into the property] and to set up fences, with the aim of keeping the ancestral land of the peasant communities.” The UST claims this is being done in connivence with the local police and the prosecutor’s office, and that they went as far as shooting a 16-year old resident -who did not suffer any injuries- over the weekend.

Argentina to Send Aid to Bolivia: The Argentine government, through its ambassador to Bolivia, offered to send the neighbouring country a team of humanitarian aid volunteers to help assist people affected by the recent flooding. “The White Helmets -as the aid agency is called- are preparing to come and stay in Bolivia” and contribute with local authorities to assist up to 50,000 families, said ambassador Ariel Basteiro. “We activated the administrative and operative channels [on Wednesday] so that the Argentine Air Force can transport the necessary materials to face an emergency of this kind,” he added. The Argentine embassy in Bolivia will organise a campaign to collect clothing, food, “and everything our fellow citizens who want to actively show solidarity with the Bolivian people can bring.” Heavy rains have caused floods in the Bolivian Amazon in recent weeks, killing over 50 people.

Posted in News From Argentina, Round Ups ArgentinaComments (0)

Latin America News Roundup: 14th February 2014


President Nicolás Maduro (photo courtesy of Venezuelan government)

President Nicolás Maduro (photo courtesy of Venezuelan government)

Venezuela: Maduro Condemns Violence, Calls for Peace: Last night, President Nicolás Maduro addressed Venezuela in a live televised speech, calling for calm after the previous day’s turmoil. He announced a mass rally for peace on Saturday, and called on demonstrators to avoid violence, saying: ”This Saturday, all of Caracas will mobilise against fascism, violence, and coup attempts to demonstrate that on the streets what we want is peace, coexistence, democracy, and socialism.” In further developments, it was revealed that two of Wednesday’s victims were killed with same gun. Maduro added that state intelligence services had caught members of the opposition saying there would be deaths during Wednesday’s march, adding to speculation that the violence was planned in a way to blame the government. The governor of Táchira state in west Venezuela, José Gregorio Vielma Mora, has reported that Colombian paramilitaries and terrorists had joined the student protests in the region, and that these infiltrators had tried to damage an electricity station which provided power to 63,000 people. Several Latin American leaders have condemned Wednesday’s violence, and spoke of their support for Maduro’s government.

Maduro is also set to launch today a ‘National Pacification Plan’ as part of efforts to tackle crime and security in Venezuela. The plan was announced in January soon after the murder of former beauty queen Mónica Spear, and was developed after collecting ideas and suggestions from around the country. One of the main objectives of the new programme is to reduce the use of guns. “Here no-one can carry pistols or rifles,” declared Maduro after Wednesday’s violence. “After 14th February, there will be suitable mechanisms so that anyone who hands in their gun will have ways to normalise their situation.” The plan is due to be launched in front of governors, ministers, and mayors from all over the country.

Bolivia: Abortion to be more Accessible: In a decision published today, Bolivia’s Constitutional Court has decided abortions can go ahead without a judicial order. However, the Court went on to clarify that this did not mean abortion was being decriminalised in the Andean nation. Abortion is illegal in Bolivia except in cases of rape, incest, kidnap not followed by marriage, and when the life of the mother is in danger, but until now, women needed a court order for the abortion to go ahead. Speaking at a press conference in Sucre, president of the Court, Ruddy Flores, said: “The only requirement for an abortion to go ahead is that a complaint has been made to the relevant, competent authorities.” The Constitutional Court has also ordered the Legislative Assembly to develop a new law to establish and regulate women’s sexual and reproductive rights.

Brazil: Landless Workers’ Movement Ends 6th National Congress: The Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) closed its 6th National Congress today in Brasilia, in the presence of 15,000 campesinos and 250 international guests. Yesterday, President Dilma Rousseff received a group of representatives of the organisation at the Presidential Palace, the first time the MST have been able to directly speak to the leader. At the end of the meeting, Rousseff promised to create an inter-ministerial group to examine actions related to land reform and announced plans to accelerate the pace of rural settlements. The meeting marked an initial success for the MST, whose conference had the theme of ‘Fight, Construct Agrarian Reform’ for the its 1.5m members.

Posted in Current Affairs, News From Latin America, Round Ups Latin AmericaComments (0)

Latin America News Roundup: 31st January 2014


Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff (Photo: wikimedia commons)

Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff (Photo: wikimedia commons)

Brazil – Cabinet Reshuffle: Ahead of the upcoming elections this year, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff announced a number of changes to her cabinet yesterday. Chief of Cabinet Gleisi Hoffmann will be replaced by current Education Minister Aloizio Mercadante, as she will take the Senate seat she won in 2010. It is expected that this could serve as a platform for Hoffman to run for governor of the southern state of Paraná. Mercadante, in turn, will be replaced by his vice-minister, José Henrique Paim. Health Minister Alexandre Padilha will also step down as he prepares to campaign for the governorship of the state of São Paulo. Rousseff had announced impending changes to her cabinet last month, which she indicated would take place between January and March, so that some of the ministers could participate in the elections. More changes are expected in the coming weeks.

Bolivia – US Withdraws Aid: The US embassy in Bolivia informed that its government will no longer fund cooperation projects in the Andean country, after the expulsion of USAID. Business attache Larry Memmott said that “our economic aid has always been delivered through USAID and, at the request of the Bolivian government, it does not work in the country anymore [therefore] economic aid is no longer an issue between the two countries. We do not provide economic assistance in Bolivia at the request of the Bolivian government.” Bolivian President Evo Morales replied to Memmott’s statement saying that his country “does not need charity” and that it is the obligation of the US government to contribute, as part of a shared responsibility, on the fight against drug trafficking. Morales expelled the US aid agency on 1st May 2013, accusing it of conspiring against his government.

Guatemala – Teachers’ Strike Lifted: The Guatemalan Congress approved yesterday an increase of 1.5bn quetzals in the budgets for education and health. The government had requested the budget increase, which was passed by 135 votes to two. After the news became known, teachers blocking roads around the country, including access to the capital, in demand for more resources in these areas ended their protest. The teachers’ demands also include that the funds allocated to the education budget are used to hire 5,000 teachers, increase salaries by 10%, bring back school meals, repair schools, and pay overdue bills.

Posted in News From Latin America, Round Ups Latin AmericaComments (0)

Argentina News Roundup: 29th January 2014


Río Negro Governor Alberto Weretilneck announces budget cuts (photo: Government of Río Negro)

Río Negro Governor Alberto Weretilneck announces budget cuts (photo: Government of Río Negro)

Río Negro Budget Cuts: In a bid to lower administrative costs, Río Negro Governor Alberto Weretilneck announced yesterday a drastic staff reduction and wage cuts for state employees. In the announcement, broadcast on YouTube, the governor informed that the staff of the provincial executive will be halved, from 340 to 170 employees, and the final staff configuration will be announced within the next 90 days. Also, the remaining personnel will be subject to a 15% wage cut, bringing their salaries to a lower level than that imposed by former governor Carlos Soria in late 2011. On the video, Weretilneck also announced that all the directors of state-owned companies will be requested to resign, leaving them with only have one paid director per company, and that the province will cease to pay for the rent of the governor’s house. “We couldn’t ask the people of Río Negro to be on our side, or state employees to understand us, if the members of the executive [power] were not the first to show austerity.” The measures will save the provincial government an estimated $60m. Rodolfo Aguiar, secretary general of the State Workers’ Association (ATE), said that “the measures announced by the government, even though they will not have a great impact on the budget, are a partial answer to our union’s demands.” According to the union, “[the measures] need to go hand in hand with an increase in the real wages of all of the workers and with bigger budget allocations for hospitals, schools, and social programmes.”

Border Controversy: Residents of Valle del Silencio, in Salta, have been affected by a change in the border between Argentina and Bolivia. Local newspaper El Tribuno reported that 17 families were approached by the Bolivian government as they are using pasture land that used to belong to Argentina, but now belongs to Bolivia after an agreement signed between the two countries in November which moved the border 30km to the south. One of the affected residents told El Tribuno that officials from nearby Tarija, Bolivia, approached them and told them they had “to opt for Bolivian nationality or vacate the land.” An estimated 50 families have been affected by the shift in the border, and they claim no one from the municipal, provincial, or national government has sought their opinion or offered a solution.

Ambulance in the Villa: The first ever ambulance designated for and run out of a villa in Buenos Aires was officially inaugurated in Villa 21, Barracas, at 5pm this afternoon. The so-called ‘cultural ambulance’, supplied by the national government, will operate out of the new cultural centre in the neighbourhood, and is set to offer health training workshops as well as first aid and emergency support to all residents of the villa. The drivers and paramedics are residents of the neighbourhood. Nidia Zarza, of the Villa 21 Cultural Centre, told Télam: “The [Villa] 21 is undergoing big changes and this is really important, because it offers the chance to save the lives of our neighbours.” A lack of access to emergency services in poorer neighbourhoods of the city is a major problem, with many preventable deaths occurring in these areas as a result.

Posted in Current Affairs, News From Argentina, Round Ups ArgentinaComments (1)

Latin America News Roundup: 29th January 2014


Minister of Rural Development, Nemesia Achacollo at the press conference when the state of emergency was declared. (Photo: Jose LIrauze, presidencia.gob.bo)

Minister of Rural Development, Nemesia Achacollo, at the press conference when the state of emergency was declared. (Photo: Jose Lirauze, presidencia.gob.bo)

Bolivia – State of Emergency Declared after Flooding Kills Dozens: Bolivia has declared a state of emergency after heavy rains led to flooding which has left dozens dead and over 20,000 displaced. According to Vice President Alvaro García Linera, 80 of the country’s 339 municipalities are facing flash floods, flooding, hailstorms and building collapses as a result of the rains, which look set to continue into February. The rainy season started in October, but this year has been particularly bad, with at least 43 people dead so far. The situation culminated when rains caused a mudslide on Saturday in the town of Rurrenabaque in the country’s Amazon basin, in which eight people died. In the central region of Cochabamba, 11 rivers have burst their banks. Troops have been sent to various parts of the country to help bring aid to those affected.

Uruguay Ranks top in Environmental Performance Index Categories: Uruguay has ranked top in two categories of the annual Environmental Performance Index (EPI), a global ranking of countries’ environmental results. The country performed best in the sections of ‘air quality’ and ‘forest’, overall ranking 70th out of 178 countries, with a score of 53.61 out of 100. The EPI is an annual report put together by Yale University, using data from dozens of environmental organisations from around the world. It bases its ranking on two sections: environmental health and ecosystem vitality. The former includes health impacts, air quality, and water and sanitation. Under ecosystem vitality, water resources, agriculture, forest, fisheries, biodiversity and habitat, and climate and energy are all taken into account. Switzerland was ranked first overall in the poll, while Chile was top in Latin America, coming 29th with a score of 69.93. Haiti ranked lowest in the region, coming 176th out of 178. The report stated that: “The poorest performers are those with significant political or economic strife, suggesting again that other pressing issues can sideline effective environmental policy.” Argentina ranked 93rd, with a score of 49.55.

Campaigns Close ahead of El Salvador and Costa Rica Elections: Ahead of this Sunday’s elections, presidential hopefuls in both El Salvador and Costa Rica have closed their electoral campaigns. In El Salvador, current vice president, Salvador Sánchez Cerén of the governing FMLN party, is leading the five candidates by a 14-point margin, although an estimated 15-20% of the 4.9m voters are said to be still undecided. If the winning candidate fails to win an absolute majority on Sunday, a second round will take place on 9th March. The winner will take power on 1st June and will govern the country for the next five years.

Further south, in Costa Rica, polls indicate none of the 13 candidates will win the 40% needed to avoid going to a run-off in April. Leading the race are former mayor of San José, who is running for the governing PLN party, leftist José María Villalta, and right-leaning businessman Otto Guevara. Anticipating a run-off, candidates are said to be looking at potential alliances, although none have officially commented. Just over 3m people will vote in Sunday’s election.

Posted in Current Affairs, News From Latin America, Round Ups Latin AmericaComments (0)

Follow us on Twitter
Visit us on Facebook
View us on YouTube

Five years on from the death of ex president Raúl Alfonsín, we look back at those emotional days in 2009 and reflect on the legacy left by 'the father of democracy'

    Directory Pick of the Week

Magdalena's Party in Palermo

Magdalena’s Party has daily 2 x 1 Happy Hour specials til midnight, and the "best onda".
Sign up to The Indy newsletter