Tag Archive | "president"

Paraguayan President Fights Impeachment Charge

Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo, is fighting his impeachment charge and calling the current hearing that would see him removed from office unconstitutional  The trial which launched yesterday in the Lower Chamber, is due to be concluded later today. However, the President, backed by the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) is claiming that the hearing has been unfairly rushed and does not follow due process. The hearing comes as a result of an explosive week of social unrest in which 17 people died in violent clashes between farmers and the police.

Yesterday the Lower Chamber voted for Lugo’s impeachment with 76 votes to one in favour. An urgent meeting of the Senate was called and by the end of last night it had already registered a wide majority in favour of the ruling. The government is discussing a document of nine cases in which Lugo is said to have misused his powers. Lugo ‘s lawyers are fighting back, however, with claims that the trial is unconstitutional. Defense attorney, Adolfo Ferreiro said last night that he hopes the Senate “comes to its senses and drops the charges. “ He added “let this be a gaffe Paraguayan politics is able to overcome.”

Members of UNASUR are also standing behind the President. The group of South American Nations gathered for an emergency meeting yesterday and several leaders have spoken in support of Lugo.  Ecuadorian President, Rafael Correa held a press conference today in which he called the proceedings “absolutely illegitimate. There is evidence that procedure is being broken and that decisions have already been taken” said Correa, accusing the government of conspiring to oust Lugo using “legalese”.

The court hearing comes as a response to a violent clash between the police and rural peasants in which 17 people were killed. Fighting broke out last Friday when police attempted to remove a group of around 100 farmers who police claimed were illegally occupying an area of land in Curugatay. Police said the farmers were camping on land owned by well known politician, Blas Riquelme, however the leader of the farmers, known as the “tent people” said in an interview with Radio Nacional that the land had been acquired illegally by Riquelme. The violence, which erupted on the 15th June left 10 police and 7 farmers dead.

Lugo remains defiant against charges. “This is no time for impeachment” he said this morning in an interview with Argentine Radio station, Radio10, “This has been an honest and transparent government, no one can deny that.”

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Emergency Operation Performed on President’s Son

Máximo Kirchner, son of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, had an emergency operation Monday morning after signs of septic arthritis in his knee.

Local media reports say the 36-year-old man is stable after surgery, which dealt with a high level of infection in the knee. La Nación said a medical report was released yesterday afternoon, which noted that after studying the liquid which came from Máximo’s joint, doctors decided to conduct an arthroscopic cleaning in the operating room.

The surgery took place in the Austral University Hospital in Pilar, where the president received her thyroid surgery in January. La Nación’s hospital sources said Máximo had to have surgery.

“The picture was surgical. There was no other way out,” they said from the Austral.

Máximo is the president’s eldest son, and Página12 reports that his admission came on the eve of a presidential trip to the United Nations, where Argentina was invited to raise their sovereignty claim over the Falkland Islands in the Decolonization Committee.

The medical report also said Máximo suffered abdominal discomfort from a bout of diveriticulitis days ago.

The Austral Hospital doctors that signed the report include the presidential medical unit head Dr. Luis Buonomo, the hospital medical director Eduardo Schnitzler, and doctors Carlos Autorino and Horacio Rivarola Etcheto from the department of orthopedics and trauma.

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

Brazil: Lula Says He Would Run Again if President Stepped Down

Former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said he would toss his name in the hat a third time if current President Dilma Rousseff decides not to run again.

“The only hypothesis is whether to run for President Dilma does not want (to aim for re-election). I will not allow a toucan (of the opposition party) to return to the presidency of Brazil,” he said during a television interview for the station SBT last night.

Lula was a member of the leftist Workers’ Party, finished his mandate on the 31st of December with a record 80% popularity. Beginning his presidency 1st January 2003 after winning in the 2002 elections, he was not allowed to run for a third consecutive term according to the Brazilian constitution. Rousseff, Brazil’s first female president, is his Workers’ Party successor.

Lula said in the interview that he believes Rousseff will be “very strong” at the end of her mandate, and will want to run again.

“She is not only going to want to search for re-election,” he said, noting he would be a voter “to re-elect her.”

In October 2011, Lula was diagnosed with throat cancer. He announced that the cancer was in remission in March, and at the same time announced that he would be returning to the politic sphere.

“I’m going to return to the political life, because I believe that Brazil has to continue growing, developing, generating employment and bettering the quality of life of the millions and millions of Brazilians who have arrived in the middle class and don’t want to go back down,” he said in a recorded message at the time, according to Argentina’s La Nación.

In addition, the newspaper also reports that a judge of the Supreme Court of Brazil accused the former president this week of try to pressure the court into delaying a trial for corruption charges against the ruling party.

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Discussion of Presidential Re-election Considered ‘Healthy’

The leader of deputies of the Frente para la Victoria party, Augustin Rossi, stated today that the re-election of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is “not on the agenda” but that discussion on the issue would be “healthy.”

In the run up to the 20th anniversary of the 1994 constitution, Rossi stated today that it is “reasonable that experts reflects on a new Constitution, after 20 years.”

The leader did not, however, mention a rumoured change in the Argentine constitution specifically, which would allow President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner to run for a third consecutive term.

Elsewhere, Kirchnerite deputy Diana Conti reiterated yesterday that she would be in favour of seeing a reform in the Constitution, and that the president “made the decision” to run again for presidency.

Although supported by some, the proposal for a change in the Constitution has not been accepted by all Kirchner deputies, and remains a controversial issue.

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Venezuela: Chávez Dismisses Rumours of Impending Death

Speaking on national television yesterday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez once again dismissed rumours of poor health.

The audio of his voice via phone was broadcast throughout Venezuela. Pictures of him playing baseball and walking around were released yesterday on Twitter by Communication and Information Minister Andrés Izarra.

“These are harsh treatments and one must rise to them with will, strength, faith and lots of rest,” Chávez said in the broadcast.

The messages from the president come after Venezuelan journalist Nelson Bocaranda wrote on the subject this weekend. The reporter also Tweeted that he heard Saturday was Chávez’s hardest day since he was first diagnosed in June 2011, because he now knows “the full truth of his cancer.”

During the past few weeks, Chávez has been missing from the media scene in Venezuela, prompting rumours over social media about his poor health or even death.

Two weeks ago, Bocaranda wrote on his blog that Chávez’s cancer was far more serious than the president was letting on, noting that it had moved to the liver, with “possible extensions to the pancreas, kidney, pelvic cavity and lower muscles.”

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Argentine President Condemns Attacks on British Embassy

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has condemned the attacks on the British embassy on 2 April, calling them “an act of vandalism” rather than a “social protest.”

The president issued the statement today at the inauguration of the Bariloche airport. She noted that they “do not represent the policy in a time of absolute democracy” and that there is “no need to burn flags.”

“I am extremely aware that both governments have seen great progress in democratic rights,” she stated. “These groups have arisen suddenly and so violently that they are not representative of Argentina, but of opposing interests.”<

The 2nd April marked the 30-year anniversary of the beginning of the Malvinas/Falklands War. Protestors threw firebombs; police responded with water cannons.

It was reported in several publications that hundreds of members of the left-leaning groups Quebracho, Revolutionary Communist Party (PCR), and the Popular Student and Anti-imperialist (CEPA) movement were involved. However, a spokesperson from Quebracho denied their involvement.

President Fernández de Kirchner also called on judges to follow the penal code and act accordingly.

“They are not protests, but acts of provocation – but we will not give into that,” she said.

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President Gives Commemorative Speech for Falklands/Malvinas 30 Year Anniversary

Commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Falklands/Malvinas War, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner made a speech today at just after 1pm from Plaza Islas Malvinas, Ushuaia, to honour the deaths of 649 Argentines who died during the war.

The president paid tribute to the soldiers, stating “We come to honour these men with medals on their chests, won in battle. But we are also here to honour the hundreds of young people who fought on the islands.”

Commenting on UK prime minister David Cameron’s speech made earlier today, the president stated that Argentina wanted “live in peace” with the inhabitants of the Falklands/Malvinas.

“Few countries the world have such an open immigration policy as Argentina. How will we not respect the interests of the islanders? We want to live in peace with them.”

She also criticised Cameron’s assertion that in 1982 Argentines invaded the freedom of the islands’ inhabitants. “He is clearly not aware that back then, the Argentine people’s freedom was also taken captive by the military dictatorship… it was not the decision of the Argentine people to go on to war.”

President Fernández was one of five speakers today in Plaza Islas Malvinas, Ushuaia. The Tierra del Fuego governor also made a speech, as well as war veterans from around the country

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President and Buenos Aires Mayor Face Off on Subte Debate

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner listed terms for Buenos Aires’ takeover of the Subtes, but Mayor Mauricio Macri retorted with “under these terms, there will be no transfer.”

During a speech, Fernández de Kirchner said government must be cautious when raising public transportation rates, noting that with the 127% price increase in Subte tickets, ridership fell 30%.

She added that the price increases mean more people are taking buses, and the high fares affect those who do not have the ability to pay.

“We must be very careful, responsible and gradual when we touch the prices of public services such as transportation, which many people use to go to work and study,” the president said during a ceremony in the Government House.

On the topic of Subte security, Fernández de Kirchner proposed that the Buenos Aires city government develop a “gradual” schedule to take over the policing of the lines in three months.

Currently, federal officers are patrolling the stations, although metropolitan police were scheduled to take over the detail 29th February. The federal government announced a 30-day extension on the deadline 1st March, so the city could put together a security force.

As for buses, Fernández de Kirchner proposed that the city and federal government “share” subsidy responsibilities for a year, adding that bus subsidies are about $1.18 billion.

“We will ask that for a year we share that subsidy – half from the national government and the other half from the city,” she said, adding that he also asked them “to help us implement the subsidies.”

In a press conference given this afternoon, following the proposals made by president Fernández, Macri rejected the transfer again and criticised the opposition deputies who voted for it in Congress last night.

“We want to take over transport system, as well as the port, gambling and security,” he said, but repeated that it can only be done if the national government also transfers “the resources” necessary to manage them. Macri also minimised the importance of the transfer bill passed by Congress by a broad majority yesterday, saying that the situation “is not going to change until there is an agreement approved by the [city] legislature.”

Subte and transport issues have been in the public eye for months. The Buenos Aires government has been planning to take over the Subtes from the federal government, however the transition has been rocky. The effects of the handover have caused protests, strikes and public displays of displeasure from both governments.

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Truck Driver Strike Planned for Downtown Buenos Aires

The downtown core of Buenos Aires is set to be jammed by striking truck drivers tomorrow, fighting against 2,300 lost jobs with the supermarket Eki.

The strike is planned to last 24 hours. A statement signed by the union assistant secretary Pablo Moyano is also calling for its affiliates to stop delivery and logistics to the supermarkets Friday – a move that will affect the normal supply of goods to other companies as well.

Truckers are also warning that they will continue with further plans to fight until the situation is “resolved favorably for the workers.”

La Nación reported that President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s government had no comment on the situation yesterday.

Moyano – who is also the son of truck driver union head Hugo Moyano – said they will march to the Ministry of Labor to “see if [Carlos] Tomada reacts.”

“The Ministry of Labour acted from the outset, stepped in and declared the compulsory conciliation and there were a lot of meetings. Now, it’s time to negotiate and get a meeting tomorrow [for today] with the Labor Ministry,” an insider close to Tomada told La Nación.

A rally is also set to take place at the Ministry of Labour office on Av. Leandro N. Alem starting at noon.

This is not the first time the truck drivers’ union have used their muscle to put the city at a standstill. Tensions have been high between the federal government and the organisation, as well as with other unions. On 30th January, for example, Moyano’s union blocked truck access to Correo Argentina – the country’s mail service – because the union believed the Kirchner government did not adequately defend truckers against Italian gas company Camuzzi’s 200-employee layoff.

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Peru: US “Concerned” about Iran’s Presence in Latin America

Acting Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson said yesterday that the US is “concerned” about Irani influence in Latin America, noting that it is “not positive” for the region.

During a visit to Peru, Jacobson told the national Radio Programas del Perú that “The United States is concerned and is very alert, because Iran’s influence is not positive for the region.”

Irani President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took a tour of Latin America through December and January, stopping in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Cuba.

Also in January, Iran launched a Spanish television network called Hispan TV via satellite.

In addition, Ahmadinejad also called Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner to congratulate her on her re-election last October.

On the broadcast, Jacobson said the United States is interested now more than ever in Latin America.

“There is a lot of interest in Latin America, not only for being part of a global world, but also because in the United States we have a Latino population that is growing,” she said.

According to local press reports, Jacobson will meet with Peru’s government officials, business people and other citizens before moving on to Argentina.

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