Around Latin America
-In a case of taking veritas in the theatre too far, a Brazilian actor portraying Judas in a passion play in Brazil is in a medically-induced coma after nearly strangling himself to death while re-enacting the death of Judas.
-In more Easter controversy, an Uruguayan minister has stirred controversy after calling Jesus “that skinny fellow who was crucified for being candid and who spent all his time preaching forgiveness.” (Though I admit it’s hard for me to see how the latter part of that statement is offensive, as a quick read of the Gospels pretty much has Jesus being candid and preaching forgiveness. Maybe the “all the time” part offends people? Or perhaps the “Jesus was morbidly obese” lobby has more heft than one would imagine?)
-The brutal and hateful murder of Daniel Zamudio finally galvanized Chile’s Congress to pass a seven-year old anti-discrimination bill that prohibits discrimination based on “any distinction, exclusion or restriction that lacks reasonable justification, committed by agents of the state or individuals, and that causes the deprivation, disturbance or threatens the legitimate exercise of fundamental rights.” No word yet, though, on whether the discrimination against women’s freedom from fear and rape constitutes a restriction that “lacks reasonable justification.”
-In a reminder that Chile is far from monopolizing homophobic hate-crimes in South America, violence against the LGBT community in Brazil is on the rise, with the murders of gays and lesbians on the rise even while the country’s overall crime rate is decreasing.
-While reports emerged last week that the Zetas and MS-13 (the Maras) were joining forces in the drug trade in Central America, Mike points out that such conclusions may be hasty and erroneous.
-Chile’s Supreme Court has removed a major obstacle in the construction of a dam that would have a major impact on the environment and peoples of southern Chile. The court ruled that the HydroAysen dam in Patagonia may proceed, in spite of protests and opposition from environmentalists and others.
-Peruvian authorities suspect members of the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) guerrilla movement are responsible for the kidnapping of gas workers.
-Competing legal systems and cultural understanding have created conflict and confusion in Colombia, where Colombian authorities want to prosecute a 15-year-old for impregnating a 10-year-old girl. While Colombia has outlawed sex with minors under the age of 15, the girl is member of the Wayuu indigenous group, which, in accordance with the Colombian constitution, has its own legal jurisdiction outside of Colombian control.
-The Miami Marlins’ baseball coach Ozzie Guillen has been suspended five games for an interview in which he expressed respect for Fidel Castro’s ability to remain in power for so long. While Guillen was completely and totally in line with understandings of freedom of speech in the U.S. and also spoke of Castro negatively, it was his declaration that he “love[s]” Castro that outraged the Miami Cuban community and led to protests from a fanbase that has never really or regularly embraced the Marlins since their inaugural season in 1993.