Around Latin America

May 12, 2012

-Peru’s Minister of Defense and Minister of the Interior have resigned in the wake of clashes with Shining Path rebels that left several soldiers dead.

-Some supporters of Hugo Chávez are furious over a Venezuelan crossword puzzle that they say contains threats against Chávez’s brother.

-Argentina’s Senate was busy this past week. On Wednesday, it passed a “dignified death” law that allows those who are terminally ill to have more control over the way their lives end. In that same session, the Congress also passed a gender identity equality law that recognizes transgender rights, making Argentina the “new world standard” in gender legal rights.

-Meanwhile, in Chile, after languishing in Congress for seven years, politicians finally passed a law prohibiting discrimination and hate-crimes, spurred in part by the tragic death of Daniel Zamudio in a brutal homophobic attack earlier this year.

-Six UN peacekeepers from Uruguay are facing charges of sexual assault of a nineteen-year-old man in Haiti last September, and this week, the victim testified in Uruguay, where the trial is being held.

-While Spain was at the forefront of efforts that ultimately led to the indictment, conviction, and house arrest of Augusto Pinochet and in trying human rights violators from the Argentine military regime of 1976-1983, it is facing criticism for failing to address justice issues for victims of the dictatorship of Generalíssimo Francisco Franco.

-Peruvian indigenous groups fighting against the oil industry’s environmental degradation of their homelands took their case to Canada this week to raise awareness of Canadian industry’s complicity in the environmental and cultural degradation of indigenous rights and history.

-After being criticized for delays, Brazil has finally appointed the members to its Truth Commission, which the country formally established late last year in order to investigate (but not prosecute) torture and other human rights violations during the military regime of 1964-1985.

-In Chile, renowned Japanese astronomer Koichiro Morita was murdered during a robbery attempt. The Atacama Large Millimeter Array, or “ALMA” Observatory, in the Atacama desert in northern Chile, will provide humans with glimpses into the deepest parts of the universe in an attempt to better understand the origins and development of the universe and galaxies.

-Finally, a Haitian beer, Prestige, won a Gold Award at the recent World Beer Cup, held in San Diego this year. Prestige won the gold for the “American-Style Cream or Ale category.”

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