Around Latin America

-Argentine President Cristina Kirchner has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and will begin treatment in January. Kirchner is the third serving president in South America who has been diagnosed with cancer, joining Paraguay’s Fernando Lugo and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. Brazilian ex-president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva also has cancer, and current Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff overcame lymphoma in 2009.

-Rear Admiral David Woods, the new commander of Guantanamo Bay prison, has drafted rule changes in the treatment of prisoners held on charges of terrorism at the Guantanamo Bay compound in Cuba. While the orders are not yet finalized, they would allegedly “violate attorney-client privilege and legal ethics and deprive the prisoners of their constitutional right to counsel.” The proposed changes have already prompted outrage and anger from Pentagon-appointed lawyers working with the defendants.

-The leader of the only gay rights group in Jamaica criticized ruling-party politicians for turning to homophobia in order to drum up popular support and votes in the upcoming elections.

-Military personnel, military family members, and allies of the military in Guatemala are beginning proceedings against ex-guerrillas who fought in the Guatemalan Civil War of 1960-1996 and journalists who have reported on human rights iolations that the armed forces committed during the period.  Human rights activists are understandably outraged, with one commenting that the military officials and their allies “want to transform themselves from perpetrators to victims.”

-Bolivian President Evo Morales said he and Peruvian President Ollanta Humala have entered into talks regarding a transnational railroad between the two countries. Such a railroad would finally give landlocked Bolivia direct access to an ocean port for the first time in over 130 years.

-In another sign of social and economic improvements and growth in Brazil, book sales were on the rise in 2011, and bookstores plan on expanding thanks to the growing market for books.

-On the other side of the economic coin, a new report suggests that the next Mexican president will have to deal with growing levels of poverty in the country. Mexico holds its elections on July 1 next year.

-The UN in Haiti has accused Haitian police of abuse and excessive force against prisoners, at least nine of whom may have died from police brutality.

-One of Brazil’s major newspapers, Jornal do Brasil, is set to return to publishing hard copies of newspapers after its online-only publication/subscription system initiated in August 2010 fell short of what the company had hoped for.

-Uruguay’s Congress is considering a bill that would decriminalize abortion. Although abortion is currently illegal in the country, official numbers point to 30,000 abortions a year, though officials admit the number may be much higher.

-A Brazilian gang is apparently stealing natural hair from salons in São Paulo.

-The Argentine human rights organization Associacion Civil Abuelas de la Plaza de Mayo (Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo) has spoken out against a new anti-terrorism law recently passed in Argentina. Opponents fear that the law leaves open the possibility that social protest could become more difficult or even criminal activity.

-Tanja Nijmeijer, the Dutch woman who joined the FARC rebels in Colombia nine years ago, says dead FARC leader Mono Jojoy was very ill when he died in a Colombian bomb strike [in Spanish], while English reports play up her claim that he had a “guerrilla orchestra.”

-Will gospel gain a strong foothold in the country of samba and bossa nova?

About Colin M. Snider

I have a Ph.D. in history, specializing in Latin American History and Comparative Indigenous History. My dissertation focused on Brazil. Beyond Latin America generally, I'm particularly interested in class identities, military politics, human rights, labor, education, music, and nation. I can be found on Twitter at @ColinMSnider.
This entry was posted in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Brazilian Music, Colombia, Cuba, Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionárias de Colombia (FARC), Guatemala, Haiti, Human Rights Issues, Human Rights Violations, Latin American Cultures, Latin American Economic Relations, Latin American Foreign Relations, LGBT Rights & Issues, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Police Violence, São Paulo, United States, Uruguay, Women's Rights. Bookmark the permalink.