-Mexico had around 12,000 people die as a direct cause of drug violence in 2011, and it’s important to remember that death total doesn’t include violent deaths not connected to drug violence. Meanwhile, a new report suggests that the Zetas drug cartel is responsible for a majority of the drug violence in the country, with a presence in 17 of 31 states. The Sinaloa cartel is behind the Zetas, with a presence in sixteen states (including some states where the Zetas also are, further fueling violence between the competing cartels).
-Indigenous peoples in Nicaragua are now a part of the drug wars, as indigenous communities and drug cartels have entered into clashes on the Caribbean coast.
-The Brazilian Labor Ministry accused 294 employers of using slave-like conditions.
-A third person has died in the wake of a mid-December student protest in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero. A worker at a gasoline station who suffered burns while trying to turn off the pumps when they were set ablaze on December 12. Two students also died after police shot them during the protest. The students had peacefully gathered to demand more funding for their rural college.
–Great Britain will be supplying the Brazilian Navy with three patrol vessels. In addition, the agreement, worth 133 million English pounds (roughly $207 million US dollars and $384 million Brazilian reais), will allow the same class of ship to be constructed under license in Brazil. This comes on the heels of Brazil recently winning a $355 million dollar contract to supply the United States with 20 Super-Tucano aircraft.
-A great article on the struggle between enjoying certain types of Latin American music and wrestling with the sexism in the lyrical content of that music.
-Will Mahmoud Ahmadinejad be attending the inauguration of conservative ex-genearl Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina?