Around Latin America

-On the twentieth anniversary of the signing of the 1992 Salvadoran Peace Accords, El Salvador’s government apologized for the El Mozote massacre of 1981, in which the military brutally murdered nearly 1000 civilians, marking one of the darkest moments in a horrible civil war that ultimately left more than 70,000 people dead, with most dying at the hands of the Salvadoran military.

-Panamanian workers involved with a project to expand the Panama Canal have gone on strike over wages and safety issues. The workers are demanding an increase from $2.90 to $4.90 an hour for basic labor and from $3.52 to $7.10 for skilled labor, as well as the payment for overtime work. The group behind the $5.2 billion project insists wages are fair and that its safety measures meet Panamanian regulations, but does acknowledge “payroll problems.”

-While Argentina has been rigorous in prosecuting those responsible for human rights violations during the “Dirty War” of 1976-1983, many officers and soldiers have yet to see trial. Lillie provides an excellent summary of the trials scheduled to take place in 2012 as Argentines continue to seek justice for the horrors of the military dictatorship that murdered upwards of 30,000 Argentine civilians in seven years.

-The Spanish judge whose 1997 order to arrest Augusto Pinochet set the stage in motion for the Chilean ex-dictator to spend the rest of his life answering for the crimes of his regime (and which forced Chileans to confront their past) is facing trial himself over allegations of abuse of power. Baltasar Garzón insists he is innocent of charges, but it seems possible that his colleagues will find him guilty and bring an abrupt end to his career in what some believe the attempts to strip him of his power are part of a political game.

-The drug wars in Mexico have affected nearly all levels of society, and the Catholic church is no exemption, as one bishop has criticized the Mexican government’s abuses of human rights even while the Church hierarchy stands behind president Felipe Calderón’s attempts to violently crack down on cartels over the past several years.

-Mexico is not the only place in which the “war on drugs” filters down to everyday society in tragic ways. In Colombia, one person died and several more were seriously ill after drinking a homemade liquor from bananas that had been contaminated with a pesticide used to eradicate the coca plants from which cocaine is produced.

-Raul Castro’s daughter has gone on record with her belief that the Cuban Communist Party will accept legislation on gay and transsexual rights this year. Mariela Castro has called for equal rights for the LGBT community over the last several years in the face of public and party opposition, including from her own father.

-In Honduras, several bodies were found at a clandestine grave site after authorities began to investigate reports from families whose children had gone missing over the past four years.

-Peru’s vice president has resigned over allegations of corruption. Omar Chehade stepped down from the mostly-ceremonial position but remains a member of the Peruvian Congress after a close vote in which thirteen congressional representatives voted in favor to let him serve while twelve voted to expel him.

-The BBC recently published these excellent (and fascinating) photos of Britisih immigrants to Argentina in the early-20th centuries.


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, Argentina's Military Dictatorship (1976-1983), Around Latin America, Catholicism in the Americas, Colombia, Corruption, Cuba, Drugs and the Drug Trade in the Americas, El Salvador, El Salvador's Civil War (1980-1992), Honduras, Human Rights Issues, Human Rights Violations, Immigration, LGBT Rights & Issues, Mexico, Panama, Peru. Bookmark the permalink.

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