Around Latin America

-In Honduras, 355 prisoners died in a horrific fire this past Tuesday, resulting in one of the worst prison disasters in history. While families struggle with their losses, survivors express outrage, and human rights activists again point to the problems of prison overcrowding and treatment of prisoners (an issue facing many countries in Latin America), the tragedy is increased by the fact that many of those who were imprisoned had not been charged with or convicted of crimes.

-Earlier this week, Peruvian armed forces captured Florindo Eleuterio Flores-Hala, better known as Comrade Artemio,  the military leader of Peru’s increasingly-isolated Shining Path guerrilla movement. The capture led president Ollanta Humala to declare that the Shining Path is “no longer a threat to the country.” While time will tell whether Ollanta Humala’s declaration is accurate or not, the capture is a major blow to the leftist guerrilla group.

-Forty-five years ago, Latin American countries signed a treaty that designated the region a nuclear-weapon-free zone, a treaty that UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon commended this week in honor of the treaty’s anniversary.

-In Argentina, a recent trial on the trafficking of women has raised the issue of the sex trade and sex slavery in South America’s third most-populous country.

-In a reminder that border violence is not limited to the Mexico-US border, the editor of a newspaper on the Paraguay-Brazil border was murdered this past week. As has been the case in other murders of journalists in Brazil, the editor had campaigned against the corruption and abuses of power on the part of local and national officials.

-Fans of Latin American or British history with a little cash to toss around can buy one of the three remaining copies of the telex of Argentina’s 1982 surrender to England in the Malvinas/Falklands War, with the copy going on auction on April 3.

-Speaking of the Malvinas/Falklands, while tensions have been increasing recently (with both the United Kingdom and England exaggerating the situation), it’s probably not the best diplomatic move (or a classy move) for the islanders’ press  to call Cristina Kirchner a “bitch.”

-From the Department of Irony, a Brazilian woman is suing Weight Watchers for firing her after she gained weight.

-Hundreds of Venezuelans took to the streets to protest this week in the wake of an oil-spill in Venezuela that contaminated rivers and streams.

-When right-wing ex-general Otto Perez Molina won the presidential election in Guatemala, few probably imagined that he would move closer to the legalization of  some types of drugs, but that appears to be a possibility as he attempts to address the increasing drug violence in the Central American country. And he is not alone, as El Salvador’s president, Mauricio Funes, has also made references to considering legalization.

-Venezuela’s opposition has nominated 39-year-old governor Henrique Capriles Radonski to run against Hugo Chavez in October of this year, setting the stage for what could be an interesting campaign.

-Human rights activists in Colombia are finding themselves increasingly threatened; the country’s former Peace Commissioner has fled the country, fearing for his life, a fear that many other human rights activists share as attacks on them are increasing.

-Argentine officials are targeting corruption within the country’s national football (soccer) league in an attempt to stamp out the mafia-like organizations that are not uncommon among fan bases and club organizations.

-Giving new meaning to the phrase “hot action,” a Colombian fire department has come under fire *ahem* for allowing the station to be used to film a porno.

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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, Around Latin America, Brazil, Colombia, Drugs and the Drug Trade in the Americas, El Salvador, Futebol (Soccer), Guatemala, Honduras, Human Rights Issues, Malvinas/Falklands Islands, Peru, Peru's Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path), Prisoners' Rights, The Malvinas War, Venezuela, Women's Rights. Bookmark the permalink.