-Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller said in an AP interview that she will seek to completely sever Jamaica’s ties with Queen Elisabeth, who remains the titular head-of-state for the Caribbean nation. Simpson Miller has her hopes that Jamaica can have a national president replace England’s monarch, whose ongoing (ceremonial) status as Jamaica’s ruler hearkens back to an anachronistic era of colonialism.
–Disabled protesters in Bolivia clashed with police last week as they ended their 1000-mile protest journey through the country. The protest is fighting for greater rights for and recognition of those with disabilities in the country.
-Abigail Poe has this excellent post up on foreign aid requests from Latin America for 2013. Among other things, the post shows how military aid has changed over time, the percentage of US military aid vs. US social aid, and other data. As is standard for them over at Just the Facts, it is an accessible and informative post that is highly worth checking out for anybody interested in social spending in the region, US foreign aid, US involvement in the region, changes in policies and funding through the years, spending and security issues in the region, and many other topics.
-On Leap Day, Haitians took to the streets to commemorate and protest the February 29, 2004 ouster of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, which took place with support from the Bush administration, and an Airstide supporter said there will be more marches in the month of March.
-Apparently, Guatemalans have created a program that allows people to recycle bicycles into machines that improve and make daily life easier for rural areas. The program, Maya Pedal, is currently working with several communities on the project, and you can donate at their website. (h/t Mike)
-The owners of an abandoned high-rise are currently in the courts trying to expel 350 families who have occupied the building for years.
-Two men, including Hector Martinez, a former-senator in Puerto Rico, were sentenced to four years in prison for bribery and other charges.
-While it won several Academy Awards, apparently the silent film The Artist was not such a smash in Brazil.
-Mike has this excellent article on “El Salvador’s brutal civil war: What we still don’t know,” which summarizes and draws from a seminar on El Salvador’s Civil War that brought together scholars from throughout the world to El Salvador “to assess the state of our knowledge of that country’s civil war, 20 years after peace accords were signed that ended the conflict.”
-Finally, Boz has begun a new blog, Western Hemisphere Futures, that focuses on possible future paths for Latin American countries, including this first tantalizing post on the possibilities and conditions for city-states to secede from their countries, a not-insignificant thought exercise, given the ways in which certain regions and cities differ wildly with their home nation-states and governments.