Around Latin America

-Several incidents of social unrest throughout Latin America this week highlighted the ongoing struggles of the rural and urban poor.

-Mexico’s Popocatepetl volcano, located in the Central Valley not far from Mexico City, is going through another one of its periodic active phases, sending burning rock more than half a mile out of its crater and forcing residents to prepare for a possible evacuation.

-Rio de Janeiro has announced it will be closing the Jardin Gramacho landfill, the largest in Latin America. The closure will leave without an income some 1200 people who sell reusable goods found at the site. The site, and the people who combed the waste, were featured in the documentary Waste Land.

-In a move that can only be described as anti-climactic and unsurprising, US citizen Jim Yong Kim will be the next president of the World Bank, defeating Nigerian Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. A US citizen has always occupied the position as president of the World Bank since being implemented in 1946, something that Colombian José Antonio Ocampo, who was also a candidate for the position before withdrawing his name, criticized as “political exercise.”

-The remains of 99 victims of the Guatemalan civil war have been unearthed in the city of Coban. Forensic experts found the remains while searching for the bodies of 200-300 people who “disappeared” in the region during the war, which lasted 36 years and saw the murder of 250,000 people, with most of those deaths coming at the hands of the Guatemalan military forces.

-Oscar Naranjo, the head of Colombia’s national police force who has worked closely with the United States’ DEA, has announced his retirement, saying it is time for “new blood” to lead the police.

-Authorities and scientists are still trying to figure out why 877 dolphins and porpoises have washed up dead on the beaches of Peru in the last three months.

-While Brazil’s courts have ruled that the controversial Belo Monte dam may proceed, its construction has hit another snag as workers at the site have decided to go on strike over working conditions, including how many times they can visit their homes and how much they are paid for food.

-Mexican ex-general Mario Arturo Acosta, 70, was shot and killed this week in Mexico City. Acosta was best known for his ties to the Juarez drug cartel, ties for which he was sentenced to 16 years in prison (though released after five). And while the article claims that “Critics say Calderon’s strategy has undermined the army by exposing it to the corrupting influence of the cartels,” Acosta’s case suggests that, whatever one may think of Calderon’s policies regarding the drug trade and cartels,  the potential for corruption and abuse of power was there well before Calderon became president in 2006.

-Finally, the Haitian government has launched a new vaccination program to combat measles, rubella, and polio in the country and to reduce the child mortality rate, which is one of the highest in the Western Hemisphere.

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 Around Latin America, Brazil, Children's Rights, Civil Conflict in the Americas, Class and Classism in the Americas, Colombia, Corruption, Drugs and the Drug Trade in the Americas, Favelas, Guatemala, Guatemala's Civil War, Haiti, Health Issues in the Americas, Honduras, Indigenous Peoples, Land Reform, Mexico, Paraguay, Peasant Movements, Peru, Police Violence, Poverty, Prisoners' Rights, Rio de Janeiro, The "Disappeared". Bookmark the permalink.