Around Latin America [2]

Given the eventful and busy week and light blogging, this is the second update on news stories from around Latin America today. (You can read the first one from earlier today here.)

-The Dominican Republic held elections this weekend, with Danilo Medina defeating former president Hipolito Mejia in a hotly-contested election.

-A loophole in Chilean electoral law has allowed over 1,000 people whom the dictatorial state of Augusto Pinochet “disappeared” to vote. A new law that does not require people over 18 to register to vote in person has led to rights activists registering the victims of the regime, creating a new space and arena in which the ongoing struggles over human rights and nation and efforts to remember the regime’s repressive past can take place in Chile.

-Subway workers in São Paulo have gone on strike, demanding a pay raise for their work and leading to a shutdown of a subway system that serves more than four million people each day in what is South America’s largest city.

-Meanwhile, in Canada, nearly 4,800 railroad workers have walked out on negotiations, leading to a shutdown of the Canadian Pacific Railway. While the walkout’s causes are as yet unclear, the move will certainly impact the Canadian economy, which depends heavily on railway transportation to transport goods.

-Argentine police found and disarmed a small bomb that was left in a theater where Colombian ex-president Álvaro Uribe was set to talk. The discovery came less than one week after another bomb attack that wounded 39 people, including Uribe’s former Secretary of the Interior, and killed two more.

-In a busy day in national police forces, both Honduras and Bolivia named new national police chiefs  yesterday.

-A Brazilian pilot ejected a passenger who made sexist and offensive remarks upon learning that his pilot was a woman. One can’t help but think that, of all the people you might want to anger, the person in charge of safely flying the jet you are in is not one of those people.

Three Guatemalan prosecutors and four police officers have been arrested based on allegations of having ties to the drug cartels that are increasingly expanding in Guatemala. (H/t to Mike.)

-Brazil’s Congress has passed a new slave labor law that allows for harsher punishments for landowners who force poor Brazilians to work in slave-like conditions. The new law allows the government to confiscate the property of, fine, and even imprison for eight years those found in violation of labor codes in Brazil.

-Colombia and Venezuela are working together to strengthen the militaries’ presence in the border region between the two countries in an attempt to track down Colombian guerrillas who attacked and killed 12 Colombian soldiers this week.

-The UN is attempting an investigation of Cuba regarding the deaths of prisoners and repression of opposition groups in Cuba and is demanding the country provide information on its prison system and its treatment of prisoners and dissidents.

-In the ongoing struggle over citizenship rights of Brazil’s urban poor, Rio de Janeiro’s government is finally giving land titles to residents of favelas for their homes.

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.
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