Around Latin America

-Last week may have seen the suspension of Paraguay and inclusion of Venezuela into Mercosul, but at least one Brazilian businessman from São Paulo believes that the political role of the trade bloc means it is on its way out.

-Paraguay is not the only country facing institutional tensions; in El Salvador, a “constitutional crisis” between the National Assembly and the Supreme Court is emerging that has no sign of ending anytime soon and that could directly shape the dynamics of power in the Central American country.

-While yesterday marked the end of Mexico’s presidential election cycle for this year, it also marked the beginning of Venezuela’s elections, with Hugo Chávez and opponent Henrique Capriles officially kicking off their campaigns for the October elections. And in Honduras, former first lady Xiomara Castro de Zelaya has announced she will run for president for the leftist Libertad e Refundación party (LIBRE). If her surname sounds familiar, that is because it should – she is the wife of Manuel Zelaya, the Honduran president who was overthrown in a military coup in 2009.

-The mountains and beaches of Rio de Janeiro have landed that city a spot on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. In addition to providing another (well-deserved) point of pride for cariocas, the inclusion as a World Heritage site could lead city officials and international agencies to work on combating pollution and environmental degradation along the beaches and the mountain forests nearby.

-In Guyana, one leading politician who was critical of his party’s failure to provide more than lip service to the issue of corruption has stepped down, marking another shakeup in local politics in the small South American country.

-A new report finds that less than 2/3 of Brazilians now self-identify as Catholics. While the 64% that do identify as Catholics is still an overwhelming majority, that number is down from 74% in 2000 and 92% in 1970. While the rise of evangelicalism is certainly one cause of the decline, I would also point to a younger generation of Brazilian youth, especially in urban centers, who are disillusioned with the Church and its messages on issues like birth control, abortion, and marriage.

-In the world of natural events, the Nevado del Ruiz volcano, part of the Los Nevados National Natural Park in Colombia, has erupted.

-Finally, in alcohol economic (alcoholnomics?) news, Anheuser Busch InBev, the largest beer producer in the world, has gotten even bigger after buying Mexico’s Grupo Modelo for $20.1 billion. Modelo was Mexico’s biggest brewer, responsible for (among other things) Corona.

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, Catholicism in the Americas, Civil Conflict in the Americas, Colombia, Corruption, El Salvador, Elections in Latin America, Evangelicals in Latin America, Food, Guyana, Honduras, Latin American Politics, Mexico, National Parks, Religion in Latin America, Venezuela. Bookmark the permalink.