Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Top Stories, August 24, 2011


  • · President Alvaro Colom of Guatemala emphasizes his administrations battle against money laundering, arguing that efforts are as intense as those against drug trafficking, reports Siglo21.
  • · Two-day shut down in Chile as union members join students in a strike on Wednesday and Thursday demanding fundamental changes in the country’s education policy, reports the Washington Post. According to activists, Chile’s ‘dictatorship-era constitution’ puts too much power in the presidency and is in dire need of reform. Specifically, student protestors are calling for popular referendums which would provide free education to all citizens.
  • · While most Mexican tourist cities have remained relatively untouched by the increasing violence in the country, Acapulco has emerged as a new ‘hotspot’ for organized crime, reports In Sight Crime. This summer, 650 people have been killed in Acapulco, putting it second to only Juarez as the ‘bloodiest big city in Mexico.’
  • · The Associated Press reports on more violence in the Mexican city of Monterrey, where a man was hung and shot to death from a pedestrian bridge. This is one of several such killings that have occurred in the region, most likely relating to feud between the Gulf and Zetas drug cartels over control of the city.
  • · In a recent anti-crime initiative in Brazil, IPS reports on a web site which allows citizens to report crimes anonymously. According to In Sight Crime, many crimes go unreported in Brazil due to fear or lack of faith in the police.
  • · President Chinchilla of Costa Rica assures that the nation will not consider creating a military force despite increases of instances of drug violence. In a visit to Mexico to discuss greater cooperation between the two countries, Chinchilla asserted that Costa Rica is still one of the safest countries in Latin America despite the presence of Mexican drug gangs
  • · Inocente Orlando Montano, a former ex-military officer who has been charged in Spain for his involvement in the 1989 slaying of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter during El Salvador’s civil war, appeared before court in Boston on Tuesday for violating immigration laws. The arrest will allow Spain to being the process of extradition.
  • · Amid speculation about the whereabouts of Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi, an adviser to Nicaraguan president Ortega made a statement yesterday that the country would ‘positively
    consider’ granting asylum to Gadhafi if he requested it. Ortega has been sympathetic to Gadhafi, arguing in February that he ‘is waging a great battle to defend the unity of his nation. Bloggings by Boz gives three reasons why Gadhafi won’t find refuge in the Americas.
  • · Despite domination and heavy censorship of the mass media and telecommunications in Cuba, a political blogger has found a way to spread information throughout the country—using his cell phone. Ernesto Hernandez Busto has been sending daily text messages to cell phones in Cuba, taking advantage of the ‘explosive growth in cell phones ‘ and avoiding ‘reliance on the internet’ which is heavily controlled by the government.’
  • · Social activists and organizations in Guatemala are deeply concerned about the possibility (and increasing likelihood) that the country will elect Otto Perez Molina, the conservative candidate of the Partido Patriota (PP—Patriotic Party). According to human rights activists, Perez Molina is closely associated with a ‘number of generals and colonels with backgrounds in the intelligence service and military operations, who participated actively in the design of genocidal policies during the armed conflict.’ Perez Molina’s political platform takes an ‘iron fist’ and repressive approach to violent crime and security issues.
  • · In Venezuela, a judge ordered that publication of Sexto Poder—a publication critical of Chavez’ administration—be suspended while charges against its director are being processed. Following the publication of a series of satirical photographs of six public servants, Dinorah Giron was arrested and has been prohibited from openly discussing her case or leaving the country.