Friday, May 11, 2007

Michael Moore in Trouble for Visiting Cuba

Michael Moore is being investigated by the Treasury for making a trip to Cuba, where Americans are officially not normally allowed to travel. In spite of the fact that many Americans visit each year, some travelers encounter trouble with the government over these visits. Moore has defended his visit on his website. More here.

Bolivia Moves One Step Closer To Nationalized Oil

The Bolivian state oil company has announced the acquisition of two Brazilian-owned refineries in Bolivia. The Brazilian company sold them for 112 million dollars and the transfer is to take place within days. More here.

Is Cuba's Government Relaxing Its Policies?

A journalist imprisoned for anti-Castro views is among about 20 dissidents released since Raul Castro came to power. It seems as though there may be some relaxation of the government's iron grip on some parts of society. Full story here.

Pope Makes Strong Comments on Abortion

Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Brazil and began by addressing the issue of abortion in this region. He took a hard line against politicians who tolerate abortion, possibly in response to a new Mexico City law legalizing some procedures. More here.

Survivors of Sinking Claim that They Were Rammed

Survivors of the sinking of a boat full of Haitian refugees claim that they were deliberately rammed by a boat belonging to the government of the Turks and Caicos Islands. The refugees claim that their boat was rammed by the patrol boat and left to sink. More here.

Street Gangs Still a Major Problem in Port-Au-Prince

Even though the link is just to a picture, it is still a fairly powerful one to me. It shows a typically poorer neighbrhood in Port-Au-Prince that is usually dominated by gangs that the UN is trying to clear out. In my mind it parallels the US offensive to clear out Fallujah in Iraq, both in the type of operation and how pictures of that area strongly remind me of this picture: Click here.

Informal Markets in Venezuela

The Venezuelan government recently had a crackdown on informal markets on a well-known street in Caracas. In spite of the importance of the informal markets to many Latin American economies, this move by the government was applauded as it cleared a once well liked boulevard of vendors and numerous criminals. More here.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

UN Envoy Praises Bolivian Social Reforms

UN envoy Jean Ziegler praised Bolivian president Evo Morales' progress in reaching UN millenium goals such as free medical care, eradication malnutrition and higher literacy rates. More here.

World Economy Reacts to Chavez's Threats

Hugo Chavez called for banks in Venezuela to finance industry in Venezuela on easy terms or face the threat of being taken over by the government. This has created an economic backlash, with Venezuela's currency losing more than 3% of its value. More here.

Multinational Latin American Companies Make Big Gains

When one thinks about multinational companies and Latin America, one usually thinks of US investments; however, Latin American owned companies have been making big gains in the US. Investment in the US by countries such as Mexico and Brazil is on the rise. More here.

Chavez Seizes Last Foreign-Owned Oil Facilities

Hugo Chavez, the leader of Venezuela, has taken control of the last foreign-owned oil projects in his country. Though the companies may remain as minor partners in the projects, they have not been compensated for the seizure. More here.

Weird but True

The Brazilian government has ordered an online auction site to take down an ad for a man's wife. The husband apparently tried to sell her for about 50 dollars. More here.

Pope to Visit Brazil

Pope Benedict XVI has decided to visit Brazil where a council of bishops of Latin America will be held. More here.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

More migration to the U.S. than deaths in Mexico

There has been more people migrating from Mexico than actually dying in Mexico since 2000. Immigration of people from Mexico to the United States has been increasing since 1970. Also, more people are coming illegally from Mexico.

To read more, please click here

Friday, May 04, 2007

Brazil bypasses patent on AIDS drug

Talks recently between Brazil and pharmaceutical giant, Merck, break down over AIDS drug. Lula de Silval, president of Brazil, issued a "compulsory license" to bypass patent of Merck's drug efavirenz. This license lets Brazil make the drug or buy generics with only paying a small fee to patent holder. The country of Brazil allows for compulsory licenses in a health emergency, and this was done for a case of abusive pricing with AIDS medicine.

To read the whole story, go here.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Textile Factories Cause Problems In Mexico

It seems that Mexico is finally, standing up to the giant factories that have been polluting their lands for years. Even though the factories have produced over 35,000 jobs in the heart of Mexico, the damage they are doing to the environment has become to grand. Residents report that the dyes and chemicals are visible in the water and that blue and green tides are not uncommon. Other residents say that they have been experiencing very dry skin and sore throats. This is a grave problem for the region, especially considering the prominence of cattle and pigs in the same area. This type of problem puts Mexico in a very difficult position. They must either turn away jobs that are helping the economy, or end the pollution that is harming the citizens. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, Mexico does.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Where in the World is Fidel Castro?

There was no sign of Fidel Castro at any of Cuba's May Day celebrations. He has not made a public appearance since undergoing emergence surgery nine months ago.

For more-- Click here.


Carandiru was the largest prison in Latin America and held up to 8,000 prisoners until its demolition in 2002. In 1992, it was the site of the Carandiru massacre which is cited as one of Brazil's greatest human rights violations. The commanding officer of the military police who suppressed the supposed riot was sentenced to 632 years in prison for his role in the massacre. This sentence was rescinded when the officer claimed he was just following orders.

Read the article here.