South America

Erdogan eyes expanding Turkey influence on Latin America tour

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Ankara (AFP) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday embarks on a major tour of Latin American countries in a bid to expand Ankara’s ties outside its traditional sphere of influence. Yahoo! – By Fulya Ozerkan His visits to Peru and Ecuador are the first-ever by a Turkish president and the stop in Chile is the first since late president Suleyman Demirel travelled there back in 1995. Regional and international issues will be on the agenda during talks with ... Read More »

Crutch to Catalyst? The International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala

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Guatemala – one of Latin America’s most violent, unequal and impoverished countries – is enjoying a rare moment of opportunity. ICG – Guatemala City/Bogotá/Brussels, Latin America Report N°56 The Executive Summary is also available in: español EXECUTIVE SUMMARY A new president, Jimmy Morales, bolstered by a landslide victory, has taken office promising to end corruption. The old political elite is in disarray. Emboldened citizens are pressing for reforms to make justice more effective and government more transparent. Behind these changes is a ... Read More »

Puerto Rico: US calls for creditors to make sacrifices

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US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew urged Puerto Rico’s creditors to make sacrifices that would allow the territory to restructure its debt. BBC Mr Lew said that unless both sides made sacrifices, “there is no path out of insolvency and back to growth.” Puerto Rico is in its tenth year of rescission and struggling to cope with $70bn (£49bn) in debt. Several attempts at negotiations between the Puerto Rican government and creditors have failed. “The people of Puerto Rico are sacrificing, ... Read More »

Rousseff’s ‘Silver Lining’ Playbook

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While weakened politically, Brazil’s president is not without options in the current crisis. The National Interest – Scott MacDonald * Over the past year most news on Brazil has been bad. The economy is in the worst shape since the 1930s, the legitimacy of some of the country’s major political institutions is being badly eroded by the scandal at the state-owned oil company, Petrobras, and the last of Brazil’s investment grade sovereign ratings were stripped away in December. Talk of impeachment of ... Read More »

He was the world’s most wanted drug lord. His cartel was the most feared. But has El Chapo’s brutal reign finally come to an end?

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“El Chapo” Guzmán, the notorious Mexican drug lord, was captured last week after his escape from prison last year. The Guardian The Observer Angus Macqueen Documentary film-maker Angus Macqueen spent months tracking Guzmán for a 2014 documentary. Here, he describes his mountain community, and how his control of the Sinaloa cartel crumbled as the state reacted to his audacious escape Caught again. That makes it three times that the Mexican drug kingpin El Chapo has been captured. The last two ... Read More »

Venezuela: The Light at the End of the Tunnel?

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For the first time since 1999, Venezuela’s revolutionary socialist regime faces an opposition parliament. ICG – By Phil Gunson * | @philgunson But rather than seeking some form of “cohabitation” with its political adversaries, the government has chosen the path of outright confrontation, raising once again the prospect of serious political violence in this nation of 30 million people. Following its landslide election victory on 6 December, when it won 112 of the 167 seats in the single-chamber National Assembly, the Democratic ... Read More »

Israel warns Brazil in row over settler ambassador

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Israel has warned Brazil it will downgrade relations unless it accepts a former head of the Jewish settlement movement as its ambassador in Brasilia. BBC Argentina-born Dani Dayan was appointed four months ago but his nomination has not yet been approved by Brazil. On Sunday, Israel’s deputy foreign minister said Israel would leave diplomatic relations “at the secondary level” if Mr Dayan was not confirmed. Brazil has not yet responded to the deputy foreign minister’s remarks. Mr Dayan was the ... Read More »

The End of Hegemony: What Next for Venezuela?

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ICG – Latin America Briefing N°34 The full briefing is currently available in: Spanish OVERVIEW Venezuela’s opposition Democratic Unity (MUD) coalition obtained a crushing victory in the 6 December parliamentary elections, putting an end to fifteen years of domination of the legislature by parties associated with former President Hugo Chávez and his successor, Nicolás Maduro and opening up the possibility of a peaceful, negotiated solution to the crisis afflicting the country. The MUD overcame extremely adverse campaign conditions and surpassed its ... Read More »

Brazil president Dilma Rousseff names leftist economist as finance minister

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Nelson Barbosa replaces the fiscally conservative Joaquim Levy in a move seen to signal an end to an aggressive austerity drive in the country The Guardian – Reuters in Brasilia Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff named leftist economist and close aid Nelson Barbosa to replace fiscally conservative finance minister Joaquim Levy on Friday, signalling a dramatic break with the deficit-cutting policies her administration has pursued for most of this year. Barbosa, currently the planning minister, has been one of the strongest opponents ... Read More »

Argentine football club rejects sponsorship of Turkish Airlines

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On Tuesday December 15 the president of the Argentine football club Racing Victor Blanco confirmed that they rejected the sponsorship of Turkish Airlines, Agencia Prensa Armenia reports. Siranush Ghazanchyan The move was hailed from the Armenian community of Argentina. In a statementent titled “Turkish Airlines tried to sponsor Racing to wash the image of the authoritarian government of Turkey,” Armenian Youth Federation of South America organization welcomed the decision. “For several years, Turkish Airlines became the main weapon of Turkish ... Read More »

Colombia, Spain row over sunken treasure of San Jose

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Billions of dollars in gold and silver from an 18th century shipwreck have left Spain and former colony Colombia at odds over who rightfully owns the loot. The disagreement is over the San Jose, a treasure ship wreck that Colombia located recently off the coast of Cartagena de Indias, its old Caribbean port city. The San Jose sank in June 1708 near the Islas del Rosario, during combat with British ships attempting to take its cargo, as part of the ... Read More »

Farc rebels: Colombia investigates 150 ‘forced abortions’

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Colombia is investigating more than 150 cases of forced abortion by Farc rebels, the chief prosecutor says. BBC  Female rebels were compelled to have abortions so as not to undermine their fighting ability, Attorney General Eduardo Montealegre told reporters. The left-wing rebels have denied this in the past, saying contraception was readily available. The Farc has fought a five-decade insurgency in Colombia but peace talks in Cuba have made significant progress. Agreement has been reached in four broad areas during ... Read More »

Why Mexico Is So Comfortable With Death

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MEXICO CITY — As I read a recent article about the efforts of numerous families in Guerrero to locate the remains of their missing relatives, I tried to imagine what it would be like to stumble upon a patch of turned soil in the mountains of Iguala, fearing that very spot could hold a bit of a loved one. That image brought me heartache but not surprise. The Huffington Post – Sandra Cai Chen, Adjunct Philosophy Professor, Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores ... Read More »

Chile ‘medicinal’ pot-smoking mum denied access to baby

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A Chilean mother says a hospital is restricting her access to her newborn baby because she said she smoked marijuana. BBC Sindy Melany Ortiz said she smoked pot for medicinal reasons to alleviate pain in one of her arms. She says she is not being allowed to breast-feed her daughter and can only see her for two hours a day. Hospital officials in the southern city of Talcahuano said they were following protocol and the baby was at risk. “They ... Read More »

Amazon fires: Brazil indigenous reserve blazes contained

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Brazilian officials have managed to contain several forest fires that have destroyed half of an indigenous reserve in the Amazon region. BBC – Some 12,000 indigenous people live in the Arariboia reserve, in the state of Maranhao. Their leaders say the fires were started more than a month ago by hostile loggers and farmers who want exploit the area’s natural resources. Hundreds of firefighters and soldiers had been trying to put out the blazes. Their work has been helped by ... Read More »

World’s ‘poorest’ ex-Uruguayan president humbly hosted in Turkey

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Former president of Uruguay Jose Mujica, who is known for his humble character, was hosted modestly, in accordance with his wishes, with a ’73 VW as his official car and a three-star hotel in Istanbul. Hurriyet – ISTANBUL Known as the poorest president of the world, Mujica and his wife arrived in Turkey on Oct. 29 with a Turkish Airlines flight from Paris for a series of panels and conferences for the promotion of his latest book. He is also ... Read More »