Chávez and Uribe Squabble At Rio Group Summit; New Latin American and Caribbean Organization Created

February 24, 2010 8:50 am 1 comment
Colombian President Álvaro Uribe

Colombian President Álvaro Uribe

Today in Latin America

Top Story — Colombian President Álvaro Uribe and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez engaged in a war or words on Monday at the Rio Group summit in Mexico.

The quarrel happened in a private meeting where Uribe complained about the Venezuelan trade embargo imposed on Colombia. Chávez allegedly retorted by accusing Uribe of plotting an assassination attempt on Chavez by paramilitaries.

Chávez then allegedly threatened to leave the conference and Uribe shouted that Chávez was “a coward when it comes to talking face to face.”

Chávez allegedly then told Uribe to “go to hell.”

Mexican President Felipe Calderón and Cuban leader Raúl Castro tried to calm the dispute between the two other leaders.

Relations between Venezuela and Colombia been tense in the past few years, due mainly to the joint U.S.-Colombia military deal that Chávez fears is aimed at overthrowing his government.

. . .

In other news from the Rio Group Summit, 32 nations from Latin America and the Caribbean created a new regional bloc that excludes the United States and Canada.

While few details about the nascent group are prepared, the newly named Community of Latin American and Caribbean States plans to meet in Venezuela in 2011 and Chile the following year.

Mexican president Felipe Calderón said the new organization hopes to create cooperation between Latin American states and defend human rights and democracy in the region. There have been rumors that the organization will replace the Organization American States (OAS), which is strongly influenced by the United States, but as of now Latin American leaders are split on this issue.

“It’s very important that we don’t try to replace the OAS. The OAS is a permanent organization that has its own functions,” said Chilean President-elect Sebastian Pinera, according to the Washington Post.

Just published at the Dispatch: Latin America Experts Assess President Obama’s First Year.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

  • Colombian pop star Shakira met with U.S. President Obama and Vice President Biden at the White House and then with World Bank Director Robert Zoellick, with whom she announced a $300 million early childhood development program.


  • A Cuban political prisoner died on the 85th day of a hunger strike, according to opposition sources.
  • A bipartisan group of thirty congress members submitted legislation to end travel restrictions and agricultural trade restrictions with Cuba on Tuesday. (Spanish)
  • Adoption of Haitian children orphaned by the Jan. 12 earthquake remains controversial; a group of six Haitian orphans were recently turned over to the U.S. Embassy in Haiti after being detained at the airport on their way out of the country.

Central America

  • A 5.6 magnitude earthquake hit Guatemala around 4:52 a.m. on Tuesday. The quake caused no immediate reports of injuries or damage.


  • Venezuela created a $1 billion fund to save the country’s electric system by financing power-generating projects, according to President Hugo Chávez.
  • Peruvian doctors accidently amputated the wrong foot of an 86-year old man and were forced to amputate the other foot to stop the spread of infection.

Southern Cone

  • A man in Argentina who was stolen at birth from his mother, a political prisoner during Argentina’s Dirty War, has been reunited with his father. The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, a human rights group and activist organization, solved the case.
  • U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton will attend José Mujica’s inauguration on March 1, the Uruguayan press reports. (Spanish)
  • With the official selection this weekend of Dilma Rouseff as the Workers’ Party presidential candidate, Brazilians debate the size of the state.
  • Jhonny Longhi tells the story of his journey from Brazilian poverty, to the Olympic giant slalom.

Images: Álavro Uribe from Center of American Progress @ Flickr.

Subscribe to Today in Latin America by Email

Leave a Reply

Other News

  • Guatemala Photo Essays Oxlajuj Baktun: Maya Era Ends, As Longstanding Tensions Remain

    Oxlajuj Baktun: Maya Era Ends, As Longstanding Tensions Remain

    HUEHUETENANGO, Guatemala – Events here during the much-awaited end of the Oxlajuj Baktun, a 5,129-year period in the long Mayan calendar, provide a clear reflection of the divisions and challenges faced by Mayan communities today. The media exploited inaccurate apocalyptic rumors the Maya never predicted, the government and business sectors viewed it as an opportunity to gain economically through tourism, and progressive groups like the Consejo del Pueblo Maya del Occidente seized the opportunity “to strengthen ancestral wisdom and never-ending search [...]

    Read more →
  • Dispatches Mexico Mexico Protests: Rumors Of Deaths During Anti-Peña Nieto Demonstrations Stir Social Media

    Mexico Protests: Rumors Of Deaths During Anti-Peña Nieto Demonstrations Stir Social Media

    NEW YORK — Social media buzzed this weekend with unconfirmed rumors that several protesters had died in confrontations with police during the inauguration of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. Thousands took the streets to protest the return of the Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party to power, which was ousted from the presidency in 2000 after governing continuously seven decades. Some 105 protesters were left injured, with 29 requiring medical attention. Protesters hurled Molotov cocktails, threw stones, and there were reports of a [...]

    Read more →
  • Brazil Today in Latin America Brazil Supreme Court Appoints First Black President

    Brazil Supreme Court Appoints First Black President

    Top Story — The Brazilian Supreme Court appointed the first black presiding judge, Joaquim Barbosa, on Wednesday. Judge Joaquim Barbosa, 58, was appointed by ex-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2003 and became the first black judge to be appointed to the Supreme Court. More recently, he has been known for overseeing the “Mensalão,” or “big monthly allowance” case, which convicted senior members of ex-President Lula’s administration for corruption. Barbosa will take his post once the “Mensalão” trial ends. [...]

    Read more →
  • Dispatches Mexico Photo Essays United States Caravan For Peace ‘Plants Seeds’ In New York City

    Caravan For Peace ‘Plants Seeds’ In New York City

    NEW YORK – On the night of Sept. 6, a procession of a few hundred people crossed Harlem from east to west before gathering in front of Santa Celicia Parish in the heart of El Barrio, illuminating the steps of the church with hundreds of tiny candles and filling the sidewalk with images of friends and family members lost to the drug war. There, they began to read from a list of dead and disappeared. “Regina Martines,” someone called. “¡Presente!” the crowd responded. [...]

    Read more →
  • Mexico Today in Latin America Zetas Leader Body Stolen From Funeral Home, Mexico says.

    Zetas Leader Body Stolen From Funeral Home, Mexico says.

    Top Story — The body of Zetas leader Heriberto Lazcano, alias “The Executioner,” was stolen out of the funeral home where it was being kept by armed men, Mexican authorities said on Tuesday. Lazcano was allegedly killed on Sunday afternoon and his identity was confirmed on Tuesday by the Mexican Navy. However, the military seems to have been unaware that they had killed Lazcano until after his body was snatched. Lazcano, for whom there was a $5 million U.S. bounty, [...]

    Read more →
  • Mexico Today in Latin America Mexico Arrests Alleged Zetas Leader Suspected Of Migrant Massacre

    Mexico Arrests Alleged Zetas Leader Suspected Of Migrant Massacre

    Top Story — The Mexican Navy captured alleged Zetas cartel chief, Salvador Alfonso Martinez Escobedo, suspected of some of the country’s most well known crimes. Martinez Escobedo was arrested on Saturday and is thought have led the massacre of 72 migrants in Tamaulipas among numerous other crimes, authorities said on Monday. He is also linked to the breaking of 151 prisoners out of jail and the killing of a U.S citizen in 2010, the jailbreak was the largest in recent Mexican [...]

    Read more →
  • Mexico News Briefs Guatemala Implements Police Reform Aimed At Reviewing 20,000 Officers

    Guatemala Implements Police Reform Aimed At Reviewing 20,000 Officers

    Guatemala will implement a program to root out corruption in the police and military, according to Mexican daily El Informador. The wide-reaching anti-corruption program marks an effort by the administration of President Otto Pérez Molina to crack down on the drug traffickers that have infiltrated Guatemala’s often poorly paid security forces — particularly Mexico’s Los Zetas cartel. Some 20,000 police officers will face reviews during the first phase of the program. Two-hundred of them have already begun the process, according [...]

    Read more →
  • Today in Latin America Venezuela Hugo Chavez Wins Venezuela Elections

    Hugo Chavez Wins Venezuela Elections

    Top Story —  Hugo Chávez won the presidential election on Sunday, defeating his opponent Henrique Capriles by over 1 million votes, with 54% of the vote. This will be Chávez’s third re-election after almost 14 years in office. The elections saw a high turnout and voting was extended past the closing time of polling stations.  The electoral council president said that stations where voters hadn’t been able to cast their ballots would remain open. Read more at Aljazeera. Headlines from the Western Hemisphere [...]

    Read more →
  • Honduras News Briefs 2 Honduras Officials Receive Death Threats

    2 Honduras Officials Receive Death Threats

    Two officials in Honduras viewed as sympathizers with the county’s political left have received death threats, the local press reports. The news of the death threats against National Agrarian Institute Director César Ham and Secretary of Justice and Human Rights Ana Pineda raises questions about security in one of the region’s most violent countries, after a string of attacks against journalists and political activists preceded by threats that were disregarded. Ham told Honduras’ El Heraldo that President Porfirio Lobo himself [...]

    Read more →
  • Mexico Today in Latin America U.S. Embassy Car Was Targeted In Mexico Attack

    U.S. Embassy Car Was Targeted In Mexico Attack

    Top Story – New evidence suggests that the Mexican police officers who shot at a U.S. Embassy vehicle on Aug. 24 near Cuernavaca, wounding two CIA officers, were working for organized crime, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday. Mexican officials have confirmed that they are investigating the involvement of the Beltran Leyva Cartel in the attack. Contradicting the Mexican federal police’s claims that the shooting was a mistake, a U.S. official told the Associated Press that the attack was an ambush planned [...]

    Read more →