Today in Latin America
Top Story — Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visited Venezuela this weekend on a trip to strengthen bilateral ties.
Putin and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez signed a number of accords, covering a range of subjects including energy, defense, transportation, education and technology.
“Russia and Venezuela are on that path and we’ll be more united every day,” Chavez said, according to EFE.
One agreement reached between the two world leaders concerned joint oil ventures in the Orinoco region of eastern Venezuela. In regards to this agreement, Putin said a consortium of five Russian firms will pay $1 billion for the right to help develop the Junín 6 block in the Orinoco belt.
The two leaders also signed several memoranda on the development of gas and oil tankers, studies into the installation of an electric plant and other energy-planning projects. Venezuela is currently suffering from a severe electricity crises.
The goal is “to make the world more democratic, balanced and multi-polar,” Putin said.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- A shootout in a nightclub between rival gangs left seven people dead late Friday evening in the Mexican city of Tampico.
- The parents of the 4-year old Mexican girl found asphyxiated in her bedroom were freed from detention Sunday but police said they were still under investigation.
- A 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Baja California, Mexico, on Sunday, killing two people.
- Elton John played a concert for 6,000 people Saturday at the Mayan pyramids of Chichén Itzá in Mexico. Three workers were injured Friday when the concert’s stage collapsed during its installation.
- Cuban head of state Raúl Castro said his country would not back down in the face of pressure from foreign countries to release political prisoners, which Cuban authorities view as common criminals paid by the U.S. to undermine the revolutionary government.
- Haiti is using rubble from the Jan. 12 earthquake to rebuild the country.
- 36 people died of gunshot wounds in separate incidents during Holy Week in Guatemala, according to the country’s Vice Minister of the Interior.
- The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the recent killing of journalists in Honduras and called on Honduran authorities to put an end to the violence.
- The French bank BNP Paribas ceded its wealth management business in Panama, the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands to the Canadian bank, Scotiabank.
- Early television polls indicate that Evo Morales’ Movement Toward Socialism (MAS, in Spanish) won in five out of nine of the country’s governorships in Bolivia’s regional elections on Sunday. Official results will not be available for two to three weeks. (Spanish))
- Colombian Vice President Francisco Santos attacked the European Court of Human Rights for not pushing Russia to extradite a convicted Israeli terror suspect to Colombia.
- Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa named Katiuska King as the country’s new economic policy minister.
- A mudslide in Peru Friday killed at least 28 people in the country’s Huanuco region. Friday’s mudslide followed one of Thursday which killed five people in the town of Cancejos.
- A plane performing aerobatics at an air show on Friday in Lages, Brazil, crashed and exploded, killing the pilot. The incident was caught on video.
- An unruly group of soccer fans were arrested in Argentina on Friday. A total of 30 passengers of a LAN Airbus were taken into custody upon landing. The group reportedly assaulted a flight attendant and threatened to set the plane on fire.
- Chile and Turkey intend to sign a free trade agreement by the middle of this year.
- A recent poll shows that most Uruguayans have good expectations for the José Mujica government.
- Uruguay’s debt shot up by 31.5 percent in 2009, and is now set at 69 percent of the GDP, according to recent data released by the Central Bank.
Image: Globovisión @ Flickr.