Today in Latin America
Top Story — Heads of state from South America met yesterday outside of Buenos Aires, Argentina for a summit meeting of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR). The group elected its first secretary-general and discussed Arizona’s immigration law and the recognition of Porfirio Lobo as President of Honduras, among other things.
The group choose former Argentine President Nestor Kirchner as their secretary-general in an attempt to consolidate UNASUR into a regional force for unity, development and democracy-building. Kirchner, whose wife Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is Argentina’s current president, was president from 2003 to 2007 and is currently a Congressman in Argentina’s lower house.
Along with the appointment of Kirchner to secretary-general, UNASUR members said they opposed the immigration law passed in the U.S. state of Arizona, which gives law enforcement agents broader authority to detain people suspected of immigrating to the country illegally.
Along with these measures, the UNASUR meeting also addressed financial assistance for Haiti and the Falklands Islands conflict.
UNASUR was formed in 2004 as a counterpoint to the Organization of American States, which is seen by many in the region as dominated by the United States. The group, which offically cchnaged its name to UNASUR in 2007, has permanent headquarters near Ecuador’s capital, Quito.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
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- Thousands rallied to support comprehensive immigration reform and to protest the new Arizona law. Alison Bowen and Paola Reyes report.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Mexico and Germany co-hosted a meeting attended by environment ministers from 40 countries to discuss individual steps to fight global warming.
- The head of Mexico’s National Bank and Securities Commission said that Carlos Slim’s telecommunications merger was delayed only due to paperwork.
- The Senate Foreign Relations Committee said that U.S. government television and radio broadcasts to Cuba have not influenced Cuban society or the Cuban government.
- The Haitian soccer team will play Argentina in a friendly match as the Southern Cone nation prepares for this year’s World Cup.
- Guatemalan President Álvaro Colom asked the United States for assistance in establishing a regional commission to investigate organized crime and drug trafficking in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
- A Truth Commission in Honduras began Tuesday in Honduras to investigate last year’s coup that ousted then-President Manuel Zelaya.
- Two Honduran television reporters received death threats last week. The Committee to Protect Journalists urged Honduran authorities to investigate the incidents on Tuesday.
- Nicaraguan authorities will allow the Colombian air force to pick up all 23 detained Colombian fisherman reportedly caught fishing in Nicaraguan waters on April 22.
- French lawyers for Panamanian ex-dictator Manuel Noriega complained to the Red Cross about his prison conditions and his lack of prisoner of war status.
- A U.S. scientist claims that South American independence leader Simón Bolivar likely died of arsenic poisoning, supporting a claim by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez that Bolivar did not die of tuberculosis.
- Investment in Ecuador by oil companies is expected to rise 97 percent in 2010 from last year, according to the the head of the OPEC member nation’s Hydrocarbon Industry Association.
- The French government said Bolivia must pay for the nationalization of a power plant half-owned by French utility GDF Suez.
- Brazil’s state-owned oil company Petrobras refuted Spanish company Repsol’s claim that areas under exploration off Brazil’s coast could generate 3 billion barrels of crude oil.
- An official at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Argentina should encounter good demand for it debt swap plans.
- Paraguay soccer coach Gerardo Martino picked Borussia Dortmund forward Lucas Barrios to replace the injured Salvador Cabanas on his preliminary World Cup roster.
- Chile’s peso weakened another 1 percent against the dollar on Tuesday.
Image: Presidencia de Argentina