Today in Latin America
Top Story — Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad agreed “in principle” to Brazil taking a role in helping to break the deadlock over a United Nations-backed nuclear fuel swap with the West. The U.N. plan, first proposed in 2009, would exchange Iran’s stock of lower-level enriched uranium for nuclear fuel rods from Western countries for a Tehran reactor.
The deal would ensure Iran had nuclear fuel for medical purposes, but would reduce the country’s bomb-building potential. Iran has denied that it wants to develop atomic weapons.
“In a telephone conversation with his Venezuelan counterpart, [President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad agreed in principle to Brazil’s mediation over the nuclear fuel deal,” the semi-official news agency Fars reported, according to the BBC.
Brazil’s Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that the country has not made an official offer to help in the mediation, but that it was ready to help with talks any way it can.
Brazil has recently urged Western countries to negotiate fair solutions with Iran over its nuclear program and also asked Iran to provide guarantees that its nuclear program has no military ambitions.
The U.N. plan was first proposed in October of last year, but has stalled as both sides disagree about where the swap should take place, and under what conditions.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- An immigration control program is morphing into a prisoner screening program.
- 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
- Mexican police are investigating the death of a missing Texas high school student found in the northeastern state of Nuevo León as a homicide.
- A Mexican military-led inquiry found the army not responsible for the recent death of civilians amid the country’s war on drug cartels.
- The NBA’s Phoenix Suns wore jersey’s bearing “Los Suns” during their playoff game with the San Antonio Spurs Wednesday, to commemorate the Cinco de Mayo celebration and allegedly to protest Arizona’s new immigration law.
- Cuba’s sugar harvest this year is its worst since 1905, according to the state-run newspaper Granma.
- Haitian President René Préval said on Wednesday he would stay in office up to three months after his term expires, if elections are not held as scheduled.
- The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill increasing duty-free quotas for Haitian textiles entering the United States in order to spur foreign investment in Haitian clothing factories. President Obama is expected to sign the bill.
- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested a Guatemalan immigrant in Palm Beach on Wednesday suspected of having a role in the 1982 massacre in Guatemala, allegedly one of the most violent in the country’s history. Two suspects in California may be picked up soon for their participation as well, according to officials.
- President Porfirio Lobo of Honduras will attend an E.U.-Latin America summit in Spain despite the boycott by other Latin American leaders, who refuse to recognize Honduras’ government after last year’s coup.
- Nicaraguans and Hondurans with temporary legal status in the United States will be allowed to remain in the country for another 18 months. Temporary status for those immigrants arriving before December 30, 1998, was originally set to expire on June 5 of this year.
- Costa Rica’s currency surge is “worrisome” according to its Vice President-Elect Luis Liberman. Liberman said he’s engaged in talks with the Central Bank and lenders to address concerns.
- A French court will hear Panamanian ex-dictator Manuel Noriega’s appeal for release, according to lawyers and a judge on Wednesday. Noriega is currently charged with laundering $3 million in drug money by buying luxury apartments in Paris. If convicted, he faces 10 years in prison.
- Colombian presidential candidate Antanas Mockus said that if elected he would continue current president Álvaro Uribe’s efforts to fight rebels, but also improve education and attack corruption.
- A prison riot in Venezuela’s western state of Táchira has left eight inmates dead and three injured.
- Police removed indigenous Ecuadoreans protesting a water privatization plan from the country’s congress building.
- The largest labor confederation in Bolivia began a national strike demanding higher wages, the first nationwide work stoppage since President Evo Morales took power in 2006.
- Brazil’s state-run energy provider Petrobras agreed to sell some of its Argentine assets to Oil Combustibles SA for $110 million, Petrobras said Wednesday.
- The House of Deputies in Argentina approved gay marriage by significant margins on Wednesday. The legislation next goes to the senate for consideration. Argentine President Cristina Fernández says she will sign the measure if it reaches her.
- Confidence in emerging market debt was damaged by turmoil in Greece, causing slumps in Argentina bonds. Chile’s peso is also falling as a result of problems in Greece.
- José Martínez de Hoz of Argentina, former economy minister and the economic brains behind the country’s 1976-1983 military dictatorship, was arrested after an amnesty law was lifted, according to officials.
Image: Daniella Zalcman @ Flickr.