Today in Latin America
Top Story — Haitian police broke up a rally on Monday in front of the National Palace, where protesters demanded that President René Préval step down.
Police fired tear gas into a crowd of about 2,000 and fired live rounds into the air, after protesters attempted to pass barricades in front of the palace, according to Reuters.
Some protesters threw rocks at police. Police arrested seven people for robbery, according to The Associated Press.
Opposition groups accuse Préval of planning to stay beyond his term, which is scheduled to end next year. The lower house of Haiti’s Congress recently voted to allow Préval to stay in office for an additional three months. The Senate approved the measure on Monday.
“He is profiting from this disaster in order to stay in power,” Herve Santilus, a sociologist who lost his job after the Jan. 12 earthquake, told AP.
Some protesters called for the return of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a left-wing former president who was deposed in a coup in 2004.
The protests underscored the simmering anger toward authorities felt by Haitians, more than a million of whom remain stuck in improvised tent camps.
Préval denies that he intends to overstay his term and said last week that he would leave office by May 14, 2011. “I want to establish stability in this country,” he said.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- New York state is reviewing its deportation policies for immigrants facing minor criminal charges. Read more at the latest installation of Alison Bowen’s blog, Beyond Borders.
- An immigration control program is morphing into a prisoner screening program.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Joaquín Capilla, a Mexican diver and the country’s top Olympic-medal recipient, died over the weekend at the age of 81.
- After European policy makers agreed on a loan plan as a way to end the region’s sovereign debt crisis, Mexico’s peso rose the most in a year.
- Cuban folk musician Silvio Rodríguez is scheduled to play Carnegie Hall on 4 June. He awaits the approval of his visa.
- A group of people including nine American Airlines employees pleaded guilty to smuggling cocaine aboard commercial flights from Puerto Rico to the mainland U.S. over the last decade.
- The Florida chef Gilberto Jordan accused of taking part in Guatemala’s 1982 massacre of indigenous peasants may be deported back to the Central American country.
- After seven journalists were killed in Honduras in the last six weeks, U.N. human rights activists are encouraging the government to protect those in the media, and actively prosecute offenders.
- Soon after assuming the presidency of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla signed a moratorium on open-pit gold mining.
- The Venezuelan government seized former ambassador to the United Nations Diego Arria’s farm, after accusing him of not holding proper legal title.
- Following a week of riots and rallies, Bolivia’s main trade union has called for an indefinite strike, protesting for a larger pay increase.
- Coffee production in Colombia soured 88 percent in April, according to Colombia’s National Federation of Coffee Growers.
- A former Argentine secret service agent involved in Operation Condor was arrested on charges of human rights abuses.
- Brazil’s opposition presidential candidate José Serra said the country’s central bank is “no Vatican,” adding that the institution’s mistakes should be pointed out to the president.
- Thanks to a European aid package, Chile’ stocks ended Monday up 2.5 percent. This was the largest single day jump since last June.
- Uruguay’s Vice President Danilo Astori said the country’s ruling coalition received a “wake-up call” from voters during last Sunday’s municipal elections.
- Paraguay set its preliminary squad for this summer’s World Cup that includes Roque Santa Cruz and Paulo da Silva
Image: Ben Piven @ Flickr.