Today in Latin America
Top Story — Oliver Stone spoke at the Buenos Aires School of Law Thursday, as part of a trip to promote his new film “South of the Border.” The film is based on interviews with Cuban head of state Raúl Castro and the presidents of Venezuela, Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay.
At the talk on Thursday, Stone praised former president of Argentina Néstor Kirchner and his wife, current president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, saying they were “much more liberal” than Bill and Hillary Clinton, according to Spanish news wire EFE.
Stone has been in South America since last week, visiting Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay, as well as Argentina.
Stone met informally with Brazilian Workers’ Party presidential candidate Dilma Rousseff on Thursday, according to Reuters.
Stone’s film compares U.S. media coverage of Latin America’s leftward turn in recent years with the director’s own interpretation of the region’s recent history.
Stone openly sympathizes with the region’s left-wing leadership and has also made a documentary called “Comandante” in 2003, which was based on a series of conversations with Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Stone directed a second documentary about Cuba called “Looking for Fidel” the following year.
Stone’s political sympathies notwithstanding, he also offered some gentle criticisms of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez.
“He shouldn’t be on television all the time,” Stone said at a press conference last Friday, according to The Associated Press. “As a director I say you don’t want to be overpowering. And I think he is sometimes that way.”
Stone will discuss “South of the Border” in Washington at a meeting of the National Press Club on June 23, along with screenwriters Tariq Ali and Mark Weisbrot, according to UPI.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- A case before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights may challenge Brazil’s amnesty law, which shields people from punishment for political crimes committed during the military dictatorship.
- Silvio Rodríguez visits the United States for the first time in 30 years. The Latin America News Dispatch reports on the press conference he gave in New York City on Tuesday.
- Supporters of the DREAM Act started a hunger strike outside Senator Charles Schumer’s Manhattan office. Alison Bowen reports in the latest installment of Beyond Borders.
- Human rights organization Amnesty International called upon the Peruvian government to drop all charges against indigenous leader Alberto Pizango.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Police in Texas seized 147 assault rifles, 53 bayonets and more than 10,000 rounds of ammunition in Laredo allegedly being smuggled to drug cartels in Mexico.
- A joint U.S.-Mexican government study suggests that the money earned by Mexican drug cartels in the United States is smuggled back into Mexico and laundered through cash purchases.
- A summit of solidarity on Haiti’s future held in the Dominican Republic called upon the international community to follow through on its pledges to support Haiti’s recovery from the Jan. 12 earthquake.
- A major drought has left Cuba’s reservoirs at 40 percent of capacity.
- The CARICOM Secretary General said he approved of Belize’s decision to abolish appeals to the British Privy Council and instead direct cases to the Caribbean Court of Justice.
- An eight year-old Vermont girl and her mother are believed to have escaped to El Salvador following a custody dispute with the mother’s partner.
- Geologists say that the giant sinkhole in Guatemala City was created by a burst sewer pipe or storm drain that hollowed out a cavity under the city.
- Somali troops freed a Panama-flagged cargo ship during a shootout after pirates took over the ship in the Gulf of Aden and killed the ship’s captain.
- Coal miners in Colombia who work for Glencore will vote Friday whether to strike over working conditions.
- Officials in Venezuela found almost 1,200 shipping containers full of rotten food in a state-run warehouse and arrested a former official in the government’s food distribution network.
- Peru and Ecuador will sign letters of intent next week for an $800 million oil pipeline connection as both country’s aim to boost oil production.
- Coca leaf eradication has declined in Bolivia under the presidency of Evo Morales but seizures of cocaine have doubled, according to a government report.
- A meeting Wednesday between Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Uruguayan President José Mujica brought the two countries closer to resolving their four year-long dispute over a paper mill on the Río Uruguay.
- Joran van der Sloot, a 22 year-old Dutch man implicated in the disappearance of American teenager Natalee Holloway in 2005, was arrested in Chile Wednesday after a young Peruvian woman named Stephany Flores was found dead in a hotel room reserved under van der Sloot’s name.
- The trial of five former military officers in Argentina accused of kidnapping, torture, and murder under Operation Condor during the 1970s and 80s will focus on Automotores Orletti, a garage used as a torture center during Argentina’s dictatorship.
- The president of Paraguay’s Olympic Committee survived an assassination attempt Thursday by an unknown gunman.
- Brazilian soccer star Adriano was questioned by police Wednesday about his ties to drug trafficking in the Vila Cruzeiro favela in Rio de Janeiro.
Image: Chavezcandanga @ Flickr.