Today in Latin America
Top Story — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other dignitaries from throughout Latin America began a meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) Sunday in Peru.
Besides stopping in Peru for the meeting, Clinton also plans to visit Ecuador, Colombia and Barbados.
One of the main underlying tensions at the OAS meeting will be the question of whether to allow Honduras back into the organization, after it was ousted following that usurped then-President Manuel Zelaya. After the election of current Honduran President Porfirio Lobo, Clinton said the Obama administration favors permitting Honduras back into the OAS.
“President Lobo has done everything he has said he would do,” Clinton told reporters Sunday, according to The Associated Press. “He has been very committed to pursuing a policy of reintegration.”
Clinton will face opposition to her stance on Honduras, especially from Brazil, Venezuela and Nicaragua.
Ties have recently been strained between the U.S. and Brazil, especially concerning the issue of Iran. The Obama administration said it hopes to put to a U.N. Security Council vote this week the idea of more sanctions on Iran, while Brazil would like more time for diplomacy.
The Obama administration has faced some difficulties in Latin America as the early promises close cooperation, easing treatment toward Cuba and immigration reform have not yet materialized.
“The expectations in the region ran way ahead of reality and there is a certain disappointment and cynicism that has set it,” said Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Washington, D.C.-based Council of the Americas, according to Reuters.
Along with easing tensions between Latin American and the U.S, Clinton’s four day trip will also include talks in Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa and outgoing Colombian President Álvaro Uribe about trade agreements and drug-trafficking.
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Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- A new U.S. Customs and Border Protection report says that Border Patrol agents face far less danger than city police in most U.S. cities.
- Mexican stocks closed low on Friday, due in large part to the euro-zone debt worries and a U.S. Labor Department’s monthly jobs report showing only a small gain in in private-sector hiring
- Police announced a 24-hour curfew in areas of Kingston, Jamaica, as they continue their search for alleged drug lord Christopher “Dudus” Coke.
- Cuban security forces arrested 38 people on Thursday and Friday who had gathered for a meeting at the house of Héctor Palacios, a prominent dissident. They were later released without charges.
- Disposing of the rubble from the Jan. 12 earthquake continues to pose serious problems in Haiti.
- Neighbors living near the sinkhole that opened in a Guatemala City neighborhood say that they are anxious about returning to their homes while the sinkhole remains unfilled and covered with a tarp.
- Honduras’ readmission to the OAS is not on the agenda of the regional organization’s upcoming General Assembly in Lima, Peru this Monday.
- Members of the Yamata indigenous group in Nicaragua occupied an international airport in the country’s north on Friday, demanding the fulfillment of an agreement they made with the government last week.
- El Salvador and Russia discussed opening their respective embassies during a visit of the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister to San Salvador last Thursday.
- Colombian military planes allegedly killed six FARC guerrillas during a raid in the southern Caquetá state.
- Cases of malaria in Venezuela have doubled this year as health officials try to tackle an epidemic in the country’s southern region.
- Arne Backstrom, a 29-year old free skier, died after a fall in Peru while leading a group of skiers down a mountain.
- An indigenous group in Bolivia handed over the bodies of two policemen they hanged on charges of extortion.
- A survey released Saturday showed that Brazilian presidential candidates Dilma Rousseff and José Serra are currently tied in the polls.
- The adopted children of Argentine newspaper editor Ernestina Herrera de Noble are fighting the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo in court, arguing that the human rights group has invaded their privacy by issuing a court order for DNA samples that would prove their origins.
- Uruguayan President José Mujica may be the poorest world leader, according to a recently reported income declaration that estimates Mujica’s wealth at $1,900 in the form of a 1987 Volkswagen Beetle.
- Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo encouraged the Paraguayan World Cup team to represent their absent teammate Salvador Cabañas, who is still recovering from being shot in the head four and half months ago.
Image: Nrbelex @ Flickr.