Today in Latin America
Top Story — Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said she was angry at Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for comments she made during an interview with an Ecuadorean television about the state’s controversial immigration law.
During the interview, which aired in Ecuador on June 8 and began circulating throughout the U.S. on Thursday, Clinton said that the Justice Department will take legal action against the law and that President Barack Obama believes the federal government should determine immigration policy.
“President Obama has spoken out against the law because he thinks that the federal government should be determining immigration policy. And the Justice Department, under his direction, will be bringing a lawsuit against the act,” Clinton said, according to FOXNews.com.
In a statement released Thursday, Brewer said she she was upset by Clinton’s comments that a lawsuit would be filed and angered that she had to learn about it from the Ecuadorean interview.
“To learn of this lawsuit through an Ecuadorean interview with the Secretary of State is just outrageous,” Brewer said in the statement, according to CNN. “If our own government intends to sue our state to prevent illegal immigration enforcement, the least it can do is inform us before it informs the citizens of another nation.”
The Arizona law, called the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, requires police officers to check the immigration status of people they stop, if there is reason to suspect that they are undocumented immigrants. The law also restricts the hiring or transportation of day laborers, and allows for lawsuits against government agencies not enforcing immigration laws.
Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler declined to comment Thursday on whether the department would sue, but said that the department has been looking into possible civil rights violations in the law for the past few weeks.
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley stated that both Obama and Clinton have made it clear that the administration is not in favor of Arizona’s law.
“I will defer to the Justice Department on the legal steps that are available and where they stand on the review of the law,” Crowley said, according to the Associated Press. “The secretary believes that comprehensive immigration reform is a better course of action.”
Below is a YouTube video of the interview in Spanish.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- Documented immigrants should not be deported for minor drug infractions, the Supreme Court says. Read more at Alison Bowen’s “Beyond Borders” blog.
- Displacement of peasants by armed actors continues to plague Colombia, according to Marco Romero of the Consultancy for Human Rights and Displacement (CODHES). Mike Samras reports on Romero’s talk in Washington.
- Also, WOLA announced a second death threat from a Colombian paramilitary group for its work with displaced people.
- Check out this weekend’s World Cup schedule and the Latin America News Dispatch staff picks to win it all.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Mexico’s World Cup squad beat France, 2-0, with goals from Javier Hernández and Cuauhtemoc Blanco.
- Tropical Storm Blas has formed off Mexico’s southwestern coast, but no coastal watches or warnings have been issued.
- The Cuban Catholic leadership, which has been playing a more prominent role in politics of late, hopes that Pope Benedict XVI will visit the country in 2012.
- Former President Bill Clinton, the world’s richest man Carlos Slim, and Canadian mining magnate Frank Guistra announced a $20 million fund to support the expansion and creation of Haitian businesses on Thursday.
- Students declared victory in a dispute with the University of Puerto Rico on Wednesday, ending a two-month strike at the University of Puerto.
- According to the International Monetary Fund, Guatemala’s economy may grow more than 2 percent this year due to Álvaro Colom’s government’s curtailing of stimulus spending.
- A panel in front of a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee asked Latin American nations, in particular Honduras, to protect journalists from violence.
- Rubén Darío Granda, the brother of FARC leader Rodrigo Granda, arrived in Nicaragua after President Daniel Ortega granted him political asylum.
- An explosion in a coal mine in the northwestern Colombian state of Antioquia killed 16 people and left dozens more trapped.
- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavéz’s government will use $1 billion from its foreign reserves as a way to pay its backlog of requests from importers for U.S. dollars.
- Activist Lori Berenson, recently paroled in Peru, apologized to the country for her involvement with the leftist rebel Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA).
- Authorities in Ecuador found a body that maybe that of a missing Australian woman, who went missing after a buggy she was traveling in ran off the road in the mountainous region of Baños.
- A deal between Russia’s Gazprom OAO and Bolivia’s national petroleum company Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB) to explore for natural gas is close to being finalized, according to YPFB.
- Argentine activists voted to lift a four-year blockade of a bridge to neighboring Uruguay, in protest against a factory that activists accuse of polluting the river.
- Paraguayan Interior Minister Rafael Filizzola said two police officers were killed in a confrontation with guerrillas.
- Logging of tropical forests can increase malaria rates up to 50 percent, according to a new study tracking deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon.
- Chile’s government may sell more bonds to finance earthquake reconstruction if Congress rejects a proposal to change mining royalties, according to a statement by Finance Minister Felipe Larrain.
Image: Sundials by Carmichael @ Flickr.