Today in Latin America
Top Story — Argentina became the first Latin American nation on Thursday to legalize same-sex marriage and grant the same legal rights, responsibilities and protections that marriage brings to heterosexuals.
After protests throughout the country from supporters on both sides of the issue, the Argentine Senate approved the measure in a 33-27 vote, with three abstentions. President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner said that she would sign the law quickly.
“From today onward, Argentina is a more just and democratic country,” said Maria Rachid, president of the Argentine Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender federation, according to the Associated Press.
The vote was passed at 4:05 a.m. Thursday morning after a 14 hour debate and hundreds of supporters of the law who waited outside of the Argentine Congress erupted in cheers when the decision was announced.
“If we think that 50 years ago women could not vote and not that long ago in the US you couldn’t have interracial marriages, and that in Argentina the only way to get married was in the church, and we found a way to change all that, we can say this is a positive step that defends the rights of minorities,” Fernández de Kirchner said, according to the Irish Times.
Many view Fernández de Kirchner and her husband, former President Nestor Kirchner’s support of the bill as a political risk. While the bill had a great deal of support in the capital of Buenos Aires, that was not the case in many other parts of the mainly Roman Catholic country.
“I speak from my religious formation, Catholic, but we aspire with all our strength for the Church to become more modern,” Nestor de Kirchner said, according to the Buenos Aires Herald.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- Alleged spy Vicky Pelaez plans to leave Russia and return to her native Peru. Read more about the Peruvian-born columnist for New York’s Spanish daily El Diario La Prensa who is caught up in the Russian spy ring at Alison Bowen’s blog Beyond Borders.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Two NBA teams, the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Clippers, will play a preseason game in Mexico City on Oct. 12.
- Mexican President Felipe Calderón named Jose Francisco Blake Mora as his new interior minister. Mora is the fourth interior minister of Calderón’s administration.
- France´s Foreign Ministry says it is considering legal action against the alleged perpetrators of an internet hoax that claimed France would repay a $21 billion indemnity to Haiti, based on a 125 year-old claim.
- The Christian Science Monitor profiles an entrepreneurship program run by nuns in the Dominican Republic to build new lives for sex workers by training them as beauticians and other professions.
- Facing increaing violent crime rates, Caribbean nations are turning to foreign police chiefs for assistance.
- Cuban political prisoners recently released and sent to Spain criticized Cuba´s jail conditions at a press conference on Thursday.
- The Salvadoran legislature is considering a bill that may ensure greater government transparency and access to public information if passed.
- A farmer in Minnesota was accused of selling moldy kidney beans to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for U.S. AID’s Food for Work program in Honduras.
- Archeologists in Guatemala announced Thursday that they have discovered the tomb of a Mayan king beneath a pyramid in El Zotz.
- President of Venezuela Hugo Chávez announced that he will review his country’s diplomatic ties with the Vatican as members of the Venezuelan clergy have grown increasingly vocal in their criticism of the president.
- After a falling-out over a cancelled business contract, the brother of President of Ecuador Rafael Correa, Fabricio Correa, announced that he will form an opposition party to challenge his brother in the next elections.
- President of Colombia Alvaro Uribe said that members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are hiding in Venezuela.
- The Bolivian government acknowledged that Bolivian drug clans are tied to the Los Zetas cartel in Mexico.
- A painting by famous Brazilian artist Candido Portinari was stolen Wednesday from a museum in Olinda in northeastern Brazil.
- The Argentine Football Association announced that it would offer a new four-year contract to soccer legend Diego Maradona, who coached the national team in this year’s World Cup.
- Paraguay is now one of the world’s top eight beef producers, according to an Argentine expert.
Image: Globovisión @ Flickr.