Today in Latin America
Top Story — The presidents of Venezuela and Colombia agreed Tuesday to reestablish diplomatic relations at a meeting in the city of Santa Marta, on Colombia’s Caribbean coast.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez pledged to keep Colombian rebels out of his country and the two countries will establish joint committees to study the problem, according to remarks by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos that were reported by Bloomberg.
Chávez cut diplomatic relations with Colombia three weeks ago, following accusations presented by the Colombian government to the Organization of American States that the Venezuelan government was harboring leftist rebels in its territory.
Chávez denies aiding rebels and at Tuesday’s meeting once again said he does not allow guerrillas or drug traffickers to operate in Venezuela.
The diplomatic rupture was just the latest in a series of spats that have undermined bilateral relations for two years.
Colombia’s new president, a conservative and close ally of outgoing Álvaro Uribe, has begun his tenure in office by striking a more moderate tone than his predecessor. He said at his inauguration that he would work to improve strained relations with neighboring Venezuela and Ecuador, and he said he remained open to the possibility of negotiating with the FARC.
Chávez gave Santos a biography of independence hero Simón Bolívar by nineteenth-century Venezuelan writer Felipe Larrazábal as a birthday present, Colombian daily El Espectador reports. The presidents held their meeting at the Quinta San Pedro Alejandrino, the house where Bolívar died in 1830.
Other Top News: Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that all 31 of the country’s states must recognize same-sex marriages performed in the capital.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- Alison Bowen discusses the Arizona immigration law’s ripple effects in the latest post to her blog Beyond Borders.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that other Mexican states must respect a law legalizing gay marriage in Mexico City by recognizing all same-sex unions performed under the law.
- A tropical depression is forming over the Gulf of Mexico, disrupting repair efforts for the ruptured BP well and threatening to turn into a tropical storm.
- Mexicana de Aviación’s CEO said the airline would not survive without a $100-$150 million infusion from investors.
- Jamaican world sprint sensation Usain Bolt on Tuesday ruled himself out of the rest of the 2010 season because of a back problem that affects his striding power.
- President Obama may act to reduce some travel restrictions to Cuba, even if Congress does not vote to lift the travel ban this year.
- The arrest warrants issued for eighteen Guatemalan former prison officials wanted in the extra-judicial killings of seven prisoners in 2006 have caused former prison head and political opposition leader Alejandro Giammattei to take refuge from “political persecution” in the Honduran Embassy.
- World Bank data shows that El Salvador’s high crime rates make it the worst country for business losses in Latin America.
- A Nicaraguan version of Spain’s famous Running of the Bulls festival was launched in the town of Granada.
- A renegotiated financing deal for Quito’s new international airport was officially signed late Monday night.
- The planned integration of the Chilean, Colombian and Peruvian stock markets still faces significant regulatory hurdles, a Chilean analyst said Tuesday.
- Doctors said Tuesday that Colombian Vice President Angelino Garzón may be able to return to work in a month, after undergoing successful undergoing emergency heart bypass surgery on Monday. (Spanish)
- Brazil’s ambassador in Tehran has formally extended an offer of asylum to the Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for alleged infidelity.
- Chile’s mining minister reported that holes drilled to provide 33 trapped miners with aid and supplies has probably missed its intended mark, making a rescue even more unlikely.
- A report released by Human Rights Watch criticized Argentina for its policies on women’s health and reproductive rights.
Image: Globovisión @ Flickr.