Today in Latin America
Top Story — Poverty was the major talking point on the opening day of the United Nations summit on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“These Millennium Development Goals are a promise of world leaders,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, according to The Associated Press. “They’re a blueprint to help those most vulnerable and poorest people, to lift them out of poverty. This promise must be met.”
At the summit, Latin American leaders asked wealthy nations to democratize their economies to aid poorer countries.
“Access to international markets is as important as official development assistance,” Honduran President Porfirio Lobo said, according to the Spanish Language daily El Diario.
140 world leaders have convened at the United Nations in New York for the four day meeting to discuss achieving the MDGs agreed ten years ago to cut poverty.
The global financial crisis has caused setbacks and delays in development assistance from some rich nations that need to reduce budget gaps and focus on job losses at home.
Bolivian President Evo Morales said the current economic models are responsible for poverty and proposed that Latin American nations break away from the International Monetary Fund, while creating a system in the region to help developing countries without imposing conditions and structural adjustments.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that impoverished nations should not rely on handouts and need to take devleopment into their owns and ensure the resources are used properly.
A recent UN report shows that the world’s poorest nations, including some in Latin America, have made little headway in the fight against poverty. There has been little progress in boosting access to basic sanitation, reducing mother and child deaths and promoting women’s equality.
“The poorest people … are the ones without a voice. They’re the ones without water, sanitation. They’re the ones that are at the receiving end of violence,” Amnesty International Secretary-General Salil Shetty tol The Associated Press.
Other Top News: The Senate voted to stall the DREAM Act on Tuesday, which had been inserted as an amendment to the defense appropriations bill. Latin America News Dispatch contributor Raisa Camargo reports from Washington.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- A new book launched last week traces the history of New York City’s Hispanic community. Roque Planas reports.
- Cuban-American composer and bassist Israel “Cachao” López is the subject of Monday’s PBS “American Masters” series. See the video here.
- Molly O’Toole shares some images from her recent 852-mile, 72-hour trip across the Southwest border, from San Diego, California to Arizona and back in this photo essay.
- At a recent talk in Washington, D.C. with Janet Napolitano and Hispanic leaders, hopes for immigration reform faded, while the Obama administration emphasizes advances in security. Raisa Camargo has more.
- The number of undocumented immigrants coming to the United States is on the decline. Read about it at Alison Bowen’s blog, Beyond Borders.
- The extradition of key Colombian paramilitary leaders to the United States is disrupting a historic amnesty program intended to demobilize units and deliver basic information, such as the location of bodies, to victims’ relatives. ProPublica explains in this investigative report.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- A landslide buried several cars and killed at least five people in the latest disaster blamed on weeks of heavy rains that have caused havoc in central and southern Mexico, authorities said Tuesday.
- A Mexican journalist threatened by drug gangs said on Tuesday he had been granted political asylum in the United States to escape the cartels’ increasingly violent campaign to silence the media.
- Hundreds of crocodiles reported to have escaped from a breeding centre in Mexico during Hurricane Karl are still contained in a nature reserve, Mexico’s environment agency has said.
- Wyclef Jean has officially ended his bid for Haiti’s presidency, announcing Tuesday that he is leaving Haitian politics to promote a new album.
- Advocates of easing restrictions on travel and trade with Cuba have not given up on legislation this year, the chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee said on Monday.
- Dotted with active volcanoes, Central America is seeking to tap its unique geography to produce green energy and cut dependence on oil imports as demand for electricity outstrips supply.
- Immigration officials say 39 undocumented immigrants from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Somalia and the Philippines were detained in San Diego County during a three-day effort to catch fugitives linked to crimes and pending deportation orders.
- Some 330,000 Guatemalans will need food aid over the coming months, just to be able to subsist, according to a new United Nations study.
- Union leaders demanded that the Honduran government open an investigation into the murder of Juana Suyapa Bustillo, president of the union of social security workers, who was fatally shot this weekend.
- El Salvador’s president Mauricio Funes has ratified a law banning ultraviolent mara youth gangs, criminal organisations and the “social extermination” groups that claim to combat them, in a bid to stem a spiralling murder rate.
- Costa Rica’s economy is expected to post solid growth of 4.5 percent this year and 5 percent in 2011 as it continues to invest in infrastructure and open up the telecommunications industry, the country’s president said on Tuesday.
- Peru’s sol strengthened for the first time in four days as concern that investors may shun the nation’s assets on political volatility eased.
- A former referee involved in Italy’s controversial elimination from the 2002 World Cup was caught arriving from his native Ecuador at Kennedy Airport with bags of heroin attached to his body, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.
- The estranged second husband of Ingrid Betancourt has filed court papers seeking half her fortune just as the world’s most celebrated ex-hostage launches a memoir about her six years in jungle captivity.
- Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner sued the heads of newspapers Clarín and La Nación over what the government contends was an illegal sale of the newsprint producer Papel Prensa at the outset of the country’s 1976-1983 dictatorship.
- A Chilean former guerrilla is being held temporarily in Argentina while the Fernández de Kirchner government decides whether he should be extradited back to Chile to face charges for a 1991 murder and kidnapping.
- Brazil’s real posted its greatest one-day gain in two months on Tuesday.
- A 62 year-old Italian was arrested in Brazil after accruing $259,000 in traffic fines, mostly for speeding.
Image: United Nations Photo @ Flickr.