Today in Latin America
Top Story — Shortly after polls closed Sunday night in Venezuela, the country’s ruling party claimed victory in the legislative elections.
Leaders from the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) claimed victory only minutes after polls closed at the 12,562 voting centers on Sunday at 6 p.m. local time. However, as of 10 p.m., the national electoral council (CNE) had yet to announce the winners after a busy day at the polls that saw about 70 percent of registered voters turnout.
Some unconfirmed exit polls taken by Venezuela’s COPEI opposition party show that the PSUV didn’t fair as well as they claimed. If the opposition coalition make any major gains, this could deprive President Hugo Chávez of the two-thirds majority he has had in the parliament for the last six years.
Lines began to form at voting stations long before sunrise and, with the exception of a few candidates being harassed and some reports of scattered violence, the vote went off amid considerable calm.
During the last general elections five years ago, opposition groups held a boycott and now hold only a few seats in Venezuela’s 165-member National Assembly. This year, opposition groups campaigned actively in the hope of gaining one-third of the seats, which is enough to block major legislation advancing Chavéz’s socialist program.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- With Brazil’s election season in full swing, Hugo Passarello Luna takes a look Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva’s presidency.
- Chile’s President, Sebastián Piñera, laid out an ambitious program to bring his country into the ranks of the developed world in a speech on Wednesday.
- Journalism in Mexico has become a dangerous job and has many people- from President Calderón to bloggers- wondering how to best to protect reporters.
- 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.
- Low-Wage Immigrant Workers Face Special Challenges & Risks, reports Alison Bowen in her blog, Beyond Borders.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- The Mexican military detained the alleged chief of the Zetas gang, Jose Angel Fernandez, in the resort city of Cancun.
- Mexican police arrested a suspected leader in the Sinaloa cartel, Margarito Soto Reyes, along with eight accomplices in the city of Guadalajara.
- The U.S. House majority leader said that Stephen Colbert embarrassed himself during last week’s testimony on immigration.
- Haitian workers in Dominican Republic’s top tourist resort killed a man in a clash with local residents after a fellow worker was shot dead by a building foreman in a pay dispute, police said on Sunday.
- Three federal officers who worked at South Florida airports are serving long prison sentences after using their positions to help a drug trafficker smuggle narcotics from the Dominican Republic.
- With countries’ vulnerability to natural disasters rising as their development levels fall, Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernández called Friday for the creation of a new global coalition under United Nations auspices of nations at risk of catastrophe to share experiences and knowledge.
- Thousands of volunteers scooped up beer cans, syringes, plastic bags and other trash on Puerto Rico’s coastline Saturday in an event intended to both clean the beaches and call attention to what activists and government officials say is a growing garbage problem.
- A weakened Tropical Storm Matthew drenched parts of Guatemala and Southern Mexico Sunday, after being downgraded to a tropical depression.
- The main suspect in the killing of 18 people in a shoe factory in Honduras died in a shootout with police near the city of San Pedro Sula.
- El Salvador’s former attorney general was released from jail, a week after being arrested for the illegal possession of an AK-47 assault rifle.
- New York City police said that the death of a Nicaraguan diplomat last Thursday could have been suicide, due to a recent HIV diagnosis.
- Police in Costa Rica are investigating the deaths of an American couple found Friday with their hands tied and plastic bags wrapped around their heads in an upscale apartment on the country’s Pacific coast.
- Panamanian police seized nearly eight tons of cocaine in two operations over the past week.
- Peruvian police say hundreds of student protesters toppled a perimeter wall at Cuzco’s airport, prompting flight suspensions and cancellations that stranded about 500 tourists.
- Experts in Colombia are trying to crack the codes to 15 computers and almost 100 memory sticks belonging to Colombia’s largest rebel group.
- A Chilean court froze the assets of San Esteban Mine Friday in order to repay the cost of rescuing the 33 miners trapped there since August 5.
- Paraguay’s health minister announced Friday that President Fernando Lugo’s lymphatic cancer is in retreat after the president’s third chemotherapy session in São Paulo, Brazil.
- An Argentine judge has suspended a government order to shut down Fibertel, the Internet service provider owned by Argentine newspaper company Clarín S.A.
- A 29 year-old Brazilian man survived a successful operation to remove a knife blade embedded in his head during a bar fight three years ago.
Image: Globovisión @ Flickr.