Today in Latin America
Top Story — A popular Brazilian clown who got more votes than any other candidate for the country’s congress might be barred from taking his post, unless he convinces authorities that he can read and write.
In a ruling by Sao Paulo electoral court, Tiririca, whose real name is Francisco Silva, must meet the constitutional mandate that federal lawmakers be literate to take office. He will have 10 days after being notified to prove his literacy in a written defense.
Judge Aloisio Sergio Rezende Silveira also overturned another magistrate’s decision to throw out the lawsuit against Tiririca after hearing that forensic examination revealed concerns over whether it was his handwriting on his official electoral application.
A week before the election, Epoca magazine reported that coworkers on Tiririca’s show said that he was illiterate and a video posted on the magazine’s website shows a reporter reading questions from an election poll to the famous clown. When asked to read one of the questions himself, Tiririca becomes visibly upset before campaign aides rush in to assist him.
Tiririca became internationally famous when he won a congressional seat representing Sao Paulo last Sunday in Brazil’s general elections. He picked-up 1.3 million votes, more than any other candidate nationwide.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- Photojournalist James Rodríguez explores the controversy surrounding Goldcorp’s Peñasquito Mine in Mazapil, Mexico.
- Congress postponed a vote on a bill that would ease restrictions on Americans traveling to Cuba. Raisa Camargo reports from Washington.
- With Venezuela having gone through historic parliamentary elections on Sunday, Juan Fajardo takes a look at how both supporters and opponents of Hugo Chávez have used marches and street protests to vie for control of public space in this photo essay.
- A new government program aims to make Chile a heaven for start-ups. David Mauro has the story.
- With Brazil’s election season in full swing, Hugo Passarello Luna takes a look Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva’s presidency.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- By 2013, according to an Obama administration plan, everyone in the United States who is arrested and fingerprinted will undergo an immigration check. Suspects’ names and fingerprints will be run not just through criminal databases but compared against immigration records, too, through a program that is being steadily and rapidly rolled out across the country.
- Shares of Mexican media conglomerate Grupo Televisa opened sharply higher Tuesday after the company unveiled plans to take a stake in U.S. Spanish-language broadcaster Univision Communications Inc., while expanding and extending their programming license agreement.
- Mexican authorities are still searching for 20 missing men who were reportedly abducted by gunmen while looking for a place to stay in the resort town of Acapulco, state media reported.
- Cuba has already promised to fire a half-million state workers and reshape its communist economy. Now universal free education and health care, the very building blocks of the 1959 revolution that swept Fidel Castro to power, could face cutbacks.
- A police officer in Puerto Rico was charged with murder Tuesday for allegedly chasing a man down with his pickup truck while off duty and shooting him in the back as the victim tried to flee.
- Guatemalan President Álvaro Colom on Monday formed a committee to investigate how U.S. scientists could have deliberately infected Guatemalans with sexually transmitted diseases from 1946-1948.
- Two children have died from hemorrhagic dengue in Honduras, raising the death toll from the disease to 74, a health official said.
- Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes said Monday that his visit to Cuba is intended to repair the “historic sin” of earlier administrations of his country and he said he supported building a relationship of mutual benefit with the island from a “pragmatic and realistic” position.
- The death toll caused by rains in Nicaragua in the last weeks rose to 66, Civil Defense officials said Monday.
- Vegetable production in Costa Rica will lose more than us$40 million this year due to continuing rains in Central Americaand the collapse of its road infrastructure, according to industry sources.
- Vice Public Security Minister Jorge Chavarría was selected chief prosecutor Monday, with 14 of the 22 votes in the plenary assembly of the Supreme Court of Justice.
- Colombia’s competition authority on Tuesday placed conditions on the proposed $452 million acquisition by Philip Morris International Inc. of a Colombian cigarette manufacturer.
- Banco Davivienda, Colombia’s third largest bank by assets, climbed 36% in its debut in the local stock exchange, a sign of the growing appetite in the country for new listings.
- Colombia’s largest coal exporter, Cerrejón, said on Tuesday heavy rains would impact coal output this year and that the firm planned to expand production some 25 percent to 40 million tonnes annually by 2014.
- Madrid vowed Tuesday to press Caracas over the case of suspected ETA fighters who say they received weapons training in Venezuela, as the nation’s ambassador cast doubt on the confessions.
- Ecuador’s government extended a state of alert on Tuesday and soldiers replaced the police as the force that guards Congress after a deadly revolt by some officers last week over a new law cutting their bonuses.
- The Argentine Supreme Court upheld an earlier decision suspending Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s order to shut down a Grupo Clarin-owned Internet service provider.
- Chilean miners stopped working Tuesday at Chile’s Toqui mine in expectation of new union negotiations with mine owner Breakwater Resources.
- A wave of Mennonite settlers in Paraguay’s Chaco region put the large virgin forest land at greater risk of deforestation, according to recent satellite imagery.
Image: Visionshare @ Flickr.