Today in Latin America
Top Story — The presidential runoff in Haiti will delayed at least until the end of February, as the country awaits of report from the Organization of American States (OAS), who is reviewing the controversial results from the first round of voting.
The two-candidate runoff is supposed to be held January 16, but now looks to be decided after the constitutional end of current President René Préval’s term.
“The second round is not possible until the end of February,” said Pierre Thibault Junior, the spokesman for the provisional electoral council, according to The Washington Post.
The final outcome of the November 28 election has remained in question after violent protests broke out after the preliminary results and verified cases of fraud and disenfranchisement surfaced.
“It is not surprising if you consider the chaos that followed the vote on November 28 and the widespread claims of irregularity in voting centers across the country [which] just put the whole process into doubt,” said Sebastian Walker, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in the capital, Port-Au-Prince.
“The question now is how this will all play out on the streets … if you think back to the early days of December when [the election] results were put into doubt and the widespread protests that erupted across Haiti,” he added.
The presidential and legislative elections were held amid a widespread cholera epidemic and as the country is still grappling with the effects of last January’s earthquake.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Mexico added 730,348 jobs in 2010 during its economic recovery, which was 5.3 percent more than the number created in 2009, but unemployment fell only slightly to about 5 percent from a peak of 6.4 percent in September 2009.
- 69.5% of the Mexican population aged 15 and older is overweight or obese, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
- Colorado Governor Bill Ritter plans to sign into law a the Secure Communities program that will cracks down on illegal immigration by using fingerprints to check a person’s immigration status during jail bookings.
- After over 40 years living as a fugitive, Luis Armando Pena Soltren was sentenced to 15 years for his role in hijacking a Puerto Rican bound flight to Cuba in 1968.
- Authorities in the Dominican Republic accused a baseball scout of fraud and falsifying documents to obtain professional contracts for talented, young players, police said Tuesday.
- Cuba’s state-run tobacco company is suing a Detroit cigar store over use of the name “La Casa de la Habana.”
- The death toll from the firebombing of a bus rose to six Tuesday when one of the injured died at a hospital in the Guatemalan capital.
- Guatemala’s top security official says the Zetas drug gang from Mexico had set up an operations center in the border province of Alta Verapaz where the government declared a state of siege Dec. 19.
- El Salvador seized contraband, such as cigarettes, clothing, medicines and dairy products, and pirated goods worth nearly $30 million in 2010, the National Civilian Police said.
- Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez said on Tuesday that his government would not increase the South American country’s sales tax as had been expected, thanks to high global oil prices.
- A dispute over where to bury former Venezuelan president Carlos Andres Perez has been rekindled after some of his relatives denied agreeing to have the body transferred to Caracas.
- Government financial leaders in Venezuela, seeking to reassure any anxiety after the latest currency devaluation, said Tuesday they guarantee there will not be shortages of basic goods.
- A study has found up to three times the recommended level of mercury in Colombia’s Buenaventura Bay, a possible byproduct of illegal mining.
- A top Colombian official Tuesday urged the U.S. Congress to move forward on long-delayed plans for a free trade agreement, but fresh allegations of human rights violations by Colombia’s military gave further fuel to lawmakers in Washington who are against a deal.
- Bolivian President Evo Morales apologized for the burning of a Venezuelan flag during protests against an abrupt rise in fuel prices.
- The 2011 Dakar Rally is currently taking place in Argentina and Chile, where Spanish rider Marc Coma won the third stage in northern Argentina.
- South Korean Prime Minister Kim Hwang-Sik is in Uruguay for three days of talks to advance plans for a trade pact and to hear arguments to end Seoul’s ban on Uruguayan beef.
Image: Media Hacker @ Flickr.