Today in Latin America
Top Story — Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said Thursday he won’t relinquish special legislative powers, which he hinted he might do earlier this week.
Facing a newly elected Congress with an increased opposition presence, Chávez earlier adopted a more conciliatory tone and offered to give up his power to rule by decree as early as May.
Chavez’s offer to reduce the period of time he has to enact laws by decree through the “Enabling Law” surprised opposition leaders, but the leftist president quickly changed his mind.
“I’m not going to return the Enabling Law,” Chávez said, speaking in a televised address, according to The Associated Press. “I made a call to encourage courteous and respectful dialogue, but look at their response.”
Opposition lawmakers note that Chávez’s allies gave him authority to legislate in a large number of areas including land-reform initiatives and Venezuela’s economic system and mocked the statement that Chávez requires special powers to aid those affected by the floods.
“It’s not necessary,” Paraqueima said in a telephone interview, according to The Associated Press. “If he needs an increased budget to help the homeless, we’d gladly approve it.”
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- A judge in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo has issued an arrest warrant for Mexican pop singer Kalimba, who is charged with raping a 17-year old girl.
- Police in Mexico say that Facebook posting led to the arrest of José Balderas Garza, who allegedly shot soccer player Salvador Cabañas in the head.
- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement attests that Atlanta is emerging as a hub in human trafficking along the East Coast.
- Lyglenson Lemorin, acquitted of all charges in the Liberty City Seven terrorism trial three years ago, was deported to Haiti early Thursday along with 26 Haitian nationals with criminal records in the United States.
- Four suspects were killed and another wounded Wednesday when Dominican police surprised them as they were robbing a home in the northeastern town of San Francisco de Macoris, authorities said.
- Former lawmaker Edgar Almengor Perez was slain Wednesday inside a shopping mall in the Guatemalan capital, authorities said.
- The Nicaraguan daily El Nuevo Diario on Wednesday said its reporters have received threats for reporting on cases of alleged corruption in the country’s leftist government.
- Canadian authorities arrested Guatemalan citizen Jorge Vinicio Orantes Sosa in a small western town on charges of participating in one of the worst atrocities of the Central American country’s 1960-1996 civil war.
- Colombian painter and sculptor Fernando Botero announced Thursday that his new work, Stations of the Cross, is set to be exhibited in New York in November.
- Paleontologists said Thursday they discovered the 85-million-year-old fossil of a previously unknown squid species from the Cretaceous era in the high jungle region of northeastern Peru.
- At least 38 indigenous people, 20 of them minors and the rest no older than 25, have turned in their weapons and left behind the Colombian armed conflict thanks to a program sponsored by the Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca, or ACIN.
- President Fernando Lugo gave orders to redouble efforts to arrest and shut down the the leftist rebel group, the Paraguayan People’s Army.
- A Swiss collector returned four pre-Columbian mummies to Chile, two of which are believed to be up to 7,000 years old.
- Petrobras, Brazil’s state-owned oil company, sold $6 billion in bonds of different maturities.
Image: Que Comunismo! @ Flickr.