Today in Latin America
Top Story — United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the U.S. will not suspend aid to Haiti after meetings in the capital of Port-au-Prince on Sunday. Rumors had surfaced that the the U.S. would cut off aid to push Haiti to accepts the recommendations made by the Organization of American States (OAS) to settle the electoral crisis.
Clinton made the statement after meeting with the three leading candidates and the outgoing President René Préval. The final results of the disputed first round of the election are expected on Wednesday.
While aid will still be given to Haiti, Clinton did urge the country to adopt the OAS report and said that the United States has “made it very clear ” that it supports the findings.
Clinton arrived in Port-au-Prince on Sunday for back-to-back meetings with the three presidential candidates and Préval. Her visit comes at a time when many fear that Haiti could plunge into political instability as elections officials prepare to announce on Wednesday the final results of the presidential and legislative elections.
“The international community has been very clear and I’m going to be carrying that message, but I will also be listening. And if there are ideas that we should follow-up on, we will take those into account,” Clinton said before the meetings, according to Fox News.
Clinton also addressed Haiti’s cholera epidemic, which has killed more than 4,000 Haitians since October. The epidemic is now receding.
“I want to first of all express my great appreciation and admiration for everyone working to stem and then reverse the cholera epidemic,” Clinton said, according to AFP. “It’s a good news story to the extent that the numbers are diminishing but it’s by no means over. They are still admitting patients, as they did today.”
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Voters in Mexico’s Guerrero state gave the leftist Party of Democratic Revolution (PRD) victory over the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), in one of six state elections ahead of next year’s presidential race.
- Mexican authorities aid that six bodies found outside the northern city of Monterrey were so badly burned that they couldn’t determine the cause of death, but believe they were executions.
- Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas returned home after being taken to the hospital with chest pains following his third arrest in 48 hours, his mother said.
- A sixth person died Saturday from a New Year’s Day blaze in Puerto Rico that police say was set by one of her relatives, as more than a dozen family members sat down for dinner.
- Costa Rican authorities say they have dismantled a cocaine smuggling network that used fishing vessels to ship drugs from Ecuador and Colombia through Central America and into Mexico.
- Three workers were killed during a robbery in La Pedrera, a district in northern Nicaragua, police said.
- At least five people were injured when a grenade exploded after it was thrown by unknown attackers into a bar in downtown San Salvador, the National Civil Police said.
- Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez said on Saturday he had no plans to nationalize the local unit of Spanish bank BBVA because a senior company official had apologized for his comments during a testy exchange.
- The Colombian navy says it has seized a boat smuggling more than a ton of cocaine.
- Three members of Ecuador’s governing coalition in Congress have withdrawn their support for President Rafael Correa over his plan to hold a voter referendum he says is aimed at reforming the justice system.
- At least six people died, 13 were injured and about 35 are missing in flooding that hit the southeastern Bolivian province of Chiquisaca, the governor of that region, Esteban Urquizo, said Sunday.
- Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff plans to visit neighboring Argentina this week, seeking a “new phase” in a long-time and occasionally rocky relationship between the two countries.
- A Chilean court suspended the a merger between Chilean airline LAN and Brazilian airline TAM.
Image: Rachel_Bunting @ Flickr.