Today in Latin America
Top Story — Election officials in Haiti announced that the two candidates in upcoming run-off elections will be popular singer Michel Sweet “Micky” Martelly and former first lady Mirlande Manigat.
It was ruled on early Thursday that Martelly, not the government-backed candidate Jude Célestin, will be on the ballots to replace current President René Preval.
The decision was made as 100 journalists waited inside a defunct Gold’s Gym in Petionville as officials deliberated for more than 10 hours. At 7:34 a.m. elections spokesman Richardson Dumel announced the two candidates in the run-off.
The announcement followed the recommendation of the Organization of American States, whose analysis found widespread fraud, missing votes and altered tallies that put Célestin ahead of Martelly in the run-off.
The news of the run-off was met with praise from many in the international community who have been closely watching the election saga unfold.
“It’s a good day in Haiti today, again,” said U.S. ambassador to Haiti, Kenneth Merten, according to AFP. “I firmly believe that, we get the political situation back on track in terms of an elected, legitimately elected president and parliament, I think that will bring a feeling of stability to the country.”
The recent political uncertainty has added to Haiti’s problems as it tries to recover from last year’s devastating earthquake as well as a cholera outbreak. Adding to this was the return of former dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- The police chief in the the Mexican border city of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, was gunned down Wednesday night, but details of the incident have not been released.
- A Georgia state lawmaker on Thursday filed legislation that would require all private employers to use a federal database to check the immigration status of new hires.
- Cuba’s sugar harvest got off to a good start in January, state-run radio said on Thursday, as the country strains to top a million tonnes of raw sugar by May.
- The Farmers Association of Puerto Rico warned of the growing scarcity of food over the next five years if measures are not taken to increase local production.
- A doctor who offered plastic surgery in the Dominican Republic at low prices has been arrested in New York, authorities said.
- Last week, Panama began offering all tourists entering the country through Tocumen International Airport free “top level” medical insurance during their first 30 days in the country.
- More than 100,000 Colombian truckers began a strike Thursday that may affect exports and has become President Juan Manuel Santos’s biggest confrontational showdown since he took office six months ago.
- Around 30 troops were wounded early Thursday when leftist FARC rebels detonated explosives on a road in the northeastern Colombian province of Arauca, the military said.
- The Brazilian government plans to provide free medicines for everyone suffering from high blood pressure or diabetes.
- Uruguay plans to develop as many wind farms as its electricity grid can support to diversify energy supplies away from fossil fuel and hydropower.
- Scientists claim to have found fossils of the world’s largest prehistoric bear in Argentina.
- One survivor of the Chilean mine disaster voiced his thanks for the support the men heard during their crisis during Washington’s National Prayer Breakfast.