Today in Latin America
Top Story — Guatemala’s first lady announced Tuesday that she will enter the race to succeed her husband, President Álvaro Colom.
Sandra Torres de Colom confirmed that she plans be the candidate for the ruling National Unity for Hope party in elections this September. The announcement was widely expected, but some argue that Torres’ run violates a constitutional clause that makes president’s relatives ineligible to seek the nation’s top office.
“It is an unconstitutional candidacy, but we will have to go through all the processes that the law requires,” said former General Otto Pérez Molina, the candidate for the right wing opposition Patriot Party, according to The BBC.
Torres’ lawyers argue that the ban infringes on the right of all Guatemalans to stand for election and she said that she was responding to “popular clamour” for her.
She did not explain how she would resolve the apparent constitutional ban on her candidacy.
“My commitment is to create jobs and progress for all. To seek economic development with social inclusion. To dedicate myself to the fight against crime, drug trafficking, street gangs and organized crime,” Torres said, according to Fox News.
Since Colom took office in 2008, Torres has directed the Social Cohesion Council, which is responsible for promoting a series of programs to fight poverty. Her work has won her a devoted following among the benefited communities.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- The 20-year-old woman police chief fired after abandoning her post in one of Mexico’s most dangerous drug war towns is in the U.S., according to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
- A shootout between gunmen from drug gangs left 18 people dead in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas.
- Workers at the Chipotle restaurant chain in the Washington D.C. area have begun to leave their jobs now that U.S. immigration officials are auditing restaurants in the area.
- Eight new U.S. airports have received approval to carry charter flights to Cuba.
- Almost 60 years after being wounded in the Korean War, Puerto Rico-born Tomas Lozada on Monday in Chicago received his Purple Heart.
- A group of students on Monday accosted the chancellor of the University of Puerto Rico’s main Rio Piedras campus in San Juan.
- Haitian election officials say providing help for voters and better-educated poll workers will ensure fairness in the upcoming presidential runoff election.
- A preliminary ruling today by the International Court of Justice on a tense border conflict between Costa Rica and Nicaragua is allowing both sides to claim victory and helping to defuse a high-stakes showdown.
- A former Venezuelan judge, whose arrest for corruption has been condemned by activists and opposition political leaders, is unlikely to face a fair trial, advocacy group Human Rights Watch warned Tuesday.
- Colombian troops on Tuesday forced rebels to free all but one of 23 oil contractors working for Canada’s Talisman Energy after they were snatched a day earlier in a rare mass kidnapping, authorities said.
- Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos urged the U.S. on Tuesday to ratify the stalled free trade agreement as it stands, though his administration signaled a willingness to consider U.S. demands on labor issues.
- Chevron Corp. scored a major legal victory last night when a federal judge ruled that plaintiffs who won an $8.6 billion judgment for pollution in Ecuador cannot seek to collect damages in the United States or in other countries.
- A recent report projected that Argentina’s defense spending could increase from $2.6 billion in 2010 to $5.5 billion in 2015 as the country is being courted by arms suppliers from China, Russia and elsewhere.
- The foreign ministers of Brazil and India struck a deal Tuesday that would send more Brazilian soccer trainers to India and Indian cattle products to Brazil.
- Four mummies from Chile will be repatriated from Switzerland to the San Miguel de Azapa archaeological museum after an anonymous private collector turned them over to the Swiss government.
- A poisonous spider found in Brazil could be marketed as the next Viagra after U.S. researchers found that it can treat impotence.
Image: Gobierno de Guatemala @ Flickr.