Today in Latin America
Top Story — The Ecuadoran government sent six tons of water and food to the Galapagos Islands, after the area was hit by a tsunami caused by the earthquake off Japan.
The aid was shipped on Monday to 260 families on the islands of Santa Cruz and San Cristobal after their fishing boats and livelihoods were destroyed by the tsunami.
Police initially reported no major damages on the islands, which lay 620 miles off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean.
Water from the tsunami came up to a third of a mile inland in the Galapagos, causing minor damage to homes and docks as well as merging a lagoon with the sea.
The islands are home to unique animal species that were the inspiration for Charles Darwin’s ideas on evolution.
The massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami that struck off the coast of Japan also forced many Latin American nations with coastlines on the Pacific ocean to close ports, oil pipelines, roads and schools.
Chile closed its northern ports of Iquique and Antofagasta, Mexico shut down three ports and Ecuador’s state oil company PetroEcuador suspended crude oil shipments.
On the Galapagos, tour operators Lindblad Expeditions, which keeps two ships in the islands year-round, ordered them to stay away from the coast with their guests aboard.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Mexican soldiers killed four alleged kidnappers during a gunfight at a ranch in northeast Mexico.
- Two judges rejected a bid to stop the Mexican screenings of the documentary “Presumed Guilty,” which criticizes the country’s justice system.
- Cuba is devaluing its currency by about 8 percent compared to the US dollar as part of efforts to revive the economy.
- Haiti’s two presidential candidates on Monday dismissed concerns that the return of exiled former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide would disrupt the election.
- Environmentalists are protesting the risk of building a 93-mile pipeline in Puerto Rico because of possible natural disasters.
- Guatemalans who were deliberately infected with syphilis and gonorrhea in medical tests during the 1940s are suing the US government for compensation.
- A mob of indigenous people lynched two suspected thieves in Guatemala’s northwestern Huehuetenango province.
- FARC guerrillas attacked a Colombian military base over the weekend in Putumayo, a province on the border with Ecuador.
- Peruvian presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori said on Tuesday if elected she would set aside a personal grudge and work to strengthen the judicial system with the judge who jailed her father.
- Peruvian rear admiral and another military officer were wounded when guerrillas attacked their helicopter in a coca-growing region.
- Floods in southern and southeastern Brazil forced aroud 31,000 people to flee their homes.
- Argentina’s ruling coalition, Frente Para la Victoria, won the governorship of the Andean province of Catamarca on Sunday.
- Paraguay’s Ambassador to Armenia presented Monday his credentials to Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian.
Image: pdvos @ Flickr.