Today in Latin America
Top Story — Haiti’s election agency said Wednesday it will not release preliminary results of the recent runoff until Monday, citing higher than expected turnout and voter fraud as reasons for the four-day delay.
Head of the Provisional Electoral Council Widmack Matador said 1,518 tally sheets from the runoff vote raised suspicions and have been put aside for assessment because they were “visibly fraudulent,” Agence France-Presse reports. The number constitutes roughly 14 percent of the total tally sheets.
Matador declined to comment on whether the fraud could jeopardize the overall validity of the election between singer Michel Martelly and former first lady Mirlande Manigat. Both candidates are considered center-right.
The Council says it will announce the final result of the election on April 16.
Corruption marred the first round of Haiti’s presidential elections in November, leaving the results unclear and delaying the runoff for two months. Government-backed Jude Célestin originally came in second place, but got bumped to third after a review of the vote prompted by protests and allegations of fraud.
The winner of the election will face one of the toughest jobs in the hemisphere — rebuilding a country devastated by an earthquake that killed more 225,000 people and about one million people homeless.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- The United States government has offered a $5 million reward to find the shooter behind the February attack that left one Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent dead and another wounded in Mexico.
- The mayor of Garcia, a city in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, survived an attack by about 40 gunmen Tuesday night, but one of his bodyguards was killed.
- A 4-year old American girl, who was sent to Guatemala in an immigration dispute, returned to the United States on Wednesday.
- Federal documents show the Canadian government feared Haiti was at risk of a popular uprising following last year’s devastating earthquake.
- Cuba’s government accused the United States of creating non-governmental organizations whose true objective is to promote “subversion” and “to erode the order of civil society” on the Communist-ruled island.
- Gov. Luis Fortuño announced Monday that he wants to call Puerto Ricans to the polls twice in the space of a little more than a year to vote on the island’s status.
- A former Guatemalan interior minister appeared before Spain’s National Court to fight his extradition to Guatemala on charges of ordering the execution of 10 inmates.
- Widespread power failures hit Venezuela this week, leaving eight states including oil-producer Zulia without light for hours and causing chaos on the Caracas metro.
- The United States and Colombia are moving toward an agreement in talks on anti-union violence in Colombia that has blocked approval of a free trade deal.
- Two candidates in Peru’s presidential race, Ollanta Humala and Keiko Fujimori, could face each other in a run-off vote as a moderate majority splinters among three other candidates.
- A week-old strike at Bolivia’s San Cristobal mine paralyzed production and exports of silver, zinc and lead, a union leader said on Wednesday.
- Former Brazilian vice president Jose Alencar, who brought business support to an administration run by former labor leaders, died Tuesday at the age of 79.
- Paraguay’s Deputy Health Minister announced Wednesday that all elective surgeries are being suspended to free up beds to deal with the country’s Dengue fever epidemic, which has killed 18 people this year.
- Chile’s finance minister said Wednesday that the country’s economy is not overheating and that the lower-than-expected industrial output last month will pick up again.
Image:United Nations Development Program @ Wikipedia.