Today in Latin America
Top Story — Today Haiti’s electoral council plans to announce the preliminary results from the country’s runoff election held last month.
The United Nations peacekeeping forces stepped up security across the country in anticipation of the announcement, The Miami Herald reports.
The results come after a four-day delay. The electoral council will not make a final decision in the runoff between former first lady Mirlande Manigat and popular musician Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly until April 16.
The council found irregularities in over 14 percent of the 25,000 vote tally sheets, prompting fears that fraud may have marred the runoff election, as it had November’s first-round contest.
The winner of the election inherits a country still devastated by last year’s earthquake, as well some $10 billion in international aid that foreign governments and institutions pledged to help Haiti recover. International donors have held off on releasing funds until the new administration peacefully assumes power, Agence France-Presse reports.
The race remains close, with both contenders’ supporters confident of victory, according to AFP.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Twenty people were killed in three separate attacks by gunmen between Thursday and Friday in Mexico’s violent border city of Ciudad Juárez.
- Mexico’s human rights commission reported that 5,397 people have gone missing since President Felipe Calderón declared war on the country’s drug cartels in 2006.
- An explosion and fire at a Mexican alcohol distillery near the city of Orizaba in the Veracruz state killed three people and left another three injured.
- The Catholic Church sees an urgent need to seek “new formulas,” including an opening to private enterprise, in order to heal Cuba’s health-care system.
- The brother-in-law of Puerto Rico’s Senate president Thomas Rivera Schatz was arrested Thursday on drug charges.
- A court in Guatemala ordered a halt to the divorce proceedings of the country’s first couple.
- Thousands of black Hondurans paraded through the streets of the capital Friday as the country’s president pledged to do more to promote and protect their heritage.
- Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos postponed their meeting by a week after a technical problem in Chávez’s plane kept him and other Venezuelan officials grounded in Bolivia.
- Left-wing nationalist Ollanta Humala extended his lead in Peru’s presidential race and former Prime Minister Pedro Pablo Kuczynski may now be in second place, polls showed on Friday before the April 10 vote.
- A British couple was arrested at Lima’s international airport as they boarded a plane to London with over 11 kilograms of cocaine and 100 heroin capsules.
- A Brazilian magazine reported that at least 20 people affiliated with al Qaeda as well as the Lebanese Shi’ite Muslim group Hezbollah, the Palestinian group Hamas and two other organizations are hiding in the country, planning attacks, raising money and recruiting followers.
- The sons and daughters of people who fought in Argentina’s Falkands War with the United Kingdom started a Facebook group to validate their parent’s memories of the war and to show pride in being the children of veterans.
- A bill in Brazil that gives grandparents more rights to visit children of divorced parents took effect last week.
- Lollapalooza made its first appearance out of the United States Saturday with the music festival taking place in Santiago, Chile.
Image: Alsandro @ Wikicommons.