Today in Latin America
Top Story — Musician and Carnival entertainer Michel Martelly won Haiti’s presidential elections Monday, according to official preliminary results.
“Martelly won,” an official at the Provisional Electoral Council, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.
Martelly, a 50-year-old entertainer known as Sweet Mickey with no previous government experience, preached a message of change during his campaign and pledged to break with decades of past corruption and misrule in Haiti.
“We represent this new wind that is blowing to establish a new state of law … we need a state that serves the population,” Martelly said during his campaign, according to MSNBC.
He won the March 20 run-off by garnering 67.57 percent of the vote, while former Haitian First Lady Mirlande Manigat received 31.74 percent of votes cast, according to AFP. Turnout in the second round of elections was high and voting was mostly peaceful, although still marred by fraud.
The final results, allowing for a period of appeals, are due to be announced on April 16. If the results are confirmed by that date, Martelly will take over power from current President René Préval, who cannot seek another term under the constitution.
International observers said that the run-off was much better organized than the November general election, in which government-backed candidate, Jude Célestin, took the largest share of the votes. He later withdrew from the race after international monitors found there had been widespread fraud in his favor.
The streets in the capital of Port-au-Prince and other cities were calm after Monday afternoon’s announcement, but United Nations Peacekeepers increased patrol in anticipation of the type of civil unrest that followed last November’s elections.
Haiti is still struggling to rebuild after last year’s devastating earthquake as well as a cholera outbreak that gripped the country last October. The country is also tense with the return of two former rulers, the ex-dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier in January and former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in March.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- A secret group opposed to Mexico’s Carlos Slim, the world’s richest man, mocked his telecommunications empire Monday in a newspaper advertisement called “The Slimsons.”
- Mexico’s state-owned oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos discovered an oil field providing initial production of 3,700 barrels per day of petroleum and 8 million cubic feet of natural gas in the eastern state of Tabasco.
- Former President Jimmy Carter’s visit to Cuba last week is generating more controversy, with one critic calling him a “shill” for Havana and another pointing out mistakes in his report on the visit.
- Twelve soldiers assigned to combat drug trafficking in the Dominican Republic have been arrested in an alleged scheme to smuggle cocaine to Canada in a child’s suitcase, a prosecutor said Monday.
- A toddler died in Puerto Rico Monday after being found unresponsive in the back seat of a sweltering car parked outside his gynecologist mother’s workplace, police said.
- A union leader in Honduras says more than 40,000 teachers have returned to classes since the government declared their month-long strike illegal last week.
- Nicaragua told the United Nations that a former foreign minister and rebel priest initially tapped to be Libya’s U.N. envoy will now be the Central American country’s deputy ambassador to the world body.
- Nicaraguan officials say they plan to file an International Court of Justice complaint against Costa Rica in a border dispute.
- The reputed Venezuelan drug kingpin who Colombia has decided to extradite back home rather than to the U.S. said in an interview with Univisión that he has videos proving Venezuela’s ruling elite is deeply involved in cocaine trafficking.
- Colombia’s Constitutional Court has struck down a presidential decree issued late last year that would have allowed the government to sell up to 10 percent of state oil company Ecopetrol to help pay for relief efforts from 2010’s torrential rains.
- An Australian woman is recovering in a Peruvian hospital after being shot by a taxi driver during a botched robbery, police said.
- A strike has been lifted at Bolivia’s San Cristóbal silver, zinc and lead mine following a 12-day work stoppage, the union and operating company said on Monday.
- On Saturday, an unmanned submarine in the Atlantic recorded pictures of wreckage from Air France flight 447 and the remains of some of the 228 victims who went missing off the coast of Brazil in June 2009.
- Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timmerman on Monday denied that the Argentine government agreed with Iran not to investigate the bombing of a Jewish center in 1994 that killed 85 people.
- The number of Paraguayans who have died of dengue fever this year rose to 22 over the weekend, with Paraguayan health officials declaring a public health emergency in parts of the country.
- A 5.9-magnitude earthquake hit northern Chile on Saturday, but there were no reported deaths or damage.