Today in Latin America
Top Story — Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s poll numbers rose slightly this weekend, despite suffering her first major scandal and rising inflation.
A poll by Datafolha released over the weekend found that Rousseff’s popularity jumped to 49 percent — up from 47 percent when the last Datafolha poll was taken in March.
The rise might not seem like much, but it occurred just as Rousseff confronted her first major scandal since taking office in January. Her chief of staff, Antonio Palocci, resigned last week after A Folha de São Paulo touched off a media frenzy when the paper reported on May 15 that Palocci’s assets multiplied 20 times between 2006 and 2010.
The earnings came from Palocci’s consulting firm Project A, which he ran while working as a congressman, leading Rousseff’s campaign and serving as her chief of staff after her election. The revelation exposed Palocci to allegations of corruption, though the attorney general’s office said it did not find enough evidence to charge him with a crime.
Palocci, a leftwing politician who evolved into a voice for Brazil’s private sector, was one of the most powerful figures in the Rousseff administration and well-liked by Wall Street.
Rousseff also accepted on Friday the resignation of Luiz Sérgio, the minister responsible for relations between her administration and Congress. Some of Rousseff’s allies complained Sérgio did not effectively manage differences among the 10 parties that form the ruling coalition. Analysts think Rousseff may have pushed him out in order to improve relations with the PMDB, one of the most important parties in the coalition and that of Vice President Michel Temer, according to Reuters.
Rousseff’s popularity also seems unaffected by continued inflation. The current rate stands at 6.5 percent, according to The Wall Street Journal — one percentage point up from last year.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- New York politicians and immigration activists rallied on the steps of New York City Hall to try and save the Immigrant Opportunities Initiative. Staff Writer Mari Hayman reported from the scene.
- Contributing photographer John Sevigny left Mexico after a terrifying night of gunfire and grenades in Saltillo. Read his personal account here.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Mexico’s peace caravan made its way to the U.S. over the weekend, where poet Javier Sicilia said the US bore a “grave responsibility” for the violence in Mexico.
- A judge in Mexico sentenced a man to 60 years in prison for the 2008 murder of the country’s acting federal police chief.
- Cuban exiles in the United States paid tribute Saturday to Reina Luisa Tamayo, mother of the late dissident Orlando Zapata Tamayo.
- Troubled movie star Mel Gibson just finished a court ordered trip to Guatemala, where he visited with patients and their families, helped coordinate humanitarian supply deliveries at three local hospitals, and assisted at a neurological clinic for children with disabilities.
- Hundreds of women in Nicaragua participated in the “Marcha de las Putas,” a protest to draw national attention on the high rates of violence against women in the country.
- Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez had a successful operation Friday in Cuba for an abscess in the pelvis, which was discovered during his tour last week around Latin America.
- United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was deeply moved by the devastation he saw in the flood-affected areas of Colombia over the weekend and expressed the UN’s readiness to help the country.
- Peru’s President-elect Ollanta Humala said he would pardon former President Alberto Fujimori on humanitarian grounds if his health worsens.
- Italy has recalled its ambassador to Brazil after the Brazilian Supreme Court ruled not to extradite Cesare Battisti, a militant leftist from Italy convicted of four murders in the 1970s, back to his home country.
- The Obama administration joined other OAS members in a resolution calling for negotiations between Argentina and Britain in their dispute over the Falkland Islands, but Britain says sovereignty over the islands is not in question.
- Human Rights Watch issued a statement Friday calling on Uruguay to prosecute dictatorship-era human rights abuses after the country’s Supreme Court stood by its ruling that two military officials could not be tried for enforced disappearances during the dictatorship.
- Seven Chilean cyclists were arrested for participating in the World Naked Bike Ride in Santiago, the first time the race has been held in Chile.
Photo:Blog do Planalto @ Flickr.