Today in Latin America
Top Story — Peru’s President-elect Ollanta Humala had a surprise meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington D.C. Humala, who was in the U.S. to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton among others, was in talks at the White House with National Security Adviser Tom Donilon when Obama popped in. The two spoke for a few minutes and it “was a gesture of great political deference and greatly appreciated by the president elect,” according to Peru’s ambassador to the U.S., Luis Chuquihuara. Humala also met with Clinton, who said that the Peruvian president-elect has a big agenda ahead of him, but that the U.S. was ready to be his partner. This was the first face-to-face meeting between U.S. officials and Humala since he won the presidency last month. “My intention here is to come to strengthen our ties, which are good, but we need to improve them further during my term in office,” Humala said before meeting Clinton at the State Department.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- The acting head of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives admitted during secret talks at Congress that Operation “Fast and Furious” was a mistake.
- A report released in Mexico said that the majority of Mexicans feel safer now than they did a year ago.
- U.S. and Mexican officials Wednesday signed an agreement that allows each country’s trucks to traverse the other’s highways, adding a key provision of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
- The Committee to Protect Journalists on Wednesday denounced a new wave of repression in Cuba against independent journalists, just months after Havana freed the last of 29 news-gatherers imprisoned by the regime during the Black Spring of 2003.
- Haitian President Michel Martelly has chosen a former justice minister as his nominee for prime minister in his second attempt to fill the position, a government official said Wednesday.
- A new rum distillery will open in a former pharmaceutical plant in central Puerto Rico, helping to offset the loss of Captain Morgan rum from the island, economic officials said Wednesday.
- The Honduran military announced earlier this week that it would now be patrolling rural regions in an effort to bump up security in the country with the highest homicide rate in the Western Hemisphere.
- Business people in Nicaragua want to have a free trade agreement with Venezuela, but are concerned about the health of President Hugo Chávez.
- A state governor who is a leading contender to challenge the re-election bid of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said Wednesday that he hopes the incumbent will remain in the race despite questions about his health.
- Celebrations to mark the 100-year anniversary of the discovery of Machu Picchu by U.S. explorer Hiram Bingham kicked off in Peru Wednesday, though the festivities have been marred in recent days by complaints about local corruption and an exodus of tourist revenue to other parts of Peru.
- The Brazilian government offered to provide cancer treatment to an ailing Hugo Chávez, who recently arrived back in Venezuela after having a cancerous tumor removed in Cuba.
- Chilean President Sebastián Piñera proposed a $4 billion education fund financed from copper revenue in the wake of massive protests in the country over education reform.
- Organizers at the Copa America soccer tournament said that Argentina’s Monumental Stadium will be repaired in time to host the July 24 final after it was ransacked last month by River Plate hooligans following the team’s relegation.
- Paraguayan lingerie model Larissa Riquelme said she will run through the streets of Asunción naked, even though the country’s World Cup squad did not win the tournament last year.
Image: Presidencia de la República del Ecuador @ Flickr.