Top Story — Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez celebrated his 57th birthday on Thursday, claiming to feel “like the phoenix” as he battles cancer. Speaking to Venezuelan state television, Chávez declared himself reborn and later greeted supporters from a balcony at the presidential palace garbed in a yellow shirt that was a gift from his daughter. “I’m halfway through my life, another 57 years are coming!” Chávez jested. In the past few days, Chávez seems to be returning to form after breaking his unusual silence while undergoing treatment for cancer in Cuba. In another sign that the feisty Venezuelan leader is feeling better, he once again ramped up his criticism of the United States, this time honing his remarks toward President Barack Obama’s debt crisis. “The Yankees are broke. They have no money to pay their debt. It’s a good thing they don’t owe us anything, we’d have to give them a credit,” he said.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- Cuba commemorated the attack on the Moncada barracks of July 26, 1953, that propelled Fidel Castro to national fame and became the first battle of the Cuban Revolution. Get a visual sense of daily life in Havana 58 years after the historic day in this photo essay by Jorge Royan.
- ICE and immigration activists are battling over the controversial U.S. deportation program, Secure Communities. Roque Planas reports on the latest developments in the fight.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- The Mexican government suspended aid to a police-training program in Ciudad Juárez, claiming that authorities there haven’t followed reporting rules and have trained few police.
- A Miami-Dade police officer allegedly uttered a racial slur at a Guatemalan man as he tested a car he was repairing and then placed him under arrest
- Tropical storm Don is advancing toward Mexico’s Gulf Coast states and is expected to make landfall sometime on Friday.
- U.S funds for Cuba through the USAID program may soon be released, after Senator John Kerry lifted his hold on the money.
- Haitian police are looking for a man seen holding a rifle in a crowd watching President Michel Martelly walk through a busy street.
- A corporal with the Dominican Air Force was detained Wednesday, after authorities said he tried to board a plane with two bicycles filled with cocaine.
- Guatemalan President Álvaro Colom and his Mexican counterpart, Felipe Calderón, agreed to increase cooperation between the two coutries by strengthening border security, combatting transnational organized crime, and improving the security of migrants in the region.
- A Salvadoran court ruled against Colonel José Arturo Rodríguez Martínez in his defamation suit against a newspaper for an article alleging he had ties to Mexican drug traffickers.
- A U.S.-based company is recalling around 6,240 pounds of frozen boneless beef imported from Honduras that may contain the animal drug Ivermectin.
- Costa Rica’s Public Services Regulatory Authority announced that bus fares will increase by an average of 3.94 percent across the country starting next week
- The Bolivian government has announced plans to buy excess, legally produced coca to keep it from falling into the hands of drug traffickers.
- Ollanta Humala was sworn in as Peru’s new president. Despite strong economic performance, outgoing President Alan García leaves many problems unresolved.
- World copper prices rose on Thursday as a labor strike at the world’s largest copper mine in Chile continued into the sixth day.
- Brazil, Uruguay and Chile all topped India and China in an annual ranking of the top 30 emerging countries for retail development.
- Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo visited Brazil on Thursday as part of a routine check-up following his cancer treatment last year.
- A Brazilian lion suffering from the degenerative autoimmune disease died in Sao Paulo.
- Brazilian authorities said that a man allegedly used the country’s postal service to mail the remains of his friend’s son from Rio de Janeiro to northeastern Brazil for reburial.
Image: Chavezcandanga @ Flickr.