Today in Latin America
Top Story — Uruguayan President José Mujica apologized for the “outrage” caused by United Nation’s peacekeepers accused of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old Haitian man and said that there would be penalties for anyone found guilty. A cellphone video shows Uruguayan soldiers in the Haitian port town of Port-Salut allegedly sexually assaulting the man on a military base. Uruguayan Defense Minister Eleuterio Fernández Huidobro said that the incident had caused “a lot of damage” and added that the five accused peacekeepers have been sent home this week. Uruguay has also fired a navy commander with the U.N. mission in Haiti over the incident. “I come at this terrible time to offer you and the dear and heroic people of Haiti my apologies for the outrage that some soldiers of my country committed,” Mujica said. “I share your sadness, which I feel as my own.”
Read more from Reuters. For background on the incident, see the video from Al Jazeera below.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- In the past 30 years, Peru has lost 22 percent of its glacier area. Unless new ways to manage and store water can be found, Peruvians will face severe problems in the coming decades. Emily Kirkland shot these photos to document how Peruvians are adapting to climate change.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- The U.S. State Department offered visas to Honduran officials who had them revoked after the June 2009 coup that deposed former President Manuel Zelaya.
- Due to immigration offenses Latinos now make up the largest portion of the U.S. prison population, according to a new government report.
- Some free-speech advocates and fellow social media users are criticizing the Mexican government for its reaction of the so-called “Twitter terrorists.”
- Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s National Action Party (PAN) has asked the governor of Nuevo León state and the mayor of its capital city to step down as police investigate an arson attack that killed 52 people and a casino corruption scandal.
- Former Gov. of New Mexico Bill Richardson arrived in Havana Wednesday on a trip to push for the released of jailed U.S. contractor Alan Gross.
- The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the Cuban government’s decision to revoke Spanish journalist Mauricio Vicent’s reporting license.
- The Jamaican government estimates that 80 percent of its companies are out of compliance with new U.S. food export standards set to take effect next year.
- Guatemalan President Álvaro Colom blamed drug users for much of the violence and killings in the Central American nation.
- Authorities in Panama arrested 80 members of a Colombian-run drug organization that smuggled cocaine from Central America to the United States via Panama’s Caribbean coast.
- The Nicaraguan judge overseeing the case of an American man on trial for drug trafficking failed to show up to a sentencing hearing Tuesday.
- Thousands of Colombian students and teachers marched in Bogotá and other cities on Wednesday to demand more government funding for public education and to oppose President Juan Manuel Santos’s controversial educational reform bill.
- A poll released by Caracas-based polling firm Datanálisis said Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has a 50 percent approval rating.
- A plane carrying nine people went missing Tuesday over Bolivia’s eastern jungle.
- U.S. President Barack Obama named Adam E. Namm ambassador to Ecuador.
- Thousands of protesters commemorated Brazil’s Independence Day by rallying against the corruption that has plagued government officials in Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s administration.
- A shooting between police and a neighboring drug gang in Rio de Janeiro’s Alemão favela on Tuesday killed a fifteen year-old girl and left sixteen others injured.
- Brazil and Argentina announced plans to invest in nuclear power but promised that the countries would keep their region free of nuclear weapons.
Image: Presidencia de la República del Ecuador @ Flickr.