Today in Latin America
Top Story — A two-day national strike in Chile called by protesting students and supported by the country’s labor union umbrella organization got off to a violent start, when groups of students constructed large, fiery blockades on major streets in the capital of Santiago and fought with police. Masked demonstrators hurled homemade bombs at police before fleeing inside university and other school buildings. In one incident, protesters stopped a city bus, told the passengers to get out and set fire to the vehicle. Minister of the Interior Rodrigo Hinzpeter said he would invoke Chile’s controversial State Security Law in legal filing Wednesday over the bus attack.
Students demand President Sebastían Piñera’s government reform the country’s educational system, including giving free public education for all, reducing state subsidies for private colleges and improving the quality of education overall. Talks between the government and the demonstrators recently broke down after student leaders said the government was being unresponsive to their requests. Earlier this week, the Chilean armed forces announced that it is giving 57,000 18-year-olds one month to report for potential military duty, claiming the government needs to fill gaps in its armed forces because of the protests.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- A class action lawsuit filed in Illinois has the potential to change the rules under which Immigration and Customs Enforcement can issue a detainer for those suspected of immigrating illegally. Check out the report by Amy Elmgren.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- According to a new study the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, most undocumented immigrants deported last year were convicted criminals.
- Authorities in Mexico detained a leader of a drug gang locked in a ruthless fight for control of the resort city of Acapulco.
- Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) said President Felipe Calderón acted “irresponsibly” with his recent comments about certain sectors of the opposition party.
- A Mexican soccer player was criticized for celebrating a goal by acting out a mock execution of a teammate.
- Haiti’s new Prime Minister Garry Conille and his 16 ministers were inaugurated on Tuesday.
- The U.S. government acknowledged Tuesday that its logjammed relations with Cuba will impede its ability to respond to an oil spill, if such an incident were to occur as the island begins exploratory drilling.
- Puerto Rico’s spending on health care and public safety post budget risks because of operational changes this fiscal year, according to a government report.
- Outgoing Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding announced Tuesday that his education minister, Andrew Holness, had received unanimous endorsement from lawmakers to become the island’s next leader.
- The death toll due to torrential rains in Central America has risen to 90 after Costa Rica found four people drowned and Guatemala reported more people swept away by raging floodwaters.
- Honduras requested international aid and humanitarian assistance to deal with the severe flooding caused by heavy rains in the country.
- A new U.S. law requires Costa Rican banks to report balances to the Internal Revenue Service.
- U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to sign a free trade agreement with Panama on October 12.
- Venezuelan politician Leopoldo López said he would continue to run against Hugo Chávez in the country’s presidential elections, despite a ruling by the Venezuelan Supreme Court that he was ineligible for public office.
- Documents obtained by Semana magazine reported that Colombian intelligence agency DAS may have been involved in a failed assassination attempt on Senator Germán Vargas Lleras in 2005.
- Venezuelan state communications regulator Conatel fined private broadcaster Globovision, known for its openly critical stance toward Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, for violating a new law passed in December for “stirring anxiety in the public” during its coverage of prison riots.
- Approximately 2,000 indigenous protestors in Bolivia neared their destination of La Paz on Tuesday, in an effort to draw attention to the construction of a controversial highway through their land.
- Uruguayan President José “Pepe” Mujica said that his country had excellent relations with neighboring Argentina despite comments by former president Tabaré Vázquez that he feared a possible “armed conflict” with Argentina in 2006 over a pulp mill on the Río Uruguay.
- Brazilian Sports Minister Orlando Silva was set to testify on Tuesday against accusations of corruption in his ministry.
- Three sexual abuse victims of former priest Fernando Karadima are expecting a judge to rule this week on whether Karadima can be tried for his crimes in Chile.
- Colombian model Angie Sanclemente faces sixteen years in prison for drug smuggling charges as her case went to trial in Argentina on Tuesday.
Image: El Turbión @ Flickr.