Today in Latin America
Top Story — Facing sharp criticism from Brazilian officials, senior management of Chevron Brazil said that Chevron takes “full responsibility” for an oil spill off the southeastern coast of Brazil that was discovered on November 7. George Buck, Chevron’s chief operating officer in Brazil, told reporters on Sunday that Chevron “takes full responsibility for this incident,” and said that “any oil on the surface of the ocean is unacceptable to Chevron.” The oil spill began when an undersea well operated by Chevron succumbed to pressure from the oil reservoir, allowing crude to escape through a breach in the bore hole wall and up through the ocean floor. According to Brazil’s National Petroleum Agency, up to 110,000 gallons of oil may have leaked into the Atlantic Ocean. On Thursday, Chevron capped the well with cement, but oil is reportedly still leaking from cracks in the seabed. Buck said that storms and ocean swells prevented Chevron cleanup boats from reaching the oil slick for two days after the leak was discovered, but they are now skimming the ocean surface to clean up the spill. Coming on the heels of a long legal battle with Ecuador over contamination in the rainforest, Chevron employees may face $5.5 million in fines and potential prison time in Brazil, according to the environmental minister of Rio de Janeiro state.
Read more from the AP.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Juan Marcos Gutierrez, Mexico’s acting interior secretary, said that last Sunday’s elections in the state of Michoacán were influenced by drug cartels.
- At least thirteen people died and 41 were injured in a bus accident near Malinalco, a town in central Mexico, on Saturday.
- Mexico’s Popocatepetl volcano, just 40 miles southeast of Mexico City, experienced a series of moderate eruptions on Sunday, spewing ash, steam and gas into the air.
- Cuban President Raúl Castro has begun to attack corruption within government-run ministries in an effort to preserve the socialist system amid economic reforms.
- Two-thirds of Haitian women in displacement camps reported that their pregnancies were unwanted and birth rates are triple that of the rest of the country, leading health workers to suspect that rapes are responsible for the high number of births.
- Officials announced Sunday that at least four prisoners in a Salvadoran prison were killed on when a fight broke out among inmates allegedly tied to the Mara 18 gang over the weekend.
- A plane flown by Continental Airlines was forced to land after takeoff from Panama City on Friday after its left engine caught fire when a bird struck it.
- At least nine people died when a bus plunged into a ravine in Tolima, Colombia.
- Colombian troops shut down the FARC’s “Voice of Resistance” radio station after fifteen years on-air when they captured transmitters and other broadcasting equipment in a raid in the Meta region.
- The Colombian government has launched an ad campaign to combat the FARC’s recruitment of child soldiers.
- Bolivian Deputy Foreign Minister Juan Carlos Alurralde said that Chile has violated an international agreement by letting a separate company manage parts of a railway line between the two countries.
- Researchers in Peru discovered the fossilized remains of 44 children apparently sacrificed by members of the Kolla civilization, which ruled parts of Peru between 1200 and 1450.
- The state of Hawaii discussed setting up a sister state relationship with the Province of Lima during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference.
- The Argentine government is reportedly planning to gradually eliminate subsidies for the gas, electricity and water sectors.
- Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona returned to Buenos Aires on Sunday due to the death of his 81 year-old mother, Dalma.
- Researchers in Chile have discovered at least 75 prehistoric whale skeletons in the Atacama Desert.
Image: Photo: duncandavidson @Flickr.