Today in Latin America
Top Story — Brazilian prosecutors have asked a judge to order Chevron to halt its operations in Brazil and pay a $10.6 billion fine for an oil spill last month off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state. Prosecutors said that the spill at the offshore Frade oilfield released 3,000 barrels of oil when an underground reservoir started leaking up through the sea floor on November 7. Transocean Ltd., the contractor for the well where the leak occurred, may also have to suspend its activities on Brazilian territory. In November, the Brazilian Environmental Ministry fined Chevron about $28 million, but Chevron representatives said the company responded responsibly to the leak and dealt transparently with Brazilian authorities. Meanwhile, Ecuador’s state oil company, Petroecuador, said it would spend an estimated $70 million to clean up pollution in the Amazon rainforest caused when Texaco, now owned by Chevron, reportedly dumped oil drilling waste in unlined pits during the 1970s and 80s. Chevron and Ecuador have been locked in an international legal battle in which Chevron was ordered to pay $18 billion in damages.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- A Human Rights Watch report harshly criticized Alabama’s strict new immigration law, saying it was “grounded in discrimination”.
- Mexico’s senate is considering a request to double its contribution to the International Monetary Fund to $14 billion.
- Archaeologists in Mexico say that they have discovered a green stone mask believed to be an offering made to the Pyramid of the Sun nearly 2000 years ago.
- A rider attached to a U.S. government spending bill may tighten restriction on the travel and remittances sent to Cuba by Cuban-Americans if it is passed by Congress.
- The trial of thirteen Haitian police officers accused of killing inmates during a riot is expected to come to an end next month.
- Cuba’s foreign ministry said Wednesday that it was seeking Japanese investment in offshore oil projects.
- The Colombian government has asked Panama to extradite former DAS intelligence chief Maria del Pilar Hurtado back to Colombia to face charges for wiretapping and conspiracy.
- The grandnephew of Guatemalan Nobel Peace Prize-winner Rigoberta Menchú was wounded in a shooting Wednesday in Coban, Guatemala.
- Honduran Police Chief José Ricardo Ramírez del Cid said that fellow police officers plotted to kill him after breaking a high-security inmate out of prison.
- Alleged Colombian drug trafficker Maximiliano Bonilla Orozco will be extradited to the United States on Thursday by the Venezuelan government.
- A documentary aired by Univisión alleged that Venezuelan and Iranian diplomats were seeking help from a group of Mexican hackers to infiltrate U.S. government websites.
- Business leaders in Peru have praised Peruvian President Ollanta Humala’s recent decision to declare a state of emergency in response to anti-mining protests.
- A report by the Colombian government and the UN Office of Drugs and Crime says that 3,000 acres of Colombian forest have been cleared to grow coca crops.
- A Colombian bishop criticized a Colombian judge’s decision that would allow a gay American journalist to adopt two Colombian children and take them back to the U.S.
- The remains of fifteen people believed to be murdered during Argentina 1976-1983 military dictatorship were discovered at a military arsenal in the northern Argentine state of Tucuman.
- Chilean doctors successfully separated two conjoined twin girls after approximately 20 hours of surgery on Wednesday.
- England’s Football Association will begin a hearing into allegations that Uruguayan soccer star Luis Suarez used a racial epithet against Manchester United’s Patrice Evra in October.
Image: Rainforest Action Network @ Flickr.