Today in Latin America
Top Story — Tuesday marked the second anniversary of the Magnitude 7 earthquake that destroyed much of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince and left around 316,000 people dead. Since then the country has suffered a widespread cholera outbreak and a contested election that saw singer Michel Martelly take the presidency. Thousands of Haitians are still living in makeshift tent shelters and the country has had a tough road to recovery. While three billion dollars was donated to help the country rebuild, only 18 percent of that money ever made it to the Haitian government, according to the United Nations. “The international community showed an incredible amount of generosity towards Haiti,” said Haitian Prime Minister Garry Conille. “Unfortunately, the systems weren’t in place to make sure that the funding is channeled in an effective way.”
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Democratic opponents of Arizona’s tough immigration law plan to file a bill that would repeal the law, which is currently blocked by a federal judge pending a Supreme Court decision.
- Mexico’s Tourism Department will spend $8 million to promote tourism in 2012 to the “Mayan World”.
- Mexican police in Ciudad Juarez ticketed and impounded the toy motorcycle of a six year-old boy after he crashed into an SUV on December 27, according to his mother.
- Mercedes-Benz came under fire from conservatives and Cuban-Americans at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas after displaying an enormous image of revolutionary Che Guevara during its presentation.
- The Cuban government is allowing some state-run cafes and food services to be privately managed in an experiment in eastern Holguin province.
- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad pronounced Fidel Castro “healthy and fit” on Thursday after meeting with the Cuban leader on his tour of Latin America.
- Guatemalan President-elect Otto Pérez Molina wants to restore U.S. military aid to the country.
- At least one inmate was killed in a gang fight inside a juvenile prison in El Salvador.
- Costa Rica fell from 26th to 31st in the global peace rankings, making it the second most peaceful Latin American nation behind Uruguay.
- The former husband of Ingrid Betancourt is selling the film rights to his two books about his French-Colombian wife’s time as a hostage.
- Venezuela’s Catholic Church raised concerns over the country’s soaring violence rate and asked President Hugo Chávez to curb murders.
- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Ecuador Thursday for the last leg of his Latin American tour.
- The work stoppage of Peru’s biggest mining project due to protests is costing about $2 million a day, according to a company official.
- An electric train running between the Peruvian suburb of Villa El Salvador and Lima finally made its first run on January 9 after construction began in 1986.
- Brazilians who check emails from work after hours can qualify for overtime pay under a new law.
- Chile has been named the seventh most economically free country in the world by the annual Index of Economic Freedom, pushing it past the U.S.
- Uruguay reaffirmed its support for Argentina’s sovereignty claim in the Malvinas Islands and said its stance “has not changed an iota.”
Image: UN Photo/Pasqual Gorriz @ Flickr.