Today in Latin America
Top Story — U.S. President Barack Obama and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer entered into a heated exchange as the president arrived in Phoenix on Thursday as part of a five-state tour. As Obama greeted Arizona officials on the tarmac shortly after landing, Brewer, whose controversial immigration law has been adopted in other states but blocked by a federal judge, could be seen pointing in Obama’s face before the president turned his back and left while Brewer was still speaking, apparently because the president took issue with the way Brewer characterized a 2010 visit with the president in her book. In an interview with Spanish-language network Univision on Thursday, Obama sought to differentiate his stance on immigration from that of Republican presidential candidates. Though he has outpaced previous administrations in deporting 1.2 million undocumented immigrants during his term, Obama said this was due to additional money allocated for enforcement by Congress. A recent Univision/ABC poll shows that Latino voters still favor Obama, but at lower levels than in 2008.
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Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Eight men were executed in downtown Monterrey, Mexico on Thursday, and a woman was found murdered in a potentially related attack.
- U.S. security contractors are looking to Mexico for new work as the U.S. withdraws its presence from Iraq and Afghanistan.
- The Brazilian government has granted a tourist visa to Cuban dissident blogger Yoani Sánchez to attend a documentary film screening in the state of Bahia.
- Puerto Rican employees of pharmaceutical company Pfizer are suing the company for allegedly mismanaging its workers’ retirement plans.
- The Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America reported Thursday that Haiti should prepare for a new cycle of massive earthquakes in the region.
- Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who defected to the Dominican Republic and established residency there, has been declared a free agent by Major League Baseball.
- Former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt appeared in court on Thursday to answer questions about his involvement in massacres committed during the country’s civil war.
- The U.S. State Department announced that it would continue to scrutinize aid loans made to Nicaragua due to suspected irregularities in the country’s presidential elections.
- A member of the Salvadoran National Civil Police said in an interview that he suspects members of the Maras gang are planning attacks on security forces from within Salvadoran prisons.
- A U.S. appeals court rejected an injunction filed by Chevron Corp. to block an $18 billion settlement for Ecuadorean plaintiffs living in the Amazon.
- Venezuela will observe three days of mourning following the death of Attorney General Carlos Escarra, who died Wednesday of a heart attack.
- Colombian Mining Minister Mauricio Cardena said the country would receive $10 billion in international mining and energy investments this year.
- A Brazilian prosecutor is planning to file criminal charges against Chevron Corp. in a Brazilian federal court after a spill off the coast of Rio de Janeiro in November.
- British Energy Secretary Chris Huhne said that the initial results of oil exploration around the Falkland Islands have been disappointing.
- Argentine senators officially condemned a statement by British Prime Minister David Cameron in which he called Argentina “colonialist” for its claim to the Falkland Islands.
Image: East Asia and Pacific Media Hub @ Flickr.