Top Story — Bolivian government representatives traveled to Oromomo in the Amazon basin lowlands on Sunday, kicking off a campaign to convince sixty-nine indigenous communities in Bolivia to approve a highway through their territories. The indigenous groups will decide on August 20 whether or not they approve the construction of a 200-mile highway through the Isiboro Secure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS) reserve, a protected region in the Amazon. Observers from the Organization of American States and the Union of South American were present to observe meetings between the Bolivian government and the indigenous groups, each of which will receive one vote on August 20 to approve of the project, which is funded by Brazil. Amazonian tribes fear that the highway will allow outsiders to colonize their lands and will contaminate the environment, but Bolivian President Evo Morales has said that the highway will provide a necessary economic link to the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Lowlands indigenous groups have protested the project for months.
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Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Assailants entered and torched the offices of El Norte newspaper in Monterrey, Mexico on Sunday, the third time a major Mexican news publication has come under attack in a month.
- Texas authorities are beginning to release the names of some of the 15 migrants who were killed when a truck smuggling them across the Mexico-U.S. border ran into a tree.
- The Haitian government’s plans to evict residents of hillside slums and raze some 2,000 homes near ravines has elicited protest.
- The moderate Cuban opposition movement is facing a leadership vacuum with the death of dissident leader Oswaldo Payá.
- Honduras’ National Commission for Human Rights (CONADEH) said that more than 3,000 women were murdered in the last decade, with 40 percent killed in the last two years.
- At least four people are missing due to floods in Costa Rica, said relief workers on Sunday.
- U.S. fugitive Lisa Miller has been on the run with her ten year-old daughter Isabella in Nicaragua since 2009 after renouncing her same-sex marriage with Isabella’s other mother.
- Bolivian President Evo Morales will poll indigenous communities who will be affected if the government builds a 200-mile highway through the TIPNIS reserve.
- The mother of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrived in Ecuador to plead with the government to grant her son asylum.
- Rescue workers in Peru recovered the bodies of two missing U.S. mountain climbers on Saturday who plunged into a ravine.
- Colombia’s FARC rebels released two pilots who had been taken hostage on July 10.
- A British physicist was arrested by Argentine police on drug trafficking charges after he scheduled a rendezvous with a Czech bikini model that turned out to be a sting operation.
- The 33 Chilean miners who spent 69 days trapped in a collapsed mine in 2010 will launch a range of souvenirs to commemorate the second anniversary of their entrapment on August 5.
Image: Alain Bachellier @ Flickr.