Latin America: Week in Review

Earthquake in Chile: Bachelet Deploys Military, Calls For International Aid As Damage Estimates Increase

March 2, 2010 By Staff

EarthquakeToday in Latin America

Top Story — With public security slackening and estimates of the damage from Chile’s 8.8 magnitude earthquake increasing, the Bachelet administration deployed 10,000 troops and called on the international community to aid Chile’s recovery.

The military will help distribute aid, coordinate rescue efforts and recover bodies.

The military has also been charged with restoring order following incidents of theft from local grocery stores. The government has also imposed a curfew and arrested dozens of violators.

Most of the residents of Concepción, Chile’s second-largest metropolitan area and one of the hardest hit by the earthquake, remain without running water or electricity, according to the New York Times.

It is also the focal point of government concerns about looting and destruction of property. The Chilean government has bought all the food from major supermarkets in Concepción and will distribute it for free, according to The Telegraph.

The Chilean government did not originally seek international aid, but with the earthquake’s destruction exceeding early estimates, the Bachelet administration called on the U.N. to provide generators, water filtration systems and field hospitals, the New York Times reports.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Chile this morning. She and President Bachelet will discuss U.S. aid, which Clinton says the Chilean government will not have to repay. U.S. Ambassador to Chile Paul Simmons said yesterday that the U.S. government was working to provide water filtration systems and portable hospitals requested by the Chilean government.

Chile’s earthquake left more than 700 dead and has destroyed 1.5 million homes.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

  • Tougher law enforcement policies in Mexico have forced drug traffickers to move some operations in the Caribbean and Central America, according to a State Department survey.
  • Remittances from Mexicans living abroad to family and friends in the country fell 16 percent in January compared to the same time last year.


  • A lawsuit brought by the ex-wife of a Cuban spy could halt flights between the United States and Cuba.
  • U.N. Special Envoy to Haiti Bill Clinton called for more tents, latrines and housing to protect homeless Haitians from the upcoming rainy season.

Central America

  • Guns N’ Roses lead singer announced last weekend that the band has no plans to tour Central America and that tickets sold to shows in Panama, Costa Rica and Guatemala were fakes.
  • The World Cup trophy arrived in Panama and Honduras as part of the World Cup Trophy tour. The trophy goes to Mexico next before finally ending up in the World Cup’s host nation of South Africa in May.


  • A Spanish judge accused the Venezuelan government of aiding FARC guerillas and the Basque separatist group Eta of plotting to assassinate Colombian President Álvaro Uribe.
  • The Colombian peso rose close to a four- month high after the Constitutional Court voted seven to two against allowing President Álvaro Uribe to run for reelection.
  • Peru and China opened free trade Monday  and Peru also welcomed negotiations with the European Union.
  • Exports from Ecuador to fellow Andean countries fell 33 percent from 2008 t0 2009.

Southern Cone

  • José Mujica was inaugurated as Uruguay’s President in a ceremony with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in attendance on Monday.
  • Hillary Clinton urged Argentina and Britain to resolve their dispute over the Falkland Islands at a press conference in Montevideo.
  • Brazilian officials are trying to figure out what caused 80 tons of dead fish to wash up on the shore of a Rio de Janeiro beach over the weekend.

Image: JanOSpixels @ Flickr.

Subscribe to Today in Latin America by Email

1 Comment

[…] Last February an magnitude 8.8 earthquake struck Chile’s central region, killing more than 500 people and damaging over 300,000 homes. […]

Comments are closed.