Chilean President Sebastián Piñera.
Latin America: Week in Review

Chile Commemorates One-Year Anniversary Of 8.8 Magnitude Earthquake; Smaller Quake Hits Near Concepción

February 28, 2011 By Staff

Chilean President Sebastián Piñera.

Today in Latin America

Top StorySunday marked the one-year anniversary of the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that shook Chile, leaving 524 people dead, 31 missing and causing $30 billion in damage across the central part of the Southern Cone nation.

The anniversary was marked by protests from political opponents of President Sebastián Piñera as well as a 5.8 magnitude earthquake that struck about 23 miles south of Concepción, one of the cities hardest hit by last year’s quake.

There was no immediate report of damage or injuries on Sunday.

Piñera on Sunday praised the Chilean government’s work and asked for national unity. The country has repaired more than 200 bridges, rebuilt major highways and restored all its lost classrooms and hospital beds, but thousands of people still remain housed in temporary structures.

“I remember that morning as if it were today,” said Piñera at a pre-dawn candlelight ceremony, according to UPI. He called the quake “the most destructive in the history of our country.”

In the town of Constitución, Piñera acknowledged that people were not happy with the pace of reconstruction, but said the government was doing “everything humanly possible” to help people rebuild their communities.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America


  • The Roman Catholic Church in Cuba says the government has agreed to free a political prisoner, Diosdado González, who had refused to go into exile.
  • Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas told EFE on Friday that he was released after being held 28 hours at a police station lockup in the central city of Santa Clara.

Central America


  • Venezuela’s government, which has forged close ties to Moammar Gadhafi, called Sunday for dialogue between allies and adversaries of the Libyan leader amid a deadly crackdown on protesters.
  • According to figures released by the Venezuela Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, the average price of Venezuelan crude sold by Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) during the week ending February 25 soared to $91.11 from the previous week’s $85.02.
  • The death toll from a bus accident in central Peru has climbed to at least 27, although rescue teams were continuing to search for more victims.
  • A former commander of Bolivia’s anti-narcotics police force has been arrested in Panama on charges of drugs trafficking, Bolivian authorities say.

Southern Cone

Image: Tu Foto Con El Presidente @ Flickr.

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