Brazil, Argentina & Uruguay Take Aim At Dirty War Abuses
October 28, 2011 By Staff
Today in Latin America
Top Story— Three Southern Cone nations took major actions this week against former military members accused of crimes committed during their nations’ “dirty wars” of the 1970s and 1980s. On Wednesday, Argentina sentenced to life in prison a dozen military officers who headed a notorious detention center where thousands of people were disappeared. Just hours after Argentina’s sentencing, on the heels of a marathon session, Uruguay’s Congress lifted the amnesty law that made it impossible to prosecute crimes committed during the military dictatorship that ended a quarter century ago. Brazil’s Senate also voted on Wednesday to create a truth commission to investigate crimes committed during the harsh military regime that ruled from 1964 to 1985. The three events come as many former political prisoners and torture victims are becoming leaders of the Southern Cone nations. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was imprisoned during the military regime and Uruguayan leader José Mujica was held in solitary confinement for years. Former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet was also imprisoned and tortured during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. “These events inevitably create a domino effect in the region where not only victims, but their lawyers, the establishment, prosecutors and judges realize this is do-able,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Director of the Americas program at Human Rights Watch. “This is not a long shot or something that creates apocalypses of democracy.”
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Mexican authorities arrested an alleged top financial operator for the Zetas drug cartel and also detained two Americans with $950,000 in cash in a separate bust.
- A Mexican woman was one of three journalists to receive a courage award for their reporting from a women’s media group.
- After many tourists and residents fled Mexico’s Caribbean coast, Hurricane Rina was downgraded to a tropical storm Thursday .
- A new study released on Thursday shows that Long Island, New York has become a haven for successful immigrants.
- Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said Thursday that he is not trying to protect Miami charter flights to Cuba from competition from newly authorized cities, including Tampa.
- Haiti is wooing Asian manufacturers and its own diaspora in an attempt to bring new investment to its economy, Foreign Minister Laurent Lamothe said Thursday.
- The Dominican Republic plans to spend $31.5 million to promote tourism in the capital of Santo Domingo, Tourism Minister Francisco Javier García said Thursday.
- Guatemala’s Ministry of Defense sanctioned two high level officials after a video surfaced of them interacting with alleged Zetas drug cartel members.
- During a meeting in the country, United Nations Secretary Ban Ki-moon voiced his deep concern about last week’s damaging floods in El Salvador.
- Two U.S. citizens last week were arrested for allegedly smuggling Honduran children into the United States through Texas’ Veterans International Bridge.
- Newland International Properties wants to restructure the $220 million of debt used to finance the construction of Panama’s Trump Ocean Club.
- Ecuador’s Minister of Economic Policy Coordination, Katiuska King, resigned on Wednesday, citing “certain differences” with Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa.
- A report released by the Geneva Declaration said that Colombia was the fifth most dangerous country in the world.
- Russian ambassador to Ecuador Yan Burliay said that his country plans to strengthen its economic ties with Ecuador.
- The Uruguayan government revoked the country’s 1986 amnesty law on Thursday. The law gave members of the military immunity for crimes committed during the country’s 1973-1985 dictatorship.
- The Brazilian Senate approved the creation of a truth commission on Wednesday night to investigate human rights violations from the country’s 1964-1985 dictatorship.
- Brazilian protesters on Wednesday shut down construction of the controversial Belo Monte dam hydroelectric project, which is planned to be built on the Xingu River.
Image: Presidencia de la República del Ecuador @ Flickr.