Peru’s Humala Replaces Cabinet Members; Prime Minister Resigns
December 12, 2011 By Staff
Today in Latin America
Top Story — Peruvian President Ollanta Humala remade his cabinet over the weekend, replacing ten ministers Sunday after Prime Minister Salomón Lerner resigned on Saturday. Many speculate that the government shake-up signals a more hard-line approach toward social protests that have challenged Humala and his government in recent weeks. Only a week ago, former minister Lerner failed to come to an agreement after negotiating with protesters over the controversial $4.8 billion Conga mining project in northern Peru that opponents say would contaminate water supplies in the region. Humala subsequently declared a state of emergency in four northern provinces to control the unrest. Lerner’s replacement, the former interior minister Oscar Valdés Dancuart, taught Humala at a military academy in the 1980s and his background has raised concerns among some critics that civil liberties will be further curtailed. Culture Minister Susana Vaca, Peru’s first Afro-Peruvian government minister, was among the ten ministers to lose their jobs on Sunday.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- A 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck Mexico on Sunday, killing at least 3 people. The quake was felt in nine states.
- The Mexican government has doubled the amount it spends on internal security to more than $46 billion since 2007, but reforms to the justice system are still in the initial stages as the country’s death toll from drug war violence approaches 45,000.
- Big Bend National Park in Texas is planning to implement unmanned, automated border crossing posts between the park and the Mexican city of Boquillas del Carmen.
- The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to announce Monday whether or not to hear Arizona’s appeal of the Obama Administration’s order to block certain provisions of Arizona’s immigration law.
- Jamaican authorities said that about 60 percent of police officers taking a voluntary lie detector test had failed.
- Alleged Puerto Rican criminal Miguel Diaz Rivera, wanted for murder and drug trafficking charges, was captured in the Dominican Republic on Friday.
- Cuban dissident group the Ladies in White gathered in the home of their late founder Laura Pollan on Saturday to observe International Human Rights Day while a crowd of pro-government supporters chanted outside.
- Jamaican record producer Philip Burrell died at age 57 in Kingston last week.
- El Salvador’s Foreign Minister Hugo Martínez apologized on behalf of the Salvadoran government on Saturday for the massacre of a thousand men, women and children in the village of El Mozote 30 years earlier.
- Honduras has outlawed motorcycle passengers after two high-profile drive-by motorcycle shootings in recent weeks killed a journalist, her driver, and a former security advisor.
- France turned former Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega over to the Panamanian government on Sunday. Noriega flew back to Panama to face jail time for the murders of two political opponents.
- Heavy rains and mudslides in Venezuela have killed at least 8 people and forced thousands into temporary shelters, according to government officials.
- The overflowing Bogotá River in Colombia has flooded much of the Colombian capitol, leaving many people homeless.
- The Colombian Campaign Against Landmines says that more people fell victim to landmines in 2011 than 2010, and that most live in rural areas with little access to medical help.
- Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner began her second term on Saturday, saying she would continue to fine-tune her economic policy.
- Brazilian authorities cited a study by the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro arguing that the construction of the controversial $11 billion Belo Monte dam will have less environmental impact than its alternatives.
- Voters in Brazil’s Pará state rejected a measure on Sunday allowing the Amazonian state to be split into three smaller states.
- Thieves in Brazil managed to steal 50 metric tons of corn from a moving train by using a tow truck to remove corn-filled containers.
Image: Presidencia Perú @ Flickr.