The Volcán de Fuego in Guatemala on Sunday morning before the eruption. Photo by Bronwyn Franks
Central America, Guatemala, Latin America: Week in Review

Volcán de Fuego in Guatemala erupts again creating panic but no new victims

June 6, 2018 By Staff


GUATEMALA: The Volcán de Fuego erupted again yesterday afternoon: strong explosions threw ash more than 16,000 feet above sea level and moderate flows of lava spilled down its slopes. Rescuers were pulled back by the country’s disaster agency and new evacuation orders were issued to nearby communities, creating a panic as traffic slowed the exodus but no new victims.

The death toll from Sunday’s eruption was raised to 75 by the National Institute of Forensic Sciences, with 23 of those already identified and a list of 192 missing people was finally published after days of no official number of missing persons. Some of the unidentified bodies may coincide with the missing persons. In the 12 shelters that have been set up by authorities there are 1,877 people. The Volcán de Fuego is one of one of the most active in Central America, only last year it erupted half dozen times. But this week’s eruption was Guatemala’s deadliest in more than 100 years.




MEXICO: A dam containing mineral tailings from a gold and silver mine burst on Monday in the northern state of Chihuahua. Six workers from the Río Tinto mine complex are missing, one has been found dead and two are hospitalized but in stable condition. The mining residue, which the company has said is not dangerous, didn’t reach the Tubares river and authorities said the water supply is not at risk.

MEXICO-UNITED STATES: The Mexican government published yesterday the list of tariffs it will be imposing in retaliation for the steel and aluminum duties announced by the Trump administration. Mexico will impose tariffs of 15 to 25 percent on imports ranging from pork products, apples, potatoes, cheeses and bourbon, to inboard motor boats, to flat steel and tubes. Tariffs will be waived on pork imported from other nations to avoid destabilizing the market which depends largely on U.S. imports.



PUERTO RICO: The territory’s government is moving forward with the intention to privatize the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority and has retained Citigroup Global Markets Inc. and Rothschild & Co. as financial advisers for the process. On a document released Tuesday the Puerto Rican government said it was interested in either selling PREPA’s power generation assets or in retaining ownership of the system but allowing it to be operated by a private investor.



NICARAGUA: The Organization of American States issued today a declaration in support of Nicaragua demanding an immediate cease of all violence. The director for the Americas of Amnesty International, Erika Guevara-Rosas, described the statement, which was prepared jointly by the delegations of Nicaragua and the United States, as “embarrassing and irresponsible” for not holding the government of Daniel Ortega accountable in the now 121 deaths related to the protests.



ECUADOR-HONDURAS: Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, who currently serves as Ecuador’s Foreign Minister, was elected yesterday as the next president of the United Nations General Assembly. She is only the fourth woman elected to occupy the post which is mostly ceremonial and changes hands yearly on the basis of a regional rotation. Usually the region whose turn it is agrees on a single candidate to nominate, but this year Latin American and Caribbean countries proposed another candidate alongside Espinosa, Honduras’ U.N. Ambassador Mary Elizabeth Flores Flake. Hondura’s support of the United States in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, an unpopular decision that was condemned by the General Assembly, seems to have had an impact on the vote that favored Ecuador’s candidate.

COLOMBIA: President Juan Manuel Santos ordered yesterday that the Hidroituango dam in northeast Colombia be monitored more closely after two teams of experts from the United Nations and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a joint report concluding there is an increased risk of the dam bursting or overflowing as the water level continues to rise and new cracks appear in the surrounding mountains. The Foundation for Freedom of the Press alerted yesterday of possible government censorship around the emergency, which began on May 7th when a landslide made the tunnel that rerouted the Cauca river collapse, allowing water to enter the unfinished dam. Since then 113,000 people have had to be evacuated.



ARGENTINA: Tens of thousands marched in Buenos Aires and other cities in favor of legal abortion and against sexist violence and the murders of women on Monday. The demonstrators were trying to persuade the Argentine congress to legalize abortion, which is currently only permitted in cases of rape or danger for the mother, in a vote that will be held next Tuesday.

ARGENTINA-COLOMBIA: The widow and son of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar were charged with being part of a criminal organization devoted to money laundering by a judge in Argentina, where they live since the death of Escobar in the 1990s. Victoria Henao and Juan Pablo Escobar Henao, who changed their names to Maria Isabel Santos Caballero and Juan Sebastian Marroquín Santos, were charged along with former Colombian soccer star Mauricio “El Chicho” Serna. All three are accused of being intermediaries in Argentina for Colombian drug dealer José Piedrahíta, who was arrested in Colombia in September and is wanted for extradition to the United States.