Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Around Latin America

-An eventual return to Honduras for exiled and deposed ex-president Manuel Zelaya may have gotten more difficult this past week. Honduran prosecutors are trying to attain a warrant to arrest Zelaya for "fraud, document forgery and abuse of power." No word yet on whether these same prosecutors are going to try to secure warrants against senator-for-life Roberto Micheletti for his own abuses of power.

-Even as we continue to ignore the violence in Mexico (and our role in it), there are daily reminders that it affects the entire border region, not just Juarez.

-Could a call for a "plurinational uprising" from Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador threaten Rafael Correa's administration and ability to remain in office through the end of his term?

-In appalling environmental actions, Argentina's army apparently is burning its garbage at a base in the Antarctic within 200 feet of penguin nesting grounds.

-Although there has been bad blood between the two countries for well over a century, Peru has put that aside in the face of the humanitarian crisis facing Chile in the wake of this week's powerful 8.8-magnitude earthquake by offering construction materials to help its neighbor and occasional rival rebuild.

-Speaking of the Chilean earthquake, it turns out there will not be a single person on the planet who is not affected by the earthquake. The tectonic shift was powerful enough that it shifted the Earth's axis, resulting in a day that was 1.26 microseconds shorter.

-Brazil's indigenous Yanomani population has been devastated by disease and encroachment from outsiders in the recent past, and one scholar has a novel solution: prosecute Senator Jose Sarney, who was president from 1985-1990, with genocide for his role in letting gold mining companies enter into Yanomani territory, bringing with them disease and environmental degradation that have killed the Yanomanis and destroyed much of their homeland.

-On the subject of Brazil, there's also a nice little article up talking about the little-known (outside of Brazil) role of Middle Eastern immigrants in shaping the country's culture and politics over the last 100+ years, and it's well worth checking out.

-Finally, a pair of farewells to important Mexican figures. Writer Carlos Montemayor, whose fictional War in Paradise did much to shed light on the forgotten Mexican "Dirty War" of the 1960s and 1970s, died last week at the age of 62 (and the fact that a fictional work is the foremost work on the "Dirty War" speaks volumes about the absence of scholarship on the subject). And this week, Ana Maria Zapata Portillo, the last surviving daughter of Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, died at the age of 94.