Notorious MS-13 Gang Leader Caught!

Early Saturday morning, police in Guatemala made an announcement that one of the most feared leaders of the Mara Salvatrucha gang (MS-13), Ángel Gabriel Reyes Marroquín aka Blanco, was found in the town of Chimaltenango, approximately 31 miles west of the capital. Being one of the most famous criminal cartels operating within both Central America and the United States since the 1980s, the Ms-13 street gang was born in LA but originated within El Salvador, as members fled from the country during its “long and brutal” civil war. The gang, soon after becoming designated by the US National Treasury in 2012 as a “transnational criminal organization” to which were similarly associated with much larger cartels such as the Japanese Yakuza and Italian Camorra, has been seen to cause international domestic and foreign terrorism within the U.S and parts of Central America. One of most notable trait of the gang, comes in it’s members large chest and upper body tattoo’s that are said to “brand” the members for life, causing even some members to kill fellow comrades who attempt to leave, while sticking close to their motto…”Kill, rape, and control.” Blanco, the “ranflero” or head of the Locos Centrales unit of MS-13 was reportedly wanted for several connections to attacking a hospital two months ago in an armed attack, leaving 7 shot dead and 12 severely wounded. He is charged with over 287 murders and is currently being sent to El Boquerón prison in Culiapa. His arrest comes with praise for the Guatemalan authorities, whom have come under the pressure of the Trump administration to continue to do more to break up these cartel/gang networks. As president Trump stated in recent talks over the gang preceding the murders in Long Island, ” They have transformed peaceful parks and beautiful, quiet neighborhoods into blood-stained killing fields…slashing at them with machetes and stabbing them with knives.” The gangs reign of terror however is far from over. As attacks continue to persist, one can only hope that no attempts to break-out Blanco will occur.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/10/14/feared-ms-13-gang-leader-blanco-captured-guatemala/

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39645640http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39645640

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-41619802

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Trump Blames Cuba for Attacks That Sickened US Diplomats

Monday, President Trump blamed Cuba for the mysterious attacks that affected US diplomats several weeks ago. This accusation contradicts statements given by the State Department, which failed to point fingers at anyone. While many senior officials within the government doubt Cuba is responsible, all non essential personnel were brought back to the United States from the Cuban Embassy two weeks ago. Those affected by the attack experienced hearing loss, dizziness, and myriad other symptoms.

Trumps comments were echoed in a manner by his Chief of Staff John Kelly. Kelly did not outright blame the Cubans, but he did claim that he believes the Cubans could stop the attacks from happening. He also claims that this is what the President meant when he stated that “I do believe Cuba is responsible.” This situation is just another chapter in the tense relationship between the US and Cuba. Since Trump came to office, he has promised to halt the Obama administrations attempts to improve US – Cuba relations calling the deals “terrible” and “misguided.”

Venezuelan “Elections”: From Bullets to Ballots

Earlier Today (10/15/2017), Venezuela held elections to decide the governorship of their 23 states. The studies show the pro-government loyalists only hold the majority of 3 states currently. According to an analysis by the Eurasia Group, a political risk research and consulting firm, “If the vote were to be completely free and fair, the [opposition] would likely win between 18 and 21 states.”

Up until the lead up to the election, the National Electoral Council had moved polling sites that were in strong Opposition territory, a move criticized by the Opposition stating that the NEC were trying to boost pro-government candidates and making the ballots confusing for the voters. The United States had added their two cents into the situation, also criticizing the NEC, stating that “the fairness of the electoral process” was in questions.

The Venezuelan government responded stating that the move was in the best interest of security, as the United States’ statement was an “aggression perpetrated against our sovereignty.”

However, the government must have gotten the result that they wanted as voters were very confused in finding their polling station. One Venezuelan citizen, Ludmilla Velez Lascar, was hellbent on casting her vote. She stated,  “Maybe they don’t want my vote. “But we have to vote. We have to elect … our governors.”

If another election erupts in violence, then the true colors of the Venezuelan government will show. If Maduro wants to continue the legacy of Hugo Chavez and be the champion of the workers, then he must show them democracy and true socialism. Like all things, only time will tell, and hopefully the loss of life will be minimized.

Venezuelans face long lines, confusion in first major vote since violent election

Tragic death of 86 year old woman discovered in Chile

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Early in the morning of October 15th, an elderly woman in the Coquimbo region of Chile was discovered dead upon arrival of law enforcement agencies. The cause of the death seems to have originated from a fire that engulfed the entire house on the ironically named Charming Street.

The Homicide sector of the Investigative Police, in accordance with the labs they work with, have identified the victim as 86 year old Leticia Muñoz Suazo. While the community is considering this a severe tragedy and family of Suazo is being contacted, investigators have labeled this fire as a “careless act” on part of Suazo.

The origins of the fire have been linked to an iron that was left on in the bedroom of Suazo. Even further however, the iron was found on her bed, which makes investigators wonder about why it had been left there, and whether it was on purpose or simply a careless mistake. Suazo lived in a wooden house on Charming Street, which made the fire spread even faster and in a more deadly manner.

In an even more tragic turn of events, it was clear to those investigating that Suazo had tried to exit the house before the flames engulfed everything, but was unsuccessful in her attempts to do so.

Further examinations will be done to determine the exact cause of death, whether it did come from the fire itself, or another avenue. Investigators are still at the scene as well to flesh out any other precipitating causes to the fire on Charming Street.

Read the original story on EMOL here:

http://www.emol.com/noticias/Nacional/2017/10/15/879282/Mujer-de-86-anos-fallecio-tras-incendio-en-su-casa-Habria-sido-provocado-accidentalmente-por-descuido.html

Southern Brazilians Vote on Referendum

In the southern states of Brazil an informal poll was conducted on whether or not citizens would prefer to see the southern part of Brazil become an independent country. Hoping to get over three million votes, leader Celso Deucher, and others believe that the government of Brazil has gotten to an apex of corruptness and fear there is no saving it.

Another concern of the public is that of unfair taxation. The number of states above Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, and Parana, give a significant amount less in taxes than the three states combined; however, the size of the population in regards to voting numbers equal out. Believing that the federal government already favors the north-east region already, those in the south have begun to issue for independence from an allegedly corrupt government.

Last year a poll previously was conducted and showed some interest; however, Brazilians believe that this movement will once again fail, not only because it is deemed unconstitutional, but also because of the lack of violence against the states.

However, this movement has left the political ruling class without support and the election is now wide open for next year.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-41541063

Football: Immigration NZ Working on Allowing Peru Fans to Visit for World Cup Qualifier

New Zealand and Peru both have moved farther along in the competitions that will determine who faces off for the world cup. The two football teams will face off in Wellington, New Zealand on Novemeber 11. Peru fans thought that they would originally not be able to attend the game due to New Zealand’s visa process, but Immigration New Zealand is trying to find a way that would streamline the visa process so they could attend. Usually, it would take 20 business days to recieve a visa, but by then, the Peruvians would have missed the game. Peruvians would have to have a visa to attend the game because Peru is not a part of the visa waiver program which would have allowed them to travel without needing to apply for a visa. There are about 450 Peruvians currently living in New Zealand and they are escatic that their team is going to be playing on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. Even the Peruvians that are currently living in Australia are already making plans to attend the game in Wellington.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=11932604

Keiko Fujimori testifies in campaign bribary scandal investigation

Keiko Fujimori, daughter of former Peru President Alberto Fujimori was recently implicated in receiving illegal bribes from Odebrecht, a Brazilian construction company.  The company in Peruvian court was found to have illegally paid over 29 million dollars in bribes to Peruvian government officials in exchange for awarding million dollar projects from 2005 to 2011. Currently the former CEO of Odebrecht-Marcelo Odebrecht-is in prison on a 19 year sentence, admitted to Peruvian prosecutors that he paid for most of the 2011 presidential candidates campaigns through Jorge Barata, who was the former head of Odebrecht in Peru. Fujimori testified in court and did confirm that she had met with Barata on one occasion and whilst having a government plan meeting with several Brazilian business men; but she did not have any private meetings with Barata himself. She also stated that clearly this was all a ‘plan’ to bring her down. If sufficient evidence in the case is found, This would be a devastating blow to the power of Popular Force (the party that Keiko is the head of) in Peru’s Congress. It seems to me that corruption does not fall far from the family tree. Keiko’s father, Alberto is serving a 25 year sentence in prison for human rights violations and corruption.

State Elections in Venezuela: Key numbers. 

23 States will elect new Governor’s in Venezuela, after 4 months of protesting, two of apparent truce, the Venezuelan people will vote this Sunday. 
The country has a horrid economic crisis, high inflation, scarce food, higiene items and access to medicine. The most favorable party, the MUD (Mesa de la Unidad Democrática), which is projected to win 18/23 States. One thing that analysts do encourage, though, is the people’s participation. The PSUV (Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela) is seeking to prevent MUD from winning as well as reduce the desolate feeling among Venezuela’s citizens. 
Some numbers to consider:
23 – Governorates up for elections. (20 in hands of the RBV (Revolución Bolivariana de Venezuela), 3 in the oppositions)

90.2% – of people surveyed believe that the country is in a negative situation. 

75.6% – Thinks that the work of Nicolás Maduro is negative. 

51.7% – is willing to vote for the oppositions and 20.7% are indecisive . 

70.3% –  believe that elections im Venezuela are fraudulent. 

Of the 23 states the most desired, or sought for victory are: Barinas, Bolívar, Carabobo, Miranda y Zulia.

Barinas- Chavez’ homestate. 

Bolivar- biggest state in the nation. Most of jobs are for basic industry. Ilegal mining causes a lot of conflict. 

Carabobo- Big industrial state, particular hub for automobile industry. Most plants are paralized due to the crisis. Alternate between opposition and oficialismo (Chavez-Maduro).

Miranda- Where Caracas is located. Second largest state with electoral population. State  with high violence index. 

Zulia: – Most densely populated state and most electorally registered citizens according to census. Great oil state, due to the access to Lago Maracaibo. 40% of oil production concentrated in Zulia. Opposition state, until Francisco Arias Cárdenas (won in 2012, now seeks reelection)
http://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-america-latina-41602094

Critiquing the emerging Cuba policy

Harold Trinkunas and Richard Feinberg, longtime observers of US-Latin American relations, have a blistering op-ed about the foolishness of the emerging Trump policy towards Cuba, in particular, and the administration’s appreciation for diplomacy, in general.

Here’s the money quote:

this White House and its pro-embargo allies in Congress have opportunistically seized on these mysterious illnesses affecting U.S. diplomats to overturn the pro-normalization policies of a previous administration, using bureaucratic obstruction and reckless language when they cannot make the case for policy change on the merits alone.

As usual with the current presidential administration, there is no larger plan but simply an intent to undo as much as possible the work and advances of the previous one.

Irish Che Guevara Stamp Prompts Protest

This year, 2017, is the 50th anniversary of the death of Che Guevara, the Argentine revolutionary who overthrew the dictator Batista in 1959 during the Cuban Revolution. To many, Guevara should not be honored because of the fact that in order to achieve his goal, he became a mass murderer. Guevara was also the son of a civil engineer, Ernesto Guevara Lynch. In light of the anniversary, an Irish stamp of Che Guevara was made and according to the Irish Department of Communications, the stamp was approved per the government “as per normal procedures.” On the stamp, a quote from Ernesto Guevara Lynch, is imprinted, “In my son’s veins flowed the blood of the Irish revels.” The incident “honoring” Che Guevara is not the first of ironic postage stamps, the world has seen two other situations. In 1965, in the United Kingdom, there was a set of stamps that were in light of the 25th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. One the stamp, there was a Nazi swastika on the tail end of a German bomber. Another incident was in 2013, the United States Postal Service allowed a Harry Potter, English wizard themed set of stamps to be released into the states. The issue with the Harry Potter stamps was that they were a non-American subject matter. These are just a couple of incidents relating to the event of the Che Guevara’s postal stamp remembrance. It is important to remember what is put into the public eye because some of the matter might be harmful to the citizens of a nation.

 

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-41552674