Hondurean Elections

In the midst of chaos, protests, there is growing speculation, that points to electoral fraud. The opposition is claiming that there is fraud, given that the count of voted was promised to be finished by Thursday and hasn’t still been culminated. 

There is still 1031 vote acts that weren’t properly filled by the political parties. The vote acts will be revised one by one with the presence of international observers as well as representatives of the political parties. 
46586 votes are in favour of sitting president Juan Orlando Hernandez. This advantage could be challenged with the final recount. 

Salvador Nasralla ( opposition)


Violence Surges in Rio de Janerio

Published by New York Times, this article looks at the violence and gangs that hold communities and areas in parts of Rio de Janerio, Brazil. To plan some daily routines and routes to work, residents have to track live reports of gunfire to stay out of harms way. With murder rates and crime rates up 11%, experts say that corruption in the state is to blame.

When the Brazil was preparing to host the World Cup and bidding to host the Olympics, there was a push to establish law enforcement and lower the crime rate. The plan of increasing the presence of law enforcement was to weed out these criminal networks in problem areas, and then be able to provide necessities and better housing for citizens. The plan seemed to be working, with crime rates dropping quickly and a 10.7 billion investment in infrastructure bringing hope to citizens of Brazil. News eventually broke that this money for the sporting events and infrastructure actually was being split between some officials.

Now, in 2017, there have been communities and neighborhoods that have been re-taken by gangs and killings. These killings and shootouts have gotten so bad that schools have to host drills if there is a shootout nearby and sometimes even have to call off school.

Through late October, there had been only 11 days this year in which at least one school in the city was not shut down as a result of violence, according to Rio de Janeiro’s municipal education system. That has meant that more than 161,000 students have had their studies interrupted by clashes.

– In Rio de Janeiro, ‘Complete Vulnerability’ as Violence Surges

There are moments when police seem to take control of areas again, but the areas quickly fall back into violence and disarray. The state just does not have the resources needed to combat this problem.


Argentina Missing Submarine: Water caused Short Circuit

An Argentine submarine called San Juan went missing on November 15th in the Atlantic Ocean. This submarine had 44 crew members on board and never arrived at its base.

The last contact that a navy official confirmed this Monday that the last message from the captain broadcasted that: “Sea water entering through the ventilation system into battery tank number 3 caused a short circuit and the early stages of a fire in the battery bank. Batteries in the prow out of service. Currently submerged and operating with divided circuit. Crew OK, will keep informing.”

Sea water entering through the ventilation system into battery tank number 3 caused a short circuit and the early stages of a fire in the battery bank. Batteries in the prow out of service. Currently submerged and operating with divided circuit. Crew OK, will keep informing.”

– Last message sent by the Captain of the San Juan Argentine Submarine

For some reason, the navy commented before Monday that the last contact was an hour before the new message, saying that the crew was well.

A dozen countries have helped deploy 4,000 personal to assist in the search for the submarine and crew. A Vienna-based Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization reported a “hydro-acoustic anomaly” (aka. explosion) a few hours after the submarines last contact with its base. Many claim that the explosion that the organization reported could have been the submarine imploding.

This news upset many relatives and others waiting for news on the 43 men and the one woman of the crew.


LGBTQ people in Central America flee for their lives

NBC news reports on the hundreds of LGBTQ people that are fleeing from violence and killings. These individuals are being pushed out of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala because of threats by criminal gangs and security forces. This discrimination gave El Salvador and Honduras the worlds highest number of murder rates. Powerful gangas take over whole neighborhoods sometimes, causing the discrimination and the killings to only get worse.

“Terrorized at home, and abused while trying to seek sanctuary abroad, they are now some of the most vulnerable refugees in the Americas.”

– Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International

When looking at El Salvador, 136 LGBTQ citizens had to flee the country since 2012. In Honduras, 264 LGBTQ people have been killed since 2009.  Many of these citizens from Central America flee to Mexico or the United States. One transgender woman, Cristel, told reporters that a local gang in El Salvador threatened they would kill her if she did not leave the country in 24 hours.

Many LGBTQ refugees fail to claim asylum though, because the countries fail to inform them of their eligibility for asylum.


Watch Out for the Avocado Police

As the avocado craze spreads across the United States, the economy of the Mexican town of Tancítaro skyrockets.  Known as Mexico’s avocado capital, the relatively small town produces enough avocados to satisfy the entire state of California.

Mexico is the world’s leading avocado producer, growing 45% of the world supply.  The area around Tancítaro exports over 2 billion avocados to the United States yearly. However, the overwhelming success of this industry has drawn organized crime, jeopardizing the safety of these avocado producers.

The state of Michoacán, where Tancítaro is located, was the initial site for Mexico’s war on the drug cartels that dominated the area.  Unfortunately, Mexico’s misguided policies only served to increase drug-related violence, further descending the region into a state of uncertainty.  This combined with a lack of an effective police force led the people of the region to arm themselves to protect themselves from the violence.  In Tancítaro, they are now referred to as the “avocado police.”


Not only do these avocado police protect the city from organized crime, they also work alongside avocado producers to recruit more police.  It is clear that they are a serious force, as they are equipped with advanced weapons and protective gear that resembles that of the U.S. military.  These avocado producers partly fund the police force, and are essential for its survival and the safety of Tancítaro.  The avocado police have been the most successful group of their kind in the region because of this funding.  However, this isn’t purely a selfless act; for them to continue to profit from avocado farming they must protect themselves.  It is essentially their only option; anything else would ensure that Tancítaro would descend into chaos.


Mexico’s Finance Minister Announces Presidential Bid

After much speculation surrounding who would take over as the Institutional Revolutionary Party’s candidate, José Antonio Meade announced his intention to run for President. In order to do so, Meade stepped down from his role as Mexico’s finance minister. With the PRI looking to clean house, he is an “attractive” candidate for the job due to his history of working in other administrations. Meade is also a safe bet due to his lack of reputation for corruption. For a country that has been anything but uncorrupt, this would be a welcome change. And while many within the country see this bid as a positive step, some argue that it highlights the issues within the PRI. “It is yet another piece of evidence of the PRI’s profound credibility crisis, so much that they had to turn to someone who is not even affiliated,”  said a professor at Iberoamerican University.

Meade is not without his crtics. First and foremost, his lack of energy is seen as a pitfall, and could hurt his chances against more charismatic opposition. And despite a lack of evidence, there are allegations of corruption, with some alleging that Meade participated in a cover up of the diversion of funds within the Nieto administration. The only real certainty about the race so far is that there will be a new face in office, as Mexican Presidents are limited to one, six year term.

Growing Persecution of Women who Miscarry in Mexico

It all started- or at least increased exponentially after Mexico City decriminalized abortion- about 10 years ago. The “it” is the persecution of women who miscarry. Conservatives are posing miscarriage situations as deliberate attempts at abortion. Abortion still remains illegal in the majority of Mexico’s cities and upon the decriminalization of abortion in Mexico City, more restrictions were placed on women’s reproductive rights. Mexican judiciaries are sentencing women to many years in prison if they miscarry or have complications with birthing. These women are usually poor and thus cannot afford a competent lawyer to defend their personhood.

This is the story of Dafne McPherson, a woman who lived in San Juan del Río before she was incarcerated. While at work, she went into labor in the bathroom. She did not know she was pregnant. McPherson has been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, a disease that causes weight fluctuations, a diagnosis which could have been used by competent lawyers in order to defend Ms. McPherson. Although, if Mexico’s judicial system was truly just, McPherson or any other woman for that matter would never have been put on trial and imprisoned for having a miscarriage. Her case was mishandled from the start. No one really tried to help her, and she is just one of many. McPherson’s case was originally treated as an abortion investigation, but she was jailed due to homicide charges.

McPherson has a daughter, Lia, who was seven at the time of her mom’s incarceration and is now 8 years old; the pair has not seen each other since. Lia has been told by family members that her mom is in the hospital because they don’t want her to know where McPherson truly is.


Brazil Culture Wars Heat Up

“For many, what is happening in Brazil’s creative spaces is a reflection of the politics here,” states BBC journalist Katy Watson. A more progressive and socially liberal side is pushing back against the right-wing, primarily Evangelical Christians’, conservative attempt at censorship. The censorship that is being debated is supposedly to protect children, but in reality, it is to push the harmful ideals of right-wing traditionalists onto the rest of the population of Brazil.

For example, there is a show that is performed in Brazil, The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven, where the Christ is a transgender woman. The shows are always packed, however, certain portions of the population are trying to shut it down. The cast faces many forms of discrimination. This is a sign of the transphobia that is occurring in Brazil. Natalie Mallo, the director of the show, made the statement that “With Jesus embodied in a trans woman, it addresses all the oppression and violence suffered by this population.” In just 2017 alone, more than 170 transgendered persons have been murdered in Brazil.

Another example is the Queer Museum exhibition that was forced to end early due to the backlash and protest from conservative groups. The protestors, which include evangelical leaders and people representing the Free Brazil Movement, deemed the art exhibition as a promoter of “bestiality and paedophilia.” Artists have stamped this act as censorship of art and, thus, freedom of expression.

These differences of opinions in Brazil’s cultural life is also reflected in Brazil’s politics. It is expected that politics in Brazil will continue to polarize, especially with the general elections that are to occur next year.



Indian Festival of Lights “Diwali” to Happen in Rio’s Barra this Friday

On Friday, November 17th at 6pm, a free event called the Diwali – Festival of Lights will take place at the Yndu Beach Lounge in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. An American expatriate named Roshnni Thakker organized the event and has been living in Rio for eight years. During this event, people gather for the Festival of Lights to celebrate the victory of Light over the Darkness. The Light is the good and wisdom and the darkness is the ignorance and evil. The Diwali is a large part of India’s Hindu culture and Thakker wanted to show her gratitude to friends, fellow employees, and even locals in the area and give them the opportunity to witness a large part in her culture. The event will take place at the Yndu Beach Lounge, which is known for it’s Hindu atmosphere and its view to the Barra beach which will set up the perfect atmosphere for such an event. In addition to the atmosphere, the guests will get to experience a three course Indian meal. Thakker said, “Chef Renata Brito da Silva learned these dishes from my mother, and nails it. It will be very special for me to taste my mother’s food, even with her far.” This event is quite significant for Thakker because not only is she having the opportunity to embrace her culture, but she has the opportunity to share her culture with others. In addition, this event will allow more people to become more open to diversity.



We aren’t the only ones meddling in Latin America…

Perhaps the biggest storyline going on in Latin America today is Venezuela’s economic crisis.  The Venezuelan energy sector, historically its primary (and only) moneymaker, is in default, and the Venezuelan people are suffering because of it.  However, there is an aspect of their story that has been flying under the radar that deserves attention, especially here in the United States.

We aren’t the only country that has eyes on our southern neighbors.  Russia and President Putin are also interested in the affairs of Latin America and especially of Venezuela.  As Venezuela has sunk into bankruptcy, Russia has taken advantage by buying out parts of their energy sector and delaying $3 billion of Venezuela’s debt payments.  This ensures that they will profit when the government inevitably defaults.


This purpose of such a move is allegedly to destabilize the continent, which seems quite the accusation until you look at Russian policies in the region from the recent past.  Former Russian president Medvedev attempted to create an alliance of Latin American states to secretly assist drug traffickers and terrorists in the area.  Russian officials have been directly tied to weapons flowing to the Colombian insurgent group FARC and other similar groups on the continent.

Not only does this provide Russia economic gains, but it gives them more influence in the region and more opportunities to foster anti-American sentiment in their allies.  Caracas is not their only focus; Russia is also trying to expand relations with and provide arms to both Bolivia and Nicaragua.

In sum, Russia is using the economic crisis in Venezuela to benefit itself, and their influence could potentially change Latin America’s geopolitical sphere in a way that could hurt the United States.  Thus, we must remain wary and prepare a response before it is too late.