South America

US diverts Central America aid to boost Venezuela’s Guaido

  WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — President Donald Trump’s administration is diverting nearly $42 million in development aid from Guatemala and Honduras to promote Venezuela’s opposition chief Juan Guaido, including paying staff salaries, an internal document showed. In a memo obtained by AFP, the US Agency for International Development called Venezuela’s political crisis “a significant, exigent event in the US national interest” that required a switch in $41.9 million in funds. The United States and […]

Internet a lifeline for Venezuela’s embattled independent media

  by Andrea Tosta with Guillaume Decamme in Maracaibo CARACAS, Venezuela (AFP) — Starved of advertising revenue and battling a stranglehold on the newspaper industry by the government, Venezuela’s independent media have been decimated by the country’s years-long crisis — with many migrating online to survive. “It was a course we couldn’t get away from,” Jorge Makriniotis, manager at the 75-year-old El Nacional, told AFP. The newspaper ran its last physical edition — which had […]

Rio’s far-right governor likens drug dealers to Hezbollah

  RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AFP) — Rio de Janeiro’s far-right governor Wilson Witzel on Tuesday compared drug dealers to the Shiite movement Hezbollah and warned police would respond like Israel by showing no leniency to “terrorists.” Defending his hardline security strategy that has fueled a surge in police killings this year, Witzel said criminals in Rio’s poorer neighborhoods known as favelas “raped children, killed innocent people and used the areas to sell drugs.” “What […]

Guaido: Venezuela opposition, govt to resume talks, in Barbados

CARACAS, Venezuela (AFP) — Venezuela’s self-declared interim president Juan Guaido said Sunday a new dialogue between the opposition and President Nicolas Maduro’s government would be held in Barbados. He did not specify a date for resumption of talks at the new venue, in the Caribbean, after earlier discussions stalled in Norway. “In response to the mediation of the Kingdom of Norway (the opposition) will attend a meeting with representatives of the usurper regime in Barbados, […]

26 dead as fishing boat sinks off Honduras: official

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AFP) — At least 26 people died Wednesday when their fishing boat sank off the Caribbean coast of Honduras, the country’s military said. Armed forces spokesman Jose Meza said that 47 people however survived when the vessel sank off the remote coastal Mosquitia region. Meza said the  boat, the 70-tonne “Wallie,” set sail from Cabo Gracias a Dios — on the country’s easternmost point bordering Nicaragua — packed with fisherman after a seasonal […]

South Americans marvel at total solar eclipse

by Paulina ABRAMOVICH LA HIGUERA, Chile (AFP) — A rare total solar eclipse plunged a vast swath of Latin America’s southern cone into darkness Tuesday, briefly turning day into night and enthralling huge crowds in much of Chile and Argentina. Hundreds of thousands of people — including large crowds congregated in La Higuera in Chile, a country that hosts some of the world’s most powerful astronomical telescopes — looked to the skies captivated by the […]

Venezuela bus accident kills 18

CARACAS, Venezuela (AFP) — At least 18 people were killed Sunday in a bus accident in a rural area of western Venezuela, police said. “Fourteen deaths were reported at the scene of the accident, 33 injured were transferred to the hospital in Villa del Rosario, where four of them died,” police said in a report seen by AFP. The accident occurred in a rural area of Zulia state which borders Colombia. According to a preliminary […]

Ten killed in Paraguay prison riot: interior ministry

ASUNCION, Paraguay(AFP) —  A riot at a prison in Paraguay left 10 inmates dead and 10 wounded, the interior ministry said Sunday. Interior minister Juan Villamayor said that there was a “confrontation” between “two feared criminal organizations” at the prison in San Pedro de Ycuamandiyu, some 400 kilometers (248 miles) northeast of the capital. “All of the dead belong to the narco groups,” Villamayor said. One of the organizations involved is originally from the Brazilian […]

Prosecutor accuses Argentine bishop close to pope of abuse

  BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — A bishop close to Pope Francis has been formally accused of sexually abusing seminarians, a public prosecutor’s office in Argentina said Friday. The prosecutor’s office in the Argentine province of Salta said prosecutor Mónica Viazzi accused Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta of “aggravated continuous sexual abuse.” This is the first time that a prosecutor has formally accused Zanchetta in his native Argentina. Zanchetta resigned suddenly as bishop of the Argentine city […]

Brazil bus accident kills 17

  SAO PAULO, Brazil (AFP) — A bus carrying 40 people crashed into several cars killing at least 17 people in southeast Brazil Sunday night, according to firefighters and local media. The fire brigade in the Campos de Jordao area, about 180 kilometers (110 miles) from Sao Paulo, confirmed to AFP that the accident was caused when a bus overturned, hitting other vehicles. Media reported at least 17 deaths and a video shot by a […]

Canada suspends operations at embassy in Venezuela

  OTTAWA, Canada (AFP) — Canada announced Sunday it was temporarily shutting its embassy in Venezuela, blaming President Nicolas Maduro for refusing to accredit diplomats critical of his regime. At the same time, Ottawa is reviewing the status of Maduro envoys to Canada. Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement that “the regime has taken steps to limit the ability of foreign embassies to function in Venezuela, particularly those advocating for the restoration of […]

Brazil faces recession risk after economy shrinks in first quarter

by Allison JACKSON RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AFP) — Brazil’s economy shrank in the first quarter of the year, official data showed Thursday, taking Latin America’s biggest country to the brink of recession for the first time in two years. Gross domestic product contracted 0.2 percent from the previous quarter, the statistics agency said, marking the first decline in the key indicator of economic activity since the end of 2016. The figure confirms what many […]