Uruguayan president’s security chief arrested for forging passports for Russians

The head of security for Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou has been arrested as part of the investigation into a gang that made fake Russian passports for their holders to gain access to Uruguayan citizenship. The arrested man is Alejandro Astesiano, who acted as a facilitator of documents of deceased people to forge Uruguayan passports, according to Uruguayan press. So far, 20 cases of Russian citizens with Uruguayan passports have been detected. Lacalle Pou said he was “surprised” by the arrest of Astesiano, who had a long history of investigations for fraud, theft, misappropriation and damage. “Obviously, if you were … Continue reading Uruguayan president’s security chief arrested for forging passports for Russians

Haiti in a humanitarian catastrophe amid economic, political crisis

A chronic gang, economic and political crisis has led to a humanitarian catastrophe in Haiti, the country’s UN envoy has said. Weeks of violence and attacks on food aid warehouses have rocked the nation’s food security, Helen La Lime told an emergency UN Security Council meeting. In protest of the dire situation, businesses have closed and transport services are not running. Thousands are calling for Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s resignation. Civil unrest across the island escalated after he announced an end to government fuel subsidies on 11 September, which caused petrol and diesel prices to skyrocket. Since then, protests and … Continue reading Haiti in a humanitarian catastrophe amid economic, political crisis

Ecuadorian authorities find body of missing lawyer Maria Belen Bernal

Ecuador’s president has said a body found by authorities is that of a young female lawyer who went missing after visiting a police training school. He named the woman as María Belén Bernal, 34, who vanished 10 days ago after going to see her husband at the facility in the capital Quito. Her husband is the main suspect in her killing and is on the run, police say. Ms Bernal’s death sparked protests in a country which has reportedly seen more than 200 femicides this year. Officials said her remains were found on a hill 5km (3 miles) from the … Continue reading Ecuadorian authorities find body of missing lawyer Maria Belen Bernal

Brazil’s Bolsonaro campaigns on Independence Day

Brazil’s President, Jair Bolsonaro, has used the country’s Independence Day to campaign for his re-election in next month’s presidential vote. He began the celebrations in the capital, Brasilia, where he took part in a military procession. He then travelled to Rio de Janeiro, where he flew over tens of thousands of people on Copacabana beach. Mr Bolsonaro faces a strong challenge in October from leftist ex-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. He told his supporters in the capital that the polls showing that he was trailing his rival were “a lie”. The latest poll from Datafolha shows Lula with 45% … Continue reading Brazil’s Bolsonaro campaigns on Independence Day

Voters in Chile overwhelmingly reject radical change

Voters in Chile have overwhelmingly rejected a new constitution which was due to replace the one drawn up under Gen Augusto Pinochet’s military rule. In a referendum, almost 62% voted against the progressive draft. The margin of the defeat is much larger than opinion polls had suggested. Chile’s President Gabriel Boric, who had backed the new constitution, said he would work with Congress and civil society to come up with a “new constitutional process”. “We have to listen to the voice of the people” who, he said, had clearly not been satisfied with the proposal put forward by the constitutional … Continue reading Voters in Chile overwhelmingly reject radical change

Update: Legionnaire’s suspected cause of Argentina pneumonia deaths

Health officials in Argentina have said that an infectious pneumonia outbreak which killed four people may have been caused by Legionnaire’s disease. Seven other cases have been found, most at a clinic in the northern province of Tucuman where the deaths occurred. The relatively rare lung disease is commonly linked to contaminated water or unclean air-conditioning systems. The World Health Organisation was alerted earlier this week to the cluster of infections. Doctors trying to determine the cause of the flu-like symptoms ruled out Covid-19, flu and the hantavirus – a severe respiratory disease carried by rodents – after testing the … Continue reading Update: Legionnaire’s suspected cause of Argentina pneumonia deaths

Argentina VP unharmed after assailant threatens her with gun

Argentina’s Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was threatened with a gun by an unidentified assailant late on Thursday, according to local television footage, which showed she remained unharmed as no shots were fired. The incident took place at the entrance of Fernandez de Kirchner’s Buenos Aires home, where hundreds of protesters have gathered in recent days to support the former president, who is in the midst of a corruption trial. The country’s economy minister, Sergio Massa, called the incident an “attempted assassination”. “When hate and violence prevail over debate, societies are destroyed and situations like these arise: attempted assassination,” … Continue reading Argentina VP unharmed after assailant threatens her with gun

Bolsonaro and Lula trade insults in first debate over Brazil Presidential election

Brazil’s right-wing President, Jair Bolsonaro, and leftist leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva have taken part in a fiery first television debate ahead of October’s general election. Mr Bolsonaro accused the former president of having led the most corrupt government in Brazil’s history. Lula, in turn, said Mr Bolsonaro had destroyed Brazil. Opinion polls suggest Lula, who served as president from 2003 to 2010 is ahead in the election race. But the gap between the two candidates seems to be narrowing. On Sunday, the two frontrunners appeared on TV in São Paulo along with four other presidential candidates. Mr Bolsonaro, … Continue reading Bolsonaro and Lula trade insults in first debate over Brazil Presidential election

5 people dead in blast blamed on organized crime in Ecuador

Government officials in Ecuador have blamed a deadly explosion in the port city of Guayaquil on organized crime. At least five people were killed and 26 more injured in the blast on Sunday. Ecuador’s interior minister said it was a “declaration of war” by criminal gangs against the government. The Andean country, which is used as a cocaine smuggling route from neighbouring Peru and Colombia, has seen a sharp rise in murders and gang-related crime recently. A state of emergency has been declared in Guayaquil, Ecuador’s most populous city and an important trade hub. It is the fourth emergency to … Continue reading 5 people dead in blast blamed on organized crime in Ecuador

At least nine killed in violent incidents in Colombia

At least nine people have been killed in two attacks by armed individuals in recent hours in Colombia, authorities said. Five people were killed early Sunday morning in an attack by armed individuals on a house in the municipality of La Union, in the department of Valle del Cauca. “We have confirmed that some subjects killed five people who were living in a house and we are verifying the status of five more people who were injured. We are already advancing the investigation with the departmental authorities, between today and tomorrow we will have an extraordinary security council”, explained the … Continue reading At least nine killed in violent incidents in Colombia

209 killed in senseless violence in Haiti

More than 200 people have been killed in gang violence in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, in the space of 10 days, United Nations figures reveal. Almost half of those who died were residents without ties to the gangs which are fighting for control of the Cité Soleil neighbourhood, the UN says. Locals say they are running out of drinking water and food as deliveries have been halted amid the shoot-outs. One resident described his life as “a cycle of fear, stress and despair”. Gang violence had already shot up since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse by mercenaries a year ago, … Continue reading 209 killed in senseless violence in Haiti

Mexican woman who had reported threats dies after being set on fire

A woman who was doused with alcohol and set alight in a park in central Mexico has died of her injuries. Luz Raquel Padilla, 35, had sustained burns on 90% of her body in the attack in Zapopan on Saturday. Her killing has caused outrage in Mexico both for its brutality and the fact that she had alerted the authorities months before the attack. The case is being investigated as a possible femicide, a murder in which a woman is killed because of her gender. Mexico has seen a surge in the number of femicides in recent years, registering a … Continue reading Mexican woman who had reported threats dies after being set on fire