Xpat Weekly Update: The 6 Most Important Stories From Latin America This Week

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News outlets have extensively covered the capture of Sinaloa’s Kingpin El Chapo. But the fall of Chapo has not been the only groundbreaking event in Latin America. Below you may find the other recent news events this week.

1. Venezuela: The New National Assembly Stands Up Against Maduro

Political frictions erupted after the new Assembly removed Chavez’ portraits from Venezuelan Capitol. The Supreme Court retaliated by investigating an alleged “vote-buying” case against three recently elected lawmakers. Maduro’s government forbid them to sworn in. The Assembly initially rejected the order, but lawmakers later accepted it. Lawmakers said they were willing to sacrifice to “help free parliament from the institutional ambush” of Maduro. Now the opposition has 109 seats and the government 54.

2. Argentina: Newly Elected President Macri Sets Up A Plan To Fix Argentina’s Finances

President Macri has placed Argentina’s finances as his top priority. On Wednesday Argentinian officials negotiated with U.S creditors in New York City. Argentinian finance secretary Luis Caputo met with hedge fund representatives who last year filed a lawsuit after Argentina rejected its debts. Their relations soured after former president Cristina Kirchner labelled the creditors as “harrasing vultures”.

A solid settlement could “cost Argentina about $10 billion” and analysts believe that an agreement will take some time. The talks boosted creditor’s hopes, who see them as the first step for “Argentina’s return to international markets.”

3. Cuba: Cubans Are Leaving The Island Before It Is Too Late

After Obama reestablished relations with Raul Castro, thousands of Cubans quickly sold their cars and properties. Are they launching a business venture? Not at all. Cubans are just desperate to leave the island.

The U.S 1996 Cuban Adjustment Act grants permanent legal residency to every Cuban who steps on US territory. Unfortunately, renewed US-Cuba diplomatic relations may cause this “wet foot, dry foot” policy to end. So for some Cubans, it is now or never. Since 2015, about 30,00 Cubans had reached US soil. Another wave of Cuban immigrants are crossing Central America territory hoping to reach the US-Mexico border before it is too late.

4. Mexico: El Chapo Was Obsessed With Mexican Actress Kate del Castillo, Leading To His Arrest

Last week, El Chapo Guzman was captured by Mexican authorities. President Peña Nieto congratulated the Special Forces that apprehended El Chapo in the morning of January 8. The government is now negotiating the extradition of El Chapo to the US.

Everyone has once fallen in love with a movie star or celebrity. For El Chapo, this ridiculous celebrity obsession precipitated his downfall. Officials affirmed El Chapo was infatuated with Mexican actress Kate del Castillo. One of the reasons El Chapo abandoned his hideout and transfered to a house in Sinaloa was to hold a meeting with the Mexican actress. It was in this unsafe area where El Chapo was captured. Crazy, stupid love.

5. Brazil: Protests Are Resuming In Brazil, This Time For An Increase In Transportation Fares

Last December Brazilians took to the streets demanding the impeachment of President Dilma Rousaff. A month later, widespread discontent persists. Two days ago, protesters rallied in Rio de Janeiro angered about the increase in bus fares. Fearing the violence and vandalism of last year’s rallies, police fired grenades and tear gas to disperse the crowd.

When the protest was over, 25 people were injured and 8 had been arrested.

6. Peru: “The Vatican”, The Famous Drug Lord Linked with Dictator Fujimori and Pablo Escobar Was Released From Prison

After 22 years in prison, Demetrio Chavez Pena Herrera “The Vatican” has been released.

The Drug Lord gained notoriety for his affiliation with Fujimori and his sanguinary right hand, ex-CIA agent Vladimiro Montesinos. The Vatican was also Pablo Escobar’s most trusted Peruvian ally. Escobar highly respected the Peruvian Drug Lord because of his “great work-ethic and efficiency.”

The Vatican owned an airplane runway in the Huallaga Valley, where massive shipments of cocaine base were flown to Colombia. Montesinos charged the Vatican a monthly fee. After Escobar’s fall, Montesinos raised the fee. When the Vatican rejected it, Montesinos had him arrested, tortured and placed into an unfair trial.

The Vatican held talks with media executives who plan to take his story to the big screen.


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