Ex-President of Brazil SURRENDERS to CORRUPTION charges

Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva finally surrendered to police to begin serving a 12-year sentence. Despite being charged with corruption, Lula was confident about his bid for a third term as Brazil’s leader. As corruption has been present in Brazilian politics for many years, Mr. da Silva's imprisonment represents a huge triumph in many people’s attempts at ending this corruption epidemic. Brazil is only months away from their Election Day, and while Mr. da Silva has spoken positively about two leftist presidential hopefuls, there are other candidates who remain in the race. This entire process has wounded the reputation of democracy in the country as citizens question how other important figures have managed to escape accountability for their wrongdoings. 





Ricardo Palma Salamanca was a member of the Patriotic Front of Manuel Rodriguez, a group that foought diligently against the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. In 1991, Salamanca was convicted of murdering a right-wing senator and lawyer known as Jaime Guzmán. 


After escaping and evading prison for around 22 years, Salamanca was arrested Thursday, February 15th, in Paris, France. The police have ordered him to report to a police station every day; although, they are not holding him there. 


Chilean judicial official Mario Carroza has expressed his hope that Salamanca's extradition be approved as soon as possible. The goal of the Chilean government is to get him back there where he can complete his life sentence. However, the French have communicated that they will examine the request for the nest month. 





Now Braxit? Southern Brazilian States with a New Initiative to Become an Independent Nation


Soon after the secessionist movement in Catalonia, Spain called “The South is my Country”, a referendum was organized in Brazil asking citizens from the south whether they would like to become a new country.  Polls were set across the states Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Paraná. This movement was motivated by corruption issues concerning the federal government, several politicians and members of the business elite. Many want get rid of the political scandal, that they claim is impossible to repair, by no longer being part of the country and forming a new sovereign state in the south. Other concerns are based on unequal taxation; some southerners claim that returns in taxation primarily benefit states in the north. According to data collected by organizers 95% of voters agreed to the independence of the three southern states, although the poll turnout was less than 3%. First Brexit, then Catalonia, will Brazil be next? 





Extensive destruction in the Caribbean was caused by the category 5 Hurricane Irma, leaving a trail of at least 1.2 million people injured and 44 dead. Severe structural damage left many areas uninhabitable, with former residents desperately trying to find shelter and many businesses being unable to operate. Such devastation threatens to worsen food security in the region mainly due to extreme flooding in agricultural lands. In terms of economic impact, it has been estimated that the financial cost of Irma’s destruction on Caribbean islands is around $10 billion. Furthermore, due to the extensive damage on infrastructure, the tourism and travel industry, which contribute to 15% of the region’s GDP, is expected to face a significant fall.

Not all islands were equally impacted. The islands of Cuba, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, The British Virgin Islands and St. Martin expect an extended time of recovery. In Cuba, for instance, two thirds of the country remains with no electricity and more than 100 schools have been critically damaged.

The government of the UK, The Netherlands, The United States and France have provided relief efforts by deploying troops and aid packages to help their respective overseas territories. The Venezuelan government stepped in as well to provide support for Cuba by sending 7.3 tons of humanitarian aid. NGO’s such as the Red Cross have also delivered support, except many residents claim that the aid so far provided is not enough.


Last night, on September 7th, an earthquake of magnitude 8.1 struck Mexico City and killed at least 32 people. The center of the earthquake was off the coast of Chiapas, a state in southern Mexico, but reportedly shook the city more than 600 miles away. It caused electricity failures, collapsed ceilings, destroyed concrete buildings, and other damages. It also set off tsunami warnings along the coast. The president of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, called it the biggest earthquake in around 100 years. The people of Mexico are especially frightened because in 1985 they experienced an even worse earthquake that killed around 5,000 people. Schools have been closed in the capital city on Friday, September 8, so that the buildings can be inspected and the students and their families can be assured that it is safe. 


Venezuela is currently going through a political, economic and humanitarian crisis. Two weeks ago the Supreme Court took away legislative powers and assigned them to themselves, blatantly showing that Venezuela is a dictatorship. Because of this, protests started this week in order to force a negotiation between the government and the opposition to restore the legislative powers to the congress, with no success as the government has been repelling the process with force. The military has been using tear gas from unknown origins, and even shooting at protesters, who have been peacefully protesting.




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