South America

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Argentina reports a Covid-19 death toll of 1,818
Press conference of the Argentinean Ministry of Health
Press conference of the Argentinean Ministry of Health Credit: Argentina.gob.ar (Public Domain)

Argentina's Ministry of Health confirmed this Sunday another eight deaths from Covid-19, bringing the number of fatalities in the country to 1,818.

Alejandro Costa, Undersecretary of Health Strategies, reported 97,509 confirmed cases with 701 currently hospitalised in intensive care.

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Bolivia's interim president tests positive for Covid-19
Jeanine Añez
Jeanine Añez Credit: Gobierno de Bolivia (Public Domain)

Jeanine Añez, Bolivia's interim president, tested positive for Covid-19. Several members of her cabinet also confirmed being infected.

On Twitter, Añez announced she had contracted the virus and that she would be quarantining: "I have tested positive for Covid19, I am fine, I will work from my isolation. Together, let's get ahead.".

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Uruguay is the only Latin American country in EU's Covid-19 'safe list'
Munich International Airport passport control
Munich International Airport passport control Credit: Vasyatka1 (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The European Union has named 14 countries whose citizens are deemed "safe" to be let in from July 1, and the only Latin American country is Uruguay.

As infection rates in Brazil, Mexico and Colombia are still high, their nationals will face travel restrictions.

The current list is formed by Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

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Uruguayan President and vice-president deny surveillance after viral audio where VP said: "everything is recorded"

Last week, a conversation between the Uruguayan vice president and the public relationships person Fernando Cristino was publicized.

In that record, the vice president said that "everything is known, everything is recorded".

He further mentions they have "a team" of lawyers dedicated to "process every kind of extorsions or requests they receive the whole time", so he (Fernando) should not mention "the Luis' dealer" because phones are wiretapped.

President Luis Lacalle Pou has now publically denied the accusations.

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Chile: Congress agrees to $12 billion Covid-19 emergency plan
National Congress of Chile
National Congress of Chile (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Chile's Finance Minister Ignacio Briones announced an emergency plan, totalling $12 billion, to citizen support and economic stimulus package to overcome the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The plan became a reality after the government reached a cross-party agreement in Congress this Sunday.

The government faces criticism from medical experts about the handling of the crisis, and last Saturday President Sebastian Pinera removed the health minister, Jaime Manalich.

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Uruguayan president and fellow government members test negative for Covid-19
Luis Lacalle Pou
Luis Lacalle Pou Credit: Marcelo Pinto/APlateia

Lacalle Pou tested negative for Covid-19, also did the other government members that last week were in a meeting with a confirmed case of Covid-19.

It is reported that Natalia López, the person with Covid-19, was wearing a mask during the meeting with Pou.

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Chile close to 100,000 Covid-19 cases, more than 1,000 dead
Arturo Zúñiga, Undersecretary of Health, during a press conference
Arturo Zúñiga, Undersecretary of Health, during a press conference Credit: Ministry of Health (Twitter Reproduction)

The Chilean Ministry of Health announced Sunday the country reached 99,688 confirmed Covid-19 cases with a total death toll of 1,054.

According to the Ministry, only in May Chile had more than 83,000 new cases and 827 deaths.

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Panama: Corona promotes discrimination against transgender people

Human rights organizations complain about the discrimination of transgender people by state and private security forces in Panama. The state has made it a legal requirement that women and men are only allowed to take to the streets on different days which is enforced by entry controls on the supermarket doors.

According to the organizations the lack of acceptance and the discrepancy between the official gender according to the person's identity card and what is felt makes the life of transgender people considerably more difficult and dangerous.

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Uruguayan president Lacalle Pou in quarantine waiting for Covid-19 test results
Luis Lacalle Pou
Luis Lacalle Pou Credit: Alan Santos/PR (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Lacalle Pou and other members of the government will remain isolated, after having been in contact with a person who tested positive of COVID-19

Regional News • Americas • South America
USA to send troops to Colombia

USA will send on Monday June first the Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB), an elite unit of the Army to Colombia in what declared is assistance in the fight against drug traffic. It's the first time such unit is deployed to Latin America.

Opposition and independent legislators considered this unconstitutional without Congress approval, a violation of sovereignty and a preparation to a possible attack against Venezuela from Colombian soil, threatening peace in the region.

On April the USA doubled it's number of ships in the Caribean and offered 15 million dollars for information tying Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and other party members to drug trafficking.

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Latin America is the new center of Covid-19 pandemic
Carissa Etienne with Eric Hargan at her re-inauguration for WHO Regional Director for the Americas and Pan American Health Organization Director
Carissa Etienne with Eric Hargan at her re-inauguration for WHO Regional Director for the Americas and Pan American Health Organization Director Credit: Office of U.S. Deputy Health Secretary / Public domain

Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) announced that Latin America has surpassed Europe and the United States in the daily number of confirmed Covid-19 cases.

"Now is not the time for countries to ease restrictions," Carissa Etienne, WHO director for the Americas and head of the Pan American Health Organization, said via videoconference.

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Head of intelligence agency of Argentina denounces political espionage by previous government

Cristina Caamaño, the new head of the federal intelligence agency of Argentina (Agencia Federal de Inteligencia - AFI) filed a complaint showing evidence of illegal political espionage by the agency under the previous government of Mauricio Macri.

Intercepted emails from about 80 opposition politicians, journalists , businessmen and law enforcement were recovered from a deleted hard drive.

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Bolivian health minister arrested for suspected corruption

The police arrested Bolivia's Health Minister Marcelo Navajas in La Paz due to the over-priced purchase of coronavirus ventilators.

Bolivia bought 179 ventilators from a manufacturer in Spain for $27,683 each, costing almost $5 million, a purchase funded by the Inter-American Development Bank, later transpired that the manufacturer was offering ventilators for around half that price - $10,312-$11,941.

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Venezuela tries to get $1 billion in gold from it's reserves stored with the Bank of England

The central bank of Venezuela has filed a lawsuit against the Bank of England in order to get its hands on gold reserves worth over $1 billion in order to combat the Covid-19 pandemic in the country. Venezuela wants to sell the gold reserves and then transfer the proceeds to the United Nations Development Programme in order to circumvent the US sanctions and get the country funds in order to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Argentinean researchers developed a fast and low-cost Covid-19 test
NEOKIT-COVID-19 Package
NEOKIT-COVID-19 Package

Five researchers from Argentinean CONICET have developed NEOKIT-COVID-19, a new kit to test for Covid-19 in less than two hours.

Argentinean Health Ministry expects the first 10,000 tests to be produced in the next 10 days, while capacity should be ramped up to 100,000 weekly tests in the short term.

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Half of Chile senate members and four ministers in quarantine

Chilean offices said this Monday that around half of the Senate members and four state ministers have been placed in quarantine after coming into contact with at least three colleagues infected with Covid-19.

Last week, Chile's government imposed a total lockdown on the capital Santiago, which has recorded more than 80 percent of the country's total confirmed cases.

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Venezuela detains three more people allegedly involved in the Maduro kidnap attempt

Venezuelan forces have detained three more people that allegedly have been involved in the failed attempt to kidnap Nicolás Maduro. In total, more than 40 people have now been arrested after the failed attempt of a group of 60 mercenaries to kidnap president Maduro.

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Bolivian Parliament approves law calling for elections in 90 days
Palacio Nacional de Congreso, La Paz
Palacio Nacional de Congreso, La Paz Credit: Marc Davis (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Bolivia's parliament approved a law Thursday night which establishes that the general elections must occur by August 2. The rerun of the October elections was to be held by May 3 but was postponed due to the mandatory quarantine.

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Report: Security firm to overthrow Venezuelan government was hired by opposition

According to a document published by the Washington Post, the opposition of the Venezuelan government lead by Juan Guaido hired the US security firm SilverCorp that tried to invade Venezuela and overthrow president Nicolas Maduro. Guaido had previously denied any involvement in the matter.

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Another community leader murdered in Colombia

Carlos Andrés Sánchez, vice-president of Caño Raya, municipality of Tibú, becomes the fourth social leader to be murdered this year in that municipality, in the zone of Catatumbo.

This year in Colombia 85 social leaders and 24 former members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been murdered already.

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Colombia’s armed forces spied journalists, politicians and judges

Colombia's military chief General Luis Fernando Navarro vows to root out army officials linked to spy scandal naming rogue elements inside the armed forces.

The defense ministry on Friday announced the ouster of 11 unnamed military officials and the resignation of a general related to the scandal.

Magazine Semana reported more than 130 people, among them foreign and domestic journalists, had been hacked and information about their contacts, families and addresses collected.

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Two US citizens arrested by Venezuela in invasion attempt - Trump denies ties

Two former US special forces Luke Denman and Airan Berry were arrested in Venezuela after a failed infiltration attempt.

Trump denies US involvement.

Florida based private security company Silvercorp USA claims responsibility and its founder, Jordan Goudreau, accuses Juan Guaido of failing to pay him.

Guaido denies any relationship.

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Ex-Green Beret claims he led foiled raid into Venezuela

An attack aimed at overthrowing Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro ended with eight dead.

Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said on state television that armed maritime incursion with speedboats came from neighboring Colombia. Authorities said they found Peruvian documents, high-caliber weapons, satellite phones, uniforms and helmets adorned with the U.S. flag. Both U.S. and Colombian officials dismissed the Venezuelan allegations.

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Venezuela thwarts paramilitary infiltration attempt from Colombia

Several dead and two detained in failed infiltration attempt by speedboat from Colombia into Venezuela. Dead include former captain of the Venezuelan armed forces Robert Colina. Several high caliber weapons, satellite communication equipment and vehicles seized.

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Argentina exits Mercosur trade talks

Mercosur released a statement last Friday (April 26) that Argentina decided to withdraw from ongoing trade negotiations with the South American trade bloc to focus on the growing economic crisis at home. The bloc, formed by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay, has recently been hobbled by political squabbling and government changeovers.

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Venezuela suspends rent, pays salaries of small and midsize companies for six months

The Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announced that all rent payments as well as interest payments on capital and loans are going to be suspended until September. In addition to this he guaranteed all workers their wages, which the state will pay for small and mid sized companies. In addition to this lay-offs that are the consequence of the coronavirus have been banned.