It's been a dramatic week in Latin America, with news of Hugo Chavez's reappearance, a school psychologist getting fired for showing the movie "Milk" to students, and a report that shows that gangs in El Salvador are rather poor. Further south in the region, Argentina's Clarin Media group won a last-minute legal battle in its war against the government, and many Chileans said in a survey that they don't want to work during the "end of the world." And this proves once again, that Latin America news are never boring. Here's our latest Latin American news roundup.
Gangs in El Salvador are Rather Poor
A study led by a UCLA economist claims that criminal gangs in El Salvador are only making annual profits of $60 million. This amount is miniscule compared to the estimated profits of Mexican drug cartels like Los Zetas, which are thought to make more than $1 billion per year.
According to Insight Crime these findings "bring into question" a recent decision by the U.S. government to place Salvadorian gang MS-13 in its list of transnational criminal groups. The list, evaluated the international economic power of criminal groups and orders their assets in the U.S. to be frozen. El Salvador's government has negotiated a truce between the country's main gangs, that has helped to decrease the murder rate in this violent country by two thirds, but President Mauricio Funes has said that the MS13´s inclusion into the U.S. criminal organization list, threatens the stability of this truce.
Did Chavez Return from Death's Doorstep?
Earlier this week speculation that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was about to die was rife on social media, with some journalists suggesting that the Venezuelan leader was once again battling a serious form of cancer. But on Friday, Chavez appeared on television for the first time in a month as he returned to Venezuela from a 10 day long medical trip to Cuba. "I'm very happy to be here (in Venezuela) again" a smiling Chavez told TV cameras waiting for him at Caracas' Simon Bolivar Airport without revealing details of his health condition. Analysts in Venezuela are questioning whether Chavez's long absence from the public spotlight and his sudden reappearance could be part of an electoral strategy. Venezuelans will vote for local mayors and state governors on December 16th.
The Clarin Media Group Defeats the Argentine Government, For Now
An appeals court in Argentina gave the Clarin Media Group extra time to challenge a media law that would force this conglomerate to sell off dozens of TV channels, radio stations and cable companies it owns around the country. The law seeks to diversify media ownership in Argentina and stop any company from controlling more than 35 percent of the broadcasting market. But some analysts say that the Argentine government is targeting Clarin, because its top-selling newspaper is one of the toughest critics of President Cristina Kirchner. Thursday's ruling says that a lawsuit filed by Clarin against the Argentine government has to be resolved by a federal court, before any moves can be taken against the company's assets. The Christian Science Monitor published a piece on Thursday that provides some good background info on this dispute.
Report says Mexico City Police Unjustly Arrested Protesters