This year is already proving that it will be an exciting one for news. Take the U.S. elections, for starters. The presidential election, as it's been said by at least one GOP nominee, represents a battle for nothing less than America’s soul.
As for Latin America, what should we expect to make headlines?
Before ticking off possible headlines, it’s important to note the substantial—and frustrating—distinction between what should be covered and what will likely be covered. There are so many issues that never make it to (online) print or broadcast, given the tough competition for airtime and eyeballs.
Here are my top-10 most anticipated stories:
10) Health of Hugo Chávez: There will be many reports well-timed with Venezuela’s election cycle—Venezuelans go to the polls in October—that cite “well-placed, unnamed” sources claiming President Hugo Chávez is healthier than ever after his surgery last summer in Cuba to remove a cancerous abscess. These reports will appear within days of other stories that cite other unnamed sources professing to know the awful truth of just how horribly sick Chávez is and how he is trying to hide his fatal illness. Both stories will include hypotheticals (and wishful thinking) on the future direction of chavismo and bolivarianismo when Chávez ultimately leaves power, one way or another.
From Americas Society/Council of the Americas. AS/COA Online's news brief examines the major—as well as some of the overlooked—events and stories occurring across the Americas. Check back every Wednesday for the weekly roundup.
Ahmadinejad Tours Latin America
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad began a tour of four Latin American countries on Sunday, beginning in Venezuela and traveling to Nicaragua yesterday for President Daniel Ortega’s inauguration. He is visiting Cuba today, and will fly to Ecuador on Thursday. Ahmadinejad is continuing efforts to expand Iran’s political and economic influence in the region, even while a crisis involving Western sanctions and a threat to block the Strait of Hormuz takes place in Iran. In an interview with Al Jazeera, COA Vice President Eric Farnsworth commented on Iran’s relationship with its few Latin American allies: “It is certainly a marriage of political convenience. In other words, they need each other."
Read an AS/COA News Analysis about Ahmadinejad’s trips to Latin America.
U.S. House Speaker Leads Delegation to LatAm
House speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is leading a congressional delegation to Latin America this week, with stops in Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico to focus on energy and economic security. As well as discussing implementation of Colombia’s free-trade agreement—recently ratified by the U.S. Congress—the delegation will also consider energy issues in Brazil. During the first leg of the trip in Rio de Janeiro, the delegation visited a recently pacified favela.
Romney Releases First Spanish-Language Ad
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has released a Spanish-language campaign ad in Florida. The ad is narrated by Romney’s Spanish-speaking son Craig. The Washington Posts’ The Fix blog states that “while the ad does not mention Cuba, Cuban-Americans are obviously Romney’s focus,” given that 72 percent of registered Republicans in Miami Dade county are of Hispanic descent and largely Cuban-Americans. The ad features three Cuban-born Florida Republican lawmakers: Representative Mario Díaz-Balart, Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and former Representative Lincoln Díaz-Balart.