This Latino Week

Maduro announces ‘civic-military’ exercises, Fugitive Brazilian singer arrested in Paris, Buenos Aires Herald closes, Neymar transfer announced
Jim McKenna

Venezuela has remained on the brink of disaster this week, with President Maduro ordering his armed forces to mobilise in response to comments from U.S. President Donald Trump, who has threatened military intervention within Latin America in response to Maduro’s rule. Trump claimed last week that all options were available to respond to Maduro, ‘including a possible military option’.

Maduro announced his plan in a televised speech, issuing a rallying cry against imperialism and announcing that there will be military exercises held towards the end of the month. The move heightens divisions within the country, with Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino claiming that you are ‘either a Venezuelan patriot or pro-yankee’.

On the ground, protests still rage against Maduro’s attempts to introduce a new Constituent Assembly, with around 120 people being killed in anti-government protests since April. The prospect of a U.S. invasion or intervention, while frightening for many, remains an unlikely prospect. The idea was poorly received within Washington, and various groups claim that the move would be self-defeating – merely raising death tolls and costs within the short term without necessarily bringing about the desired regime change.

Fugitive Brazilian singer arrested in Paris

Valterson Ferreira Cantuaria, better known as Tody or Toddy, has been captured in Paris after evading charges relating to a fight outside a nightclub in Rio de Janeiro. The conflict, which initially occurred in March, saw Mr Cantuaria fighting 28-year-old Argentine Matías Sebastian Carena in the early hours of the morning. Carena, who was a tourist in Rio, fell and later died of head injuries sustained during the fight.

The fight was recorded on CCTV, and Mr Cantuaria was arrested alongside three other suspects, who were belived to have also took part in the fatal fight. Before he could be tried, Toddy escaped capture and fled to Madrid, before moving on to Paris. Brazilian authorities, in cooperation with their European counterparts, have spent months attempting to track the fugitive singer, who repeatedly evaded capture.

Following his capture, he is widely expected to be extradited to his home country, where he will face trial in a Brazilian court. If found guilty, he could spend up to thirty years in prison. 

Buenos Aires Herald closes

The Buenos Aires Herald, an English-language newspaper in Latin America, announced its closure this week, after more than 140 years of publication. The move comes following a decision last year to switch to a weekly print publication, with focus being placed on daily updates online.

The move has been blamed on changing consumer tastes, as well as tough economic conditions in Argentina and financial losses. The Herald has traditionally been heavily associated with English-speaking communities – initially British workers based in Latin America, and later U.S. communities. The paper was renowned for its journalistic approach, and was widely praised for its decision to report on the ‘disappearances’ of Argentinians during the days of the country’s junta.

The Herald had traditionally prided itself on being the only English-language daily newspaper for Latin American news, and its closure leaves a substantial gap in reporting on Latin American matters for English-speaking audiences.

Neymar transfer announced

Paris Saint-Germain, the runners-up in last season’s Ligue Un in France, have officially announced the signing of Brazilian winger Neymar, after meeting his release clause at Barcelona – estimated to be worth 222 million Euros. The transfer smashes the world transfer record, and PSG paraded their new signing before their first league fixture at home to Amiens.

The transfer was held up for a variety of reasons, including the player’s commercial opportunities in Asia and his medical in Portugal, as well as the Spanish federation’s initial refusal to accept the money for the release clause and a desire to receive a ‘loyalty’ payment from Barcelona for staying past a certain date. It is believed that alongside the new contract, which will make Neymar the highest-paid player in the world, a main motivation factor was his desire to win the Ballon D’or, awarded to the best player in world football. His personal belief was that this could not be achieved while he was in the same team as Argentinian forward Lionel Messi.

The signing may not be the end of PSG’s attempts to secure Latin American players, with Neymar already joining a strong Brazilian contingent including Dani Alves, Marquinhos and Maxwell. Rumours suggest that the French club remain interested in Arsenal’s Chilean forward Alexis Sánchez, who has one year remaining on his contract. Alongside Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani, it is possible that PSG could line up with three of Latin America’s premier forwards by the end of the transfer window.