This Latino Week

Demands to end U.N. presence in Haiti, Venezuelan ‘Flour Wars’ continueGuatemalan police storm youth jail, Eight injured in Boca fan stampede
by: 
Jim McKenna

Reports released within the United Nations this week have suggested a staggered withdrawal from the Caribbean country by the end of this year. Authored by Secretary General António Guterres, the 37-page report has placed a deadline of 15 October, with minor extensions of current programmes such as MINUSTAH.

The move comes as the U.N. has been forced to admit some responsibility for a cholera outbreak in the country, with attempts by the organization to raise the necessary funds to combat the outbreak that still ravages Haiti. This funding has still faced various challenges, with U.N. member states not yet contributing the necessary money and the largest donor, the United States, announcing its aim to cut aid.

This is not the first time the U.N. has tried to leave Haiti. They have attempted to tone down the presence of U.N. officials (currently totalling 2,300) in the country on a number of occasions. The last time this was tried, armed revolts and infighting forced the deployment of over 6,000 U.N. troops.

Venezuelan ‘Flour Wars’ continue

The Venezuelan government has continued to engage in conflict with the bakeries of the country, with authorities occupying two bakeries. Maduro has been locked into battle with bakers for the past few weeks, with the state accusing bakeries of not using the flour provided by the state to produce white bread, which has a maximum price, and instead focusing on more profitable pastries. Maduro has also called out opposition forces for hoarding bread and deliberately creating scarcity. In turn, bakeries have argued that any food shortages are down to government failure to provide the right level of flour.

This argument has been ongoing over the past few weeks, but stepped up this week with the intervention into two bakeries, which was ordered from the state. On top of this, six managers were detained, and a further four bakers arrested for making brownies. It is unclear what will happen to the detained workers, but the group representing baking interests, Fevipan, have demanded a meeting with Maduro to discuss the issues of flour shortage.

Guatemalan police storm youth jail

Riot police in Guatemala rescued four hostages from a youth prison, where rioting inmates took control of the area and held the guards over the past two days. As a result of the rioting, one of the hostages has died, with a further two seriously injured. The Etapa II centre, based within the capital Guatemala City, is infamously linked to the 18th Street Gang, which has networks throughout Latin America.

The riots started on Sunday after visiting hours, where prisoners took the opportunity to take over the prison and overpower guards. Some inmates set mattresses on fire and climbed on to the ceiling, with others making a desperate attempt to escape. They demanded that other prisoners linked with the 18th Street Gang be transferred to Etapa II, but the security forces managed to intervene before any concessions were made.

Eight injured in Boca fan stampede

Boca Juniors, one of the premier football teams in Argentina, nearly suffered a tragic start to their season, when a fan stampede following their first goal of the season, with numerous fans suffering minor injuries. Dario Benedetto’s goal in the 16th minute of their game against Banfield resulted in numerous fans behind the goal rushing to the front of the stand, resulting in many fans at the front being crushed from those behind them.

Fortunately, no major injuries or deaths appear to have occurred, and the game carried on shortly afterwards. In the event, Boca won 2-0, with Benedetto adding a second shortly afterwards. The first round of fixtures otherwise occurred without event, which was a positive move after the delays in the Argentine season; with player strikes meaning that the league could not kick off until this weekend.