Argentine "Dirty War" suspect arrested

Luis Enrique Baraldini had allegedly been hiding in Bolivia for several years under a false name.

Bolivian authorities say they have arrested an Argentine ex-military officer wanted for crimes committed during Argentina's military dictatorship.

Luis Enrique Baraldini has been "very much sought after as a longtime fugitive... for personally torturing people, according to witness accounts," said Argentine Security Minister Nilda Garre at a news conference, reported AFP.

Bolivia said the suspect was apprehended in Santa Cruz, some 560 miles east of the Bolivian capital. He had allegedly been living there for several years under a false name.

Argentina had offered an award of 23,000 for information leading to his arrest, reported the Buenos Aires Herald.

read more

Brazil overtakes UK as world's 6th-largest economy

Brazil has boomed with the help of exports to China.

Economists said it was going to happen and now it has: Brazil has passed the UK as the world's sixth-largest economy.

The Center for Economics and Business Research said European countries have fallen back in its latest World Economic League Table, while Asian countries are gaining, reported the BBC.

A report from the International Monetary Fund earlier this year had predicted Brazil would overtake the UK.

Brazil's current GDP measures $2.52 trillion. Its main exports are manufactured goods, iron ore, coffee, oranges and other agricultural produce and its biggest export partners are China, the United States and Argentina.

read more

Argentines remember popular revolt

Photos: Argentines burn Christmas tree during march to mark toppling of government.

Members of leftist political groups marched in Buenos Aires yesterday to mark the 10-year anniversary of a popular revolt that toppled the Argentine government.

The protesters converged on the Plaza de Mayo, the traditional center of protest in the capital, carrying placards demanding justice for the 38 people who died during the violence, reported AFP.

read more

Mercosur closes ports to Falkland Island ships

Previously only Argentina has imposed such a restriction.

A bloc of South American countries agreed yesterday to close their ports to ships flying the Falkland Islands flag.

The presidents of the Mercosur bloc of nations — which includes Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay — said they would adopt "all measures that can be put in place to impede the entry to its ports of ships that fly the illegal flag of the Malvinas Islands," reports the Telegraph.

The Falkland Islands — referred to as the Islas Malvinas by the Argentines — have been under British control since the 1830s, but Argentina regards them as stolen territory. Argentina invaded in 1982, but was soundly defeated.

read more

Mercosur signs free trade agreement with Palestinian Authority

Currently Argentina is the only Mercosur member that conducts trade with the Palestinians.

Members of the South American trade block Mercosur signed a free trade agreement with the Palestinian Authority at a presidential summit yesterday in Montevideo.

It is the first trade deal between the Palestinian territories and a bloc of nations outside the Arab world, reports MercoPress.

The Mercosur nations — Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay — have all recognized the Palestinian state over the last year.

The Palestinian Authority previously only traded with Argentina, according to the Latin American Integration Association. The new deal gives it access to the world’s fourth-largest economic bloc.

read more

Mexico uses Mayan doomsday prediction to lure tourists

The world may or may not end on Dec. 21, 2012. But either way, Mexico and Guatemala are hoping to attract plenty of tourists before then.

Dec. 21, 2012: Doomsday, the end of an era, or just a regular day?

It's exactly one year away, and if this is the world's last year (or even if it isn't), Mexico sure hopes to profit off the writing on a 1,300-year-old Mayan stone tablet.

Mexico's tourism agency expects to draw 52 million visitors over the next year to the five states with the most Mayan heritage, reports BusinessWeek.

The city of Tapachula is starting a countdown clock. Near Cancun, people are putting messages in a time capsule that will be buried for 50 years.

read more

Latin American exports rise in 2011

Exports from Latin America and the Caribbean will total $1.1 trillion for the year.

Latin American exports grew 26 percent from last year for a total of $1.1 trillion in 2011, says a report by the Inter-American Development Bank.

Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru — members of the Andean Community — saw the biggest increase at 37 percent, says the report.

The Mercosur trade bloc of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay was next at 28 percent.

Venezuela clocked at even better performance, growing exports 45 percent in the first nine months of the year.

read more

Person of the year: a Chilean protester?

Guardian readers vote for Camila Vallejo, the face of the Chilean student protests, as person of the year.

Time magazine went for abstraction with its person of the year: the protester.

But not everyone always agrees with Time. (Remember when they named "you" the person of the year?)

So the Guardian asked its readers to vote who deserved the honor.

The overwhelmingly favorite answer: Camila Vallejo, face of student-led protests in Chile.

So who is Camila Vallejo?

read more

Argentina's most wanted criminals

Interpol added a former Argentine judge to its list of most wanted criminals.

Interpol issued an arrest warrant today for former Argentine judge Otilio Romano, who is wanted for "crimes against humanity" during Argentina's military dictatorship.

Romano, 68, appears on the website's list of most wanted criminals, reports Pagina/12.

Also on the list are international traffickers and terrorists, as well a son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

read more

Argentina deploys dogs to sniff out cash

Can golden retrievers and Labradors stop tourists from smuggling money out of the country?

Drug-sniffing dogs are old news at international airports.

But dogs that can find cash hidden in luggage? Argentina has 300.

The Argentine tax agency is deploying 300 specially trained golden retrievers and labradors to sniff out undeclared dollars, reports La Nacion.

The dogs can detect the smell of ink notes.

Last week, the dogs found $30,000 hidden in a spare tire of a BMW trying to cross into Uruguay, reports the Buenos Aires Herald.

read more