June 14, 2006
President-elect Alan Garcia said he refuses to apologize for comments he made about Hugo Chavez, who had strongly endorsed Garcia's rival in the recent elections, Ollanta Humala. After meeting President da Silva in Brasilia, Garcia declared that the interference by Chavez was "unacceptable in international law." (Ironically, Garcia expressed support for da Silva, who is expected to run for reelection in October.) For the time being, diplomatic relations between Peru and Venezuela will remain suspended. See Washington Post. This rejection of Chavista radicalism, coupled with recent statements Garcia has made in favor of free markets and foreign investment, make me think he really may have learned from past mistakes and mended his ways after all. It was also interesting that Garcia says he wants closer relations with Brazil, because Peru has historically maintained preferential ties with Argentina, which is sometimes at odds with Brazil.
After the lights went out in the U.S. mission in Havana, the State Department accused Cuba of a deliberate black out. Cuba flatly denied this, but Castro has recently vented harsher than usual rhetoric against Washington. See CNN.com. This is probably in response to an electric message board outside the U.S. mission that has been providing news and anti-Castro opinions to Havana residents at night since January. It may also be motivated by a desire to "strike while the iron is hot," acting in collaboration with Hugo Chavez in stoking regional tensions.
Four of the six Latin American countries in the 2006 World Cup won their first matches. Each team will play two more matches in the first round, which began June 9, and which will end June 23. Two teams from each of the eight groups (A - H) will go on to the round of 16, and so on, until the final championship game on July 9. Here are the results so far, in chronological order:
* The U.S.A. has a larger population of Spanish-speaking people than most countries in Latin America. For more scores and the upcoming schedule, see washingtonpost.com.
Almost immediately after his press conference this morning, President Bush welcomed President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia into the White House for a brief meeting. Bush congratulated Uribe on his reelection victory, and praised his counterpart's commitment to fighting narco-terrorism and upholding human rights; the latter issue is a matter of controversy in Colombia. See whitehouse.gov.