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Latin American Briefs: Chile, Uruguay, Mexico, Honduras
Villarrica Volcano erupts in southern Chile on __ __ . Courtesy AP/Aton Chile
Villarrica Volcano erupts in southern Chile on March 3 . Courtesy AP/Aton Chile

By Laura Guardia

CHILE: Active volcano eruption
Early in the morning on March 3, the Villarrica volcano in southern Chile erupted, spewing ash and lava 3,300 feet into the air. More than 3,000 people have been evacuated. The volcano is located at 750 kilometers from the Chilean capital city of Santiago and its last major eruption occurred in 1985. Villarrica is an active volcano, but it’s also a peak many hikers climb during the summer to glimpse the volcano’s crater. As of right now, the activity has diminished, but authorities are still monitoring the volcano and verifying that all residents have been evacuated.

URUGUAY: President Mujica Leaves Office
Former Uruguayan president José Mujica was one of the few presidents that became well known for living a humble lifestyle and being an honest politician. Mujica, who has been in office for five years, isn’t eligible for a second consecutive term since the Uruguayan constitution doesn’t allow it. The newly elected president of Uruguay, Tabaré Vásquez, served as president from 2005 to 2010 and shares the same democratic political affiliation as Mujica. Mujica or ”Pepe,” as some call him, is a former guerrilla leader and his experiences during that period of his life have made him the humble man that so many people admire. Even as president, he still preferred living in his small cottage, giving 90 percent of his salary to charity and driving his light blue Volkswagen beetle.

MEXICO: Controversy after district attorney leaves office
Mexico’s Attorney General, Jesús Murillo Karam, stepped down from his post on Feb. 27 without solving the case of the 43 Ayotzinapa students who disappeared in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico on Sept. 26, 2014. The new attorney general, Arely Gómez, was appointed by President Enrique Peña Nieto. Gómez is a lawyer and politician affiliated with the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and has served as a senator for 4 years. Nevertheless, Gómez is sister of the vice president of the biggest mass media company in Mexico: Televisa. That family link has caused great controversy since it can be perceived as a conflict of interest.

MEXICO: Drug cartel leader arrested
Mexico’s most wanted drug trafficker, Servando Gómez Martínez aka “La Tuta,” was arrested on Feb. 27 in Morelia, Michoacán. Gómez was the leader of the Knights Templar drug cartel—a group formed in 2011 that controlled the methamphetamine trade as well as illegal trade of minerals in the area of Michoacán. The powerful cartel leader became the prime target of authorities and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. Gómez was captured and taken to a maximum-security prison in Mexico City.

Anna Cohen, a University of Washington anthropology grad student, documents a cache of more than 50 artifacts discovered in the Honduran jungle. Photo Dave Yoder, National Geographic
Anna Cohen, a University of Washington anthropology grad student, documents a cache of more than 50 artifacts discovered in the Honduran jungle. Photo Dave Yoder, National Geographic

HONDURAS: Lost civilization discovered
In the Honduran rain forest, a team of archaeologists have found various artifacts that could belong to a pre-Colombian civilization and an unknown culture. The region where the artifacts were found is known as La Mosquitía, which is located to the northeast of the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa. Signs of ruins were discovered in 2012 through an aerial survey, which prompted a team of specialists to explore the area more in depth. During this most recent expedition, they found a total of 52 artifacts, including vessels and stone sculptures. Additionally, they found what looked like a city with houses, plazas, and structures that seem to mirror Mayan way of thinking, but this civilization is thought to be distinct from the Mayans. Very little is known about it at this time, however, as more investigating and excavating will be done in order to explain this discovery.

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