Millions across South America hit by massive power cut


Millions of people across Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and southern Brazil were left without power early on Sunday after a massive power failure hit all four countries.

The outage was caused by a failure in in the electrical interconnection system, energy company Edesur Argentina said on Twitter.

The outage happened at about 7am local time, 12pm GMT.

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Mexico, Uruguay Initiative for Venezuela Dialogue Begins

The International Contact Group meets today to kick off their talks on how to create a peaceful dialogue for the situation in Venezuela.

European and Latin American leaders will gather Thursday in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo to discuss plan to solve the deepening political situation in Venezuela, but will steer clear of direct intervention.

RELATED Uruguay, Mexico Present Outline for Montevideo Conference

The International Contact Group on Venezuela proposed by Mexico and Uruguay at the beginning of the U.S. back coup, will hold its inaugural meeting Thursday, laying out a more hands-off approach that is at odds with calls by the United States and right-wing Latin American governments for more intervention.

The gathering comes on the heels of a separate meeting of the harder-line Lima Group in Canada, which included the group of countries that support a coup in Venezuela.

The latest conflagration of tensions erupted when Juan Guaido, a lawmaker from Venezuela's National Assembly, a legislative body held in judicial contempt by the Supreme Court since 2016, illegally declared himself interim president on Jan.10.  

On the eve of the meeting on Wednesday, Mexico, Uruguay and Caribbean countries presented a plan for Venezuela, titled the “Montevideo Mechanism.”

“This is based on good faith, where we don’t intervene unless with dialogue, negotiation, communication and a willingness to contribute,” Mexico's foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, told reporters in Montevideo, echoing comments made earlier this week.

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Uruguay: Jose Mujica Calls For Left To Unite Against Right-Wing

"The right united out of interest, but we divide ourselves over ideas," Uruguay's hugely popular former president said.

FIDEL Former Uruguayan President Jose Mujica is calling for the left to unite and fight back against the rise of the right-wing in Latin America, and has praised Cuba and Fidel Castro as an example for the region.

RELATED: Brazil: Uruguay Ex-President Mujica Says Lula 'In Good Spirits'

Mujica pointed to historical examples to emphasize the necessity of a united left front, recalling the long rule of Spanish 20th century dictator Francisco Franco, who "died in bed, of old age, peacefully, because communists, socialists and anarchists dedicated themselves much more to fighting among themselves rather than fighting against fascism."

He said he understands the lesson is a hard one to learn, because "every sect of the left thinks it has the revealed truth," but this mentality ends up destroying possible victories.

"The right united out of interest, but we divide ourselves over ideas," Mujica said.

Mujica was reflecting on the upcoming meeting of the Sao Paulo Forum, which is an international unity of Latin American leftist groups.

The former president emphasized the importance of this meeting given the current regional political situation: "It pains me what is happening in Nicaragua, in Ecuador and in Venezuela," Mujica said.

Cuba, and former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, are examples to be followed, Mujica said: Cuba is "like a sort of altar in our religion" and Fidel Castro should be "honored daily through our militancy and everyday commitment."

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Welcome to the club! Cavani joins Suarez in Uruguayan goalscorer record

Edison Cavani has joined teammate Luis Suarez in scoring in three consecutive World Cups with his strike in a 3-0 win against Russia. The strike duo are the only Uruguayans in history to achieve the feat.

Cavani grabbed the third and final goal of Uruguay's 3-0 thrashing of hosts Russia in Samara as the team recorded three wins from three group games, and advanced to the knockout stage in first place. They will now play in Sochi against the runners-up of Group B in the last 16. 

Russia, who had already qualified from the group stage for the first time in their history, will return to Moscow and their home Luzhniki Stadium, for the knockout stage against the Group B winners.

It was Suarez who opened the scoring at Samara Arena with a free-kick within 10 minutes with a low strike that benefited from some questionable defending from veteran center back Sergei Ignashevich. 

Denis Cheryshev then scored an unfortunate own goal when a shot cannoned off his outstretched leg and into the net, giving Igor Akinfeev, who had already set his feet to dive for the ball, no chance.

READ MORE: Egypt star Salah signs off with goal but Saudis snatch late 2-1 win

Russia's misery was compounded when Cavani bundled home a late third to join Suarez as the only La Celeste players to score in three consecutive World Cups.

With their win over Russia, two-time World Cup winners Uruguay became the first team to win all three consecutive games since Argentina at France '98.

  • Published in Sports

Brazil: Uruguay Ex-President Mujica Says Lula 'In Good Spirits'

"They can hold your body, but not your heart," former Uruguayan President Jose 'Pepe' Mujica told the crowds of Lula supporters in Curitiba.

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is "in good spirits" despite his incarceration on corruption charges, says former Uruguayan President Jose 'Pepe' Mujica, who has visited the Brazilian presidential candidate in his detention center and delivered a message of encouragement to supporters.

RELATED: Brazil: Uruguay's Jose Pepe Mujica To Visit Lula In Prison

Mujica met with Lula's followers on Thursday outside the Federal Police headquarters in Curitiba, where they have been camped out since the Workers' Party (PT) representative was taken into custody April 7 on corruption allegations.

The former Uruguayan leader praised the achievements realized during Lula's administration, as well as his international endeavors within Latin America.

"Under Lula, Brazil behaved like an older brother," Mujica said, adding that he found the candidate "in good spirits" but was worried for the future of Brazil and Latin America as a whole.

Mujica said Uruguay is concerned about the coming elections and Lula's fate. "For a small country flanked by gigantic Argentina and Brazil, when a neighbor shuts us out, we – Uruguayans – will catch a cold."

Earlier Thursday, Mujica transmitted a live video via social media addressed to Lula's supporters: "They can hold your body, but not your heart."

"There is a slogan there that says 'Lula Libre' (Free Lula); really, the mind can never be imprisoned. They can imprison your body, but not your heart, your mind. For whatever purpose, your mind is your heart, to go on beating for the control of Brazil... For this reason, Lula is free.

"This long fight didn't begin with you or us and it will not end with our lives… It's a shame that it almost takes a miracle to serve one''s country faithfully, but it is our fight."

Lula's 12-year prison sentence is widely viewed as a political stunt by the ruling right-wing government to block Lula from running for re-election.

The 72-year-old leftist politician insists he is innocent. Despite being incarcerated, Lula remains ahead in the presidential polls for Brazil's October presidential election. The PT has repeatedly said they will register Lula as their official candidate come August.

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University 2018: Cuba is the Reference

Environment, renewable energy sources, sustainable and local development, the use of new technologies, tourism, industry, studies of Medicine, curricula, didactics, the role of university in different contexts, all of these subjects were discussed in the 11th International Congress of Higher Education Universidad 2018 — event that marked the 100th anniversary of the Argentine University Reform.

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University 2018 gathered more than 2,000 delegated from 60 nations.

Few hours before the closing ceremony, Cuba’s Minister of Higher Education Jose Ramon Saborido Loidi was asked by a colleague about the most interesting thing of the Congress and he highlighted that Cuba “is today a reference in the educative field.”

Without ignoring handicaps and obstacles, the truth is that our country can boast realities that are still yearnings for other countries of the world.

In this regard, following the 2030 Agenda and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN, 2015), the Minister pointed out: “we are in a better position to fulfill them” and noted that Cuba is working hard to meet these goals as soon as possible.

As he stressed in the opening ceremony speech: “The advance of the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development is imperative for the world as nations are trying to counteract the current unsustainable model of development—discriminatory, hegemonic, and predatory.

Today’s University in Cuba

There have been many changes in Cuba’s Higher Education from the Triumph of the Revolution to the present days, always aiming at improving the quality and access to Universities in Cuba.

In this regard, almost 1.5 million professionals have graduated from 1959 to present days. Therefore, 12% of the population and 22% of workers in Cuba has university level.

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Cuba’s Higher Education has graduated almost 1.5 million professionals

The remarkable growth of its institutions is another achievement. Cuba boasts today 50 universities all around the country compared to the 3 universities that existed back then (in Havana, Las Villas, and the Eastern side of Cuba). The system also includes 126 university centers in municipalities.

Destined to experience a continuous development process, the Higher Education in Cuba advances on the basis of an inclusive process, which has certainly brought positive results concerning material resources and financial savings as well as a better use of the workforce in universities, especially in the field of teaching.

The process that has been implemented since 2011 to updating Cuba’s economic and social model has demanded the accompaniment of the Higher Education as well. Thus, new policies have been approved.

A very good example of this is “the graduate and postgraduate teaching process improvement, short-and-medium term, so human potential stands behind the necessary technical, integral, and civic training, which allows working for the strategic goals for development.”

Likewise, as the Minister himself highlighted in the opening speech of Universidad 2018, “Cuba advances in the implementation of a new generation of curricula that sets the length of majors to four years and proposes a better interaction with the system of master’s degrees and postgraduate specialization through continuous training programs.”

The World and Higher Education

The critical nature and dissatisfaction of Cuban citizens lead us to believe we are the only nation in the world suffering from a certain ill.

However, this Congress allowed us not only to reflect on extremely serious problems affecting many countries in the region, but also to become aware of the right path of the policies undertaken by the Cuban State in order to overcome obstacles and certain quality index.

The testimonies of several foreign participants showed Higher Education is not going well and therefore, there is no positive sign in General Education (263 million students were not enrolled in schools as of 2014).

Uruguayan professor Fernando Rodal Mc Lean —President of the American Federation of Teachers— spoke in one of the panels about the need to “fight” against universities that limit enrollment. He also criticized that students, in order to access higher education, have to go into great debts.


“The university struggle —he pointed out— is the struggle for the quality of life of our people for the purpose of modifying the structure and functioning of capitalist society. It is to fight for a free university.”

Daniel Ricci, President of the Federation of University Teachers’ Union in South America, noted that Latin America is showing a regressive trend as the right has regained power in some of the nations. “Imperialism dislikes justice, equity, and free education and health care.”

Hence, it is important to reach that free, inclusive education and teachers can enjoy a decent job.

A moving situation was narrated by Salvadorians Monica Fernandez Rubio (Spanish woman naturalized citizen of El Salvador) and Sabas Clavel Fuentes, who showed the situations of young people in that country where just the 8% of the population have access to universities. In rural areas, this number barely represents 2%.

The International Congress of Higher Education Universidad 2018, in the words of the Minister Jose Ramon Saborido, was successful. “We have showed our truth and we have felt the appreciation of other nations for Cuba’s actions.”

The next Congress will take place on February 10-14, 2020. A lot will happen from now on. Nonetheless, Cuba will surely present new experiences, contributions, and impacts.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz/CubaSi Translation Staff

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Punta del Este Film Festival Opens in Uruguay

The Brazilian film "João, O Maestro,'' by Mauro Lima, inaugurates today the 21st edition of Punta del Este International Film Festival, in Uruguay, where over 50 national and foreign films will be screened.

With the award for the career of filmmaker Silvio Caiozzi in the Sala Cantegril, this film festival will begin, which will run until February 25.

The festival, considered the most important of its kind in the country and among the best in South America, will show productions from the region and Spain, as well as proposals from Japan, South Korea, Palestine and the independent cinema of the United States, among other nations.

In addition to the world cinema productions, 12 films will be in the Ibero-American Competition and for the first time 'Maldonado Filma' will be presented, according to the schedule announced by the organizing committee.

This initiative will show a dozen audiovisuals made in the homonymous department of the southeast of the country that were chosen by the Audiovisual Incentive Fund of the Municipality and were finalists in the 48th Film Festival.

The Filmusic Fest, in its third edition, will display productions about the lives of music personalities, which include films such as Vinicius, Yo Sandro y Chavela this year.

As in previous days, the Festival of Punta del Este will deliver the 'Mauricio Litman' awards in the categories of Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Actor and Audience Award.

The festival of celluloid will reach other cities in the territory such as Piriapolis and Aigua, among others, the organizing authorities said.

Argentine actor Miguel Angel Sola will be one of the guests of a week film event and will present the film "El último traje."

This event has the support of the Ministry of Tourism and is linked to other festivals such as Rio de Janeiro, Florianopolis, Rosario, Gramado, and is part of the strategy for the development of the audiovisual industry in Uruguay.

  • Published in Culture

Legendary Uruguayan Singer Daniel Viglietti Has Died

Viglietti died October 30 in Montevideo at age 78 due to complications from surgery. 

Uruguayan singer Daniel Viglietti died on Monday in Montevideo, due to complications from surgery.

RELATED: Colombia's Indigenous March to Demand Government Comply with Peace Accord

The renowned artist's death came as a surprise for everyone, including his sister, according to composer Ruben Olivera said. 

He was 78 years old. 

A beloved singer-songwriter, Viglietti led a generation of great Uruguayan musicians and performers who emerged in the 1960s in creating a unique sound for the era. 

Along with musicians such as Alfredo Zitarrosa and Los Olimarenos, he introduced what became known as the "Popular Uruguayan Song" which was itself linked to the widely popular "Nueva Cancion" - both a genre and a movement. 

Throughout his life, Viglietti remained committed to several notable causes and was favored among thousands of Latin Americans and European alike. Among his admirers was famous intellectual Jean-Paul Sartre.

In 1972 the singer was jailed for opposing military rule in Uruguay.

Among his best-known compositions are "A Desalambrar", "Cancion Para Mi America", "Milonga de Andar Lejos" and "Gurisito."

  • Published in Culture
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