Bus Careens Off Peru Highway into Pacific, Killing 48

Six others have been taken to the hospital for injuries.

Forty eight people are now confirmed dead after a tragic bus accident on the “Devil’s Curve” along the Peruvian coast, just north of Lima. National Police said six others have been taken to the hospital for injuries.

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Fourteen of the deceased have been taken to the nearby Huaral morgue after their bus collided with a truck along the curvy, mountainous portion of the Panamerican Highway, causing their vehicle to fall at least 200 meters to the shore of the Pacific Ocean as it was traveling to Lima.   

"We are pulling up another 10 along the 200 meter cliff, 12 more are hung up along the side of the cliff and 12 bodies are still within the bus”, Huaral Police Chief Hernan Valdivieso told local media.

Rescuers said they are working as quickly as possible to recover all of the deceased and the bus before the tide comes in.

Four of the accident survivors were taken to the Alcides Carrion del Callao Hospital, where they are set to be operated on, director Maria Elena Aguilar said. The other two survivors were sent to two other separate hospitals.

Officials said the bus was speeding at the time of the crash.

The "Devil’s Curve" has been the scene of innumerable accidents owing to its high volume of large vehicles on its curvy, narrow structure that is continually shrouded in ocean fog. At least eight people die every day from motor accidents in Peru, according to the National Police.

President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski tweeted on his account, "it’s very painful for us, as a country, to have suffered an accident of such magnitude.” He expressed his “solidarity” with the families.

Several government institutions are working together to recover the bodies, including 150 firefighters who are managing to bring up one body at a time in an area “completely inaccessible,” commented Larry Lynch, vice president of the Firefighter's Association.

  • Published in World

Casanova contributes 27 points to Cuban victory

Heidy Casanova recorded a tournament-high 27 points as Cuba stormed past Chile in straight sets 3-0 (25-12, 25-17, 25-19) improving their record at 2-1 in Pool B of the XVI Women’s Volleyball Pan American Cup by Movistar at Eduardo Dibós Coliseum of Lima on Monday. Chile is winless in three outings.

Casanova was the only Cuban player with double figures in the balanced offense of Cuba where Regla Gracia and Laura Suarez contributed 9 and 8 points, respectively. Catalina Melo was the best Chilean with 14 points.

Cuba dominated in attacks 53-26 and held the advantages in blocks and 6-3 in service winners.

Sulien Matienzo, Captain of Cuba: “We went out to battle for the points and now we have to play hard against Dominican Republic in our next match.”

Catalina Melo, Captain of Chile: “It was a very tough match, but we need to learn to play against teams like Cuba. I think we have been playing better and better.”

Wilfredo Robinson, Coach of Cuba: “We didn’t want to allow that many points to Chile, but they have grown with the competition. Our goal is to win at least one set or two against Dominican Republic.”

Eduardo Guillaume, Coach of Chile: “The attack of Cuba was very strong as usual, but today they were accurate also. It was very difficult for us to play.”

  • Published in Sports

Cuban Doctors Reinforce Hospital Staff for Care of Peruvian Victims

Specialists from the Cuban medical brigade working in solidarity in this northern Peruvian city, affected by major floods, began today to reinforce the field hospital installed to take care of the victims.

The head of the brigade, Rolando Piloto, told Prensa Latina that three general practitioners, a pediatrician, an intensivist clinician and five graduates in nursing were assigned that mission.

The rest of the brigade and epidemiological staff, he said, have been regrouped and distributed in three of the five shelters that house thousands of victims.

The ones who are in shelters are families left homeless by floods and Cuban health professionals provide health care in these camps.

Piloto said that the three groups are located in shelters called 980, San Pablo and El Pedregal, which concentrate the largest number of evacuees and where sanitary conditions are at risk.

  • Published in Cuba

Cuban Medical Brigade Begins Working in Peruvian City of Piura

The Cuban doctors began offering their services in field hospital tents they carried with them along with 4.2 tons of medicines and medical supplies.

The Cuban contingent of the Henry Reeve Medical Brigade began Saturday to provide assistance to victims of heavy rains and floods in the Peruvian city of Piura, one of the areas hardest hit by the natural disaster associated with the El Niño phenomenon.

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In Piura, the Cuban doctors began offering their services to the population in field hospital tents they carried with them on the trip. They also carried with them 4.2 tons of medicines and medical supplies, as well as 6 million chloride tablets to make water drinkable in the affected areas.

The 23 professionals, making up the Cuban contingent, arrived in Piura Friday night, from Lima, the country’s capital, where they had arrived earlier on Friday.

Prior to traveling to Piura, the Cuban health professionals met in Lima with Peruvian Health Minister Patricia García, who thanked them and the Cuban government for the solidarity gesture.

  • Published in Cuba

Black Market for Latin American Cultural Heritage Revealed

Between 2008 and 2016, the main auction houses of Europe and the U.S. sold more than 7,000 items that are part of the archeological heritage of Peru.

Five investigative journalism teams have joined forces to bring to light the trafficking of cultural heritage items from Latin America. The group includes Ojo Publico from Peru, La Nacion from Costa Rica, Plaza Publica from Guatemala, Animal Politico from Mexico, and Chequeando from Argentina.

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Through collective work, the teams published several articles showing the multi-million-dollar business of illicit trafficking of cultural goods from Latin America to the U.S. and Europe. They also found that this type of trafficking had many identifiable operators but very few were prosecuted and most avoided justice through the use of legal loopholes.

The research was done by analyzing thousands of prosecuting documents, databases, direct sources and interviews of those prosecuted. The overall picture obtained from the research showed the routes that link the countries with the largest cultural heritages to the centers of international antique markets, ultimately ending up at some of the most well-known academic institutions and research centers in the world.

According to Ojo Publico, the “struggle against the crime has failed in many countries” and “proof of it is the freedom enjoyed by almost all those accused of the biggest cases of stealing, exporting, commerce, and possession of illegal pieces of art discovered in the last decades.” Ojo Publico also found that the number of Latin American pieces sold to collectors in the main capitals of the world is larger than the 4,907 cultural objects that the International Criminal Police Organization is looking for.

The portal Chequeando documented that Interpol lists Argentina with the most cultural goods reported as stolen totaling 2,816. Argentina is followed by Peru with 1,031, Ecuador with 556, Bolivia with 449, and Mexico with 320.

All 39,000 cultural pieces reported stolen to Interpol in the last 100 years from 132 countries were compiled by Ojo Publico in a web database. However, the research demonstrated that the reported items are only a fraction of the total. The database also revealed auction houses from 14 countries where stolen pieces are frequently sold.

The investigation showed the problem is complex. The business of trafficking cultural items has an ample number of actors including people with important political connections like Matteo Goretti who is a former advisor to Argentine President Mauricio Macri. Goretti is currently under investigation because 59 archeological pieces stolen from a museum in Cordoba, Argentina, were found at his home.

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Other people involved in trafficking of cultural goods are also being investigated for drug-trafficking. Such is the case with Guatemalan Raul Contreras. The day he was arrested, police found 12 paintings from colonial times and 12 religious figures. Eleven out of those were stolen six months before from the Fine Arts Foundation of Guatemala by an armed group and two more were stolen from Honduras.

Another group of people involved in the trafficking of these goods are famous collectors like Nestor Janier Aude. In Buenos Aires, he has one of the best-known and largest antique stores in Latin America. However, he has a large judicial file for cultural trafficking. He has not served any time in prison for trafficking despite the fact that the Argentine government found 4,000 objects belonging to pre-Colombian cultures in Peru and Ecuador at two of his previous stores. The legal battle to repatriate the objects took 15 years and Janier’s crimes expired before he could be sentenced.

The five research portals published many other case studies of people involved in the trafficking of cultural heritage. However, they stated that this is just the beginning of their investigations and they will continue publishing details on how the market works. 

  • Published in Culture
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