Latin America

Argentina's economy minister Nicolas Dujovne has resigned amid a financial crisis exacerbated by the president's defeat in a primary poll.

The country's peso shed 20% of its value against the US dollar after President Mauricio Macri suffered the resounding loss last Sunday.

In a letter to the president, Mr Dujovne said he had given his all.

Mr Macri was beaten in the primary elections by his left-wing rival Alberto Fernández.

Mr Fernández's running mate is former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner who presided over an administration remembered for a high degree of protectionism and heavy-handed state intervention in the economy.

He won the primary with 47.7% of the votes with Mr Macri receiving 32.1%.

Following the primary result, credit-rating agencies Fitch and Standard & Poor's downgraded the country's debt rating amid concerns about a possible future default.

Days after the defeat, Mr Macri announced a series of measures including income tax cuts and increases in welfare subsidies. Petrol prices will also be frozen for 90 days.

Mr Dujovne said that the government's economic team needed "significant renewal".

"I believe my resignation is in keeping with my place in a government that listens to the people and acts accordingly," he wrote.

He will be replaced by Hernan Lacunza, the current economy minister for Buenos Aires province.

A cabinet shuffle has been rumoured for several days.

Mr Macri was elected in 2015 on promises to bRead More – Source

Latin America

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A 21-year-old woman in El Salvador whose baby was found dead in the toilet where she gave birth has been cleared during a retrial.

Evelyn Hernández had always maintained she was innocent, saying that she did not know she was pregnant and lost consciousness during the birth.

Prosecutors had asked for a prison sentence of 40 years.

Her case has been closely watched in El Salvador and abroad with women's rights activists demanding she be acquitted.

El Salvador has one of the strictest anti-abortion laws in the world. Abortion is illegal in all circumstances and those found guilty face between two and eight years in jail.

But in many cases, including the one against Ms Hernández, the charge is changed to one of aggravated homicide, which carries a minimum sentence of 30 years.

Ms Hernández's case was the first of its kind in El Salvador in which a full retrial had been ordered.

Previously, women accused of aborting their babies have had their sentences commuted after their 30-year jail terms were deemed "disproportionate and immoral" but their verdicts were not overturned.

Women's rights activists hope Ms Hernández's retrial will set a precedent for other women jailed under El Salvador's strict anti-abortion laws to fight their sentences.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has in the past called on El Salvador to reform its "draconian" abortion laws.

What happened?

Evelyn Hernández says she experienced severe stomach pains and bleeding while at her home in rural El Salvador on 6 April 2016.

She went to the toilet, located in an outhouse, where she fainted. Her mother took her to a hospital, where doctors found she had given birth.

She was arrested after the body of her baby was found in the toilet's septic tank.

Ms Hernández, who was 18 at the time, says she had been raped by a gang member but that she had no idea that she was pregnant.

She said she had confused the symptoms of pregnancy with stomach ache because she had experienced intermittent bleeding, which she thought was her menstrual period.

"If I'd known I was pregnant I would have awaited [the birth] with pride and joy," she said in the past.

She also said that while she had "felt something come loose" inside her, she did not hear a baby cry out and did not realise she was giving birth.

She was initially accused of abortion but the charge was changed to one of aggravated homicide with prosecutors arguing she had hidden her pregnancy and not sought antenatal care.

In July 2017, the judge ruled that Ms Hernández knew she was pregnant and found her guilty. She was sentenced to 30 years in prison of which she has already served 33 months.

Why was there a retrial?

Ms Hernández' lawyers appealed against the judge's decision. They said forensic tests showed that the baby had died of meconium aspiration, inhaling his own early stool. This can happen while the baby is still in the uterus, during delivery or immediately after birth.

The lawyers said the test proved that Ms Hernández had not tried to abort the baby but that it had died of natural causes. "There is no crime," defence lawyer Bertha María Deleón said.

In February 2019, El SalvadoRead More – Source

Latin America

Argentina's economy minister Nicolas Dujovne has resigned amid a financial crisis exacerbated by the president's defeat in a primary poll.

The country's peso shed 20% of its value against the US dollar after President Mauricio Macri suffered the resounding loss last Sunday.

In a letter to the president, Mr Dujovne said he had given his all.

Mr Macri was beaten in the primary elections by his left-wing rival Alberto Fernández.

Mr Fernández's running mate is former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner who presided over an administration remembered for a high degree of protectionism and heavy-handed state intervention in the economy.

He won the primary with 47.7% of the votes with Mr Macri receiving 32.1%.

Following the primary result, credit-rating agencies Fitch and Standard & Poor's downgraded the country's debt rating amid concerns about a possible future default.

Days after the defeat, Mr Macri announced a series of measures including income tax cuts and increases in welfare subsidies. Petrol prices will also be frozen for 90 days.

Mr Dujovne said that the government's economic team needed "significant renewal".

"I believe my resignation is in keeping with my place in a government that listens to the people and acts accordingly," he wrote.

He will be replaced by Hernan Lacunza, the current economy minister for Buenos Aires province.

A cabinet shuffle has been rumoured for several days.

Mr Macri was elected in 2015 on promises to bRead More – Source

Latin America

Details provided by the sole survivor of a torture centre in Brazil could lead to the imprisonment of a man accused of raping her during her captivity.

The accused has so far been shielded by a 1979 amnesty law which prevents military officials from being prosecuted for crimes committed under military rule.

But now a court has ruled that he should stand trial for the alleged rape of Inês Etienne Romeu, who managed to survive her time at the clandestine torture centre by pretending she had been "turned" by her captors.

More than 400 people were killed or disappeared during Brazil's military rule and Ms Romeu's detailed account of her months in captivity at the clandestine prison dubbed "House of Death" were key in bringing information about the military's excesses to light.

Read more:

Watch: Brazil victims revisit torture cells

The ruling comes at a time when far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has expressed nostalgia for the time when Brazil was under military rule.

How did the ruling come about?

Prosecutors in the state of Rio have been investigating a former army sergeant, Antônio Waneir Pinheiro de Lima, over crimes he is alleged to have committed at a torture centre in the 1970s, when Brazil was under military rule.

They tried to open a criminal case against Sgt Lima but a judge in Rio state argued that Mr Lima was protected by an amnesty law.

The law, which was passed by the military regime in 1979 and upheld by Brazil's Supreme Court in 2010, shields those who committed "political crimes" between September 1961 and August 1979 from prosecution.

The prosecutors appealed against the judge's decision at a federal tribunal. On Wednesday, the judges on the federal tribunal voted two against one to open a criminal case against Sgt Lima.

The judges accepted the argument made by the prosecutors that the crimes Mr Lima is accused of, including rape and kidnapping, constitute crimes against humanity and as such cannot be covered by the 1979 amnesty law.

They ordered that Sgt Lima face a criminal trial. However, this decision could be overturned by the supreme court.

What is Sgt Lima accused of?

Sgt Lima is suspected of kidnapping, torturing and raping a left-wing activist at a torture centre in the Brazilian city of Petrópolis, north of Rio de Janeiro.

The woman, Inês Etienne Romeu, was the only person to leave the centre, dubbed House of Death, alive.

The building was a clandestine jail used to hide and torture left-wing activists. At least 22 political prisoners are thought to have been killed there.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Ms Romeu, who was arrested on suspicion of taking part in the kidnapping of the Swiss ambassador Giovanni Enrico Bucher, was held there between May and September 1971.

She said that during her captivity she was subjected to physical and psychological torture so severe that she tried to kill herself on three occasions.

She also said that she was raped twice by Sgt Lima who was one of the jailers at the "House of Death".

Sgt Lima has said that he was a "watchman" at the centre but has denied having any knowledge of what went on inside the house.

He was arrested in 2014 as part of an investigation into military-rule era crimes.

What became of Inês Etienne Romeu?

Ms Romeu managed to get ouRead More – Source

Latin America

Argentina's economy minister Nicolas Dujovne has resigned amid a financial crisis exacerbated by the president's defeat in a primary poll.

The country's peso shed 20% of its value against the US dollar after President Mauricio Macri suffered the resounding loss last Sunday.

In a letter to the president, Mr Dujovne said he had given his all.

Mr Macri was beaten in the primary elections by his left-wing rival Alberto Fernández.

Mr Fernández's running mate is former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner who presided over an administration remembered for a high degree of protectionism and heavy-handed state intervention in the economy.

He won the primary with 47.7% of the votes with Mr Macri receiving 32.1%.

Following the primary result, credit-rating agencies Fitch and Standard & Poor's downgraded the country's debt rating amid concerns about a possible future default.

Days after the defeat, Mr Macri announced a series of measures including income tax cuts and increases in welfare subsidies. Petrol prices will also be frozen for 90 days.

Mr Dujovne said that the government's economic team needed "significant renewal".

"I believe my resignation is in keeping with my place in a government that listens to the people and acts accordingly," he wrote.

He will be replaced by Hernan Lacunza, the current economy minister for Buenos Aires province.

A cabinet shuffle has been rumoured for several days.

Mr Macri was elected in 2015 on promises to bRead More – Source

Latin America

Details provided by the sole survivor of a torture centre in Brazil could lead to the imprisonment of a man accused of raping her during her captivity.

The accused has so far been shielded by a 1979 amnesty law which prevents military officials from being prosecuted for crimes committed under military rule.

But now a court has ruled that he should stand trial for the alleged rape of Inês Etienne Romeu, who managed to survive her time at the clandestine torture centre by pretending she had been "turned" by her captors.

More than 400 people were killed or disappeared during Brazil's military rule and Ms Romeu's detailed account of her months in captivity at the clandestine prison dubbed "House of Death" were key in bringing information about the military's excesses to light.

Read more:

Watch: Brazil victims revisit torture cells

The ruling comes at a time when far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has expressed nostalgia for the time when Brazil was under military rule.

How did the ruling come about?

Prosecutors in the state of Rio have been investigating a former army sergeant, Antônio Waneir Pinheiro de Lima, over crimes he is alleged to have committed at a torture centre in the 1970s, when Brazil was under military rule.

They tried to open a criminal case against Sgt Lima but a judge in Rio state argued that Mr Lima was protected by an amnesty law.

The law, which was passed by the military regime in 1979 and upheld by Brazil's Supreme Court in 2010, shields those who committed "political crimes" between September 1961 and August 1979 from prosecution.

The prosecutors appealed against the judge's decision at a federal tribunal. On Wednesday, the judges on the federal tribunal voted two against one to open a criminal case against Sgt Lima.

The judges accepted the argument made by the prosecutors that the crimes Mr Lima is accused of, including rape and kidnapping, constitute crimes against humanity and as such cannot be covered by the 1979 amnesty law.

They ordered that Sgt Lima face a criminal trial. However, this decision could be overturned by the supreme court.

What is Sgt Lima accused of?

Sgt Lima is suspected of kidnapping, torturing and raping a left-wing activist at a torture centre in the Brazilian city of Petrópolis, north of Rio de Janeiro.

The woman, Inês Etienne Romeu, was the only person to leave the centre, dubbed House of Death, alive.

The building was a clandestine jail used to hide and torture left-wing activists. At least 22 political prisoners are thought to have been killed there.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Ms Romeu, who was arrested on suspicion of taking part in the kidnapping of the Swiss ambassador Giovanni Enrico Bucher, was held there between May and September 1971.

She said that during her captivity she was subjected to physical and psychological torture so severe that she tried to kill herself on three occasions.

She also said that she was raped twice by Sgt Lima who was one of the jailers at the "House of Death".

Sgt Lima has said that he was a "watchman" at the centre but has denied having any knowledge of what went on inside the house.

He was arrested in 2014 as part of an investigation into military-rule era crimes.

What became of Inês Etienne Romeu?

Ms Romeu managed to get ouRead More – Source