5 things to know from Latin America and the Caribbean

Deadly quake on Ecuador’s southwest coast leaves 15 dead

An earthquake rocked Ecuador Saturday, toppling homes and buildings along the coast and as far off as the highlands and even parts of Peru, the Associated Press reported.

The United States Geological Survey reported the earthquake had a magnitude of 6.8 and was centered just off the Pacific Coast, about 80 kilometers south of Guayaquil, Ecuador’s second-largest city. It killed at least 15 people and injured more than 445 others.

Ecuador’s government issued an emergency declaration covering the roads in Azuay, where the quake debris cut off several roads and worsened already poor conditions attributed to the winter’s rainstorms.

The quake damaged and brought down hundreds of homes and buildings in vastly different communities, both in coastal areas and the highlands. However, many of the buildings that crumbled were old, did not meet modern building standards or had poor inhabitants.

To read the full AP story, visit: https://bit.ly/APEcuadorQuake

Cyclone rains in Peru leave 65 dead,thousands affected

Pacific Cyclone Yaku intensified this year’s rainy season in Peru, causing floods, landslides and mudslides that have displaced thousands, the AP reported. The overflow of rivers and flooding due to torrential rains have impacted agriculture and livestock, main roads, schools and hospitals.

As of Monday, local media count a toll of 65 dead, 128 injured and five missing. Authorities reported 1,521 homes destroyed, 2,148 homes deemed uninhabitable and over 27,843 homes affected.

Even though Cyclone Yaku has already moved away from the Peruvian coast, heavy rains are expected throughout the rest of the week in different regions of the country, especially along the coast and in the capital, Lima.

To read the full AP story, visit: https://bit.ly/APPeruRains

Mexico president holds massive rally ahead of ’24 elections

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador held a massive rally in Mexico City’s main plaza which was attended by tens of thousands of people Saturday, the AP reported.

The rally was called to commemorate Mexico’s 1938 expropriation of the oil industry, but many of those attending the rally Saturday agreed that it was the de-facto opening salvo to the 2024 elections that will choose the president’s successor.

The process to nominate a presidential candidate for the president’s Morena party will begin later this year, but most agree that few of the presidential hopefuls can match the popularity of a president whose approval ratings are routinely above 60%.

That is especially true for the Morena party, which was largely built around López Obrador. Whoever the party designates is likely to continue the president’s nationalist stance in favor of the nationalized oil company PEMEX and in opposition to United States’ calls to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations or to use the U.S. military to crack down on the gangs.

To read the full AP story, visit: https://bit.ly/APMexicoAMLORally

Venezuelan oilminister quitsunexpectedly amid graft probes,U.S. sanctions

Former Venezuelan Oil Minister Tareck El Aissami quit Monday amid investigations into alleged corruption among officials in various parts of the government, the AP reported. The resignation was shocking, considering El Aissami was seen as a loyal member of the ruling party and a key figure in the government’s efforts to evade punishing international economic sanctions.

National oil company PDVSA manages one of the world’s largest petroleum reserves, but mismanagement, corruption and economic sanctions imposed by the United States caused a steady production decline, decreasing from 3.5 million barrels a day in 1999 to roughly 700,000 barrels a day last year.

Corruption is widespread in Venezuela, but officials are rarely held accountable. However, experts believe that El Aissami’s resignation might be part of an attempt from Venezuela’s government to further soften the U.S. sanctions on Venezuela.

The U.S. government designated El Aissami as a narcotics kingpin in 2017 in connection with activities in his previous positions as interior minister and a state governor. In November 2022, the Congressional research center advised that El Aissami’s position might complicate efforts to lift oil sanctions.

Ohtani fans Trout, Japan tops U.S. to win World Baseball Classic

MIAMI — Shohei Ohtani emerged from the bullpen and fanned Los Angeles Angels teammate Mike Trout for the final out in a matchup the whole baseball world wanted to see, leading Japan over the defending champion United States 3-2 Tuesday night for its first World Baseball Classic title since 2009.

Ohtani, the two-way star who has captivated fans across two continents, was voted MVP of the WBC and clutched the award against his chest.

Ohtani beat out an infield single in the seventh inning as a designated hitter before walking down the left-field line to Japan’s bullpen to warm up for his third mound appearance of the tournament.

Flashing his 100 mph heat, Ohtani walked big league batting champion Jeff McNeil to begin the ninth before getting Mookie Betts to ground into a double play.

Trout, the U.S. captain and a three-time MVP, then ended the game by striking out on a full-count breaking ball. Ohtani’s only other save was in a Japan postseason playoff game in 2016.

Ohtani batted .435 with one homer, four doubles, eight RBIs and 10 walks as Japan joined the Dominican Republic in 2013 to become the only unbeaten champions of baseball’s premier international team tournament. Ohtani, the 2021 AL MVP was 2-0 with a save and a 1.86 ERA on the mound, striking out 11 in 9 2/3 innings.

Japan went 7-0 and outscored opponents 56-18, reaching the final for the first time since winning the first two WBCs in 2006 and 2009. No other nation has won the title more than once.

Munetaka Murakami and Kazuma Okamoto homered as Japan built a 3-2 lead.

Trea Turner put the U.S. ahead in the second with his record-tying fifth home run of the tournament and Kyle Schwarber pulled the Americans within a run when he went deep in the eighth off Yu Darvish.

It was the second straight major title for the Japanese, who beat the U.S. 2-0 in Yokohama for the 2021 Olympic gold medal. Japan used top players in that tournament while the U.S. sent released major leaguers and top prospects.

To read more about the World Baseball Classic, visit: https://www.mlb.com/world-baseball-classic


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