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Cuba has survived more than 40 years of US sanctions intended to topple the government of Fidel Castro. It has also defied predictions that it would not withstand the collapse of its main supporter, the Soviet Union.. Cracking down on a growing drug problem in communist Cuba, a tribunal has sentenced five people to prison terms ranging from 25 to 30 years for cocaine trafficking.

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Cuban President Fidel Castro insinuated that the United States’ president was "stupid" and a "mafioso."

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one of the poorest and most densely populated countries in the world two major groups of drug traffickers human rights record improved slightly

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Prime Minister Keith Mitchell to release conspirators from 1983 coup which led to a U.S. invasion of the island New tough money-laundering law OAS: $600,000 project to move people from coastal areas to higher ground

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per capita annual income of around $400 Violence against women, societal discrimination against women, and government neglect and abuse of children remain problems

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Social and cultural traditions perpetuate violence against women Vigilantism, involving spon- taneous mob executions in response to crime, continued to be a problem

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Local bottled water industry selling contaminated product Asbestos found in 19 schools in rural areas Physical abuse of women continued to be an extensive problem

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The population of about 3.5 million includes nearly 40,000 indigenous people among 8 ethnic groups. Most live in traditional communities on 22 reserves which, because of their remote location, often lack access to schools, health care, electricity, and potable water

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UNICEF reports the highest infant mortality rate in Central America Violence against women, including domestic violence, remains common among all social classes

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Violence against women remained widespread. The Government was unable to prevent the abuse of street children

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There have been numerous reports of executions carried out by rival drug gangs In Chiapas, armed groups harass and intimidate rural communities The most pervasive violations of women's rights involve domestic and sexual violence

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President Arnoldo Aleman under suspicion of rapidly expanding personal wealth $454 GDP many poor children are forced to beg by their parents

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The handover of the Panama Canal on December 14, 1999, sparked a huge national celebration minimum wage ranges from $0.77 per hour to $1.33 per hour

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65 % of population below poverty line Large reserves of minerals, oil, and timber could make it a rich country Most Amerindians and Maroons suffer a number of disadvantages

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There were a number of reports of anti-Semitic vandalism, threats, and occasional instances of anti-Semitic violence The monthly national minimum wage is $200 (200 pesos), which is not sufficient to provide a decent standard of living for a worker and family.

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In the past twenty-five years Argentines have had to struggle with military dictatorship, a lost war over the Falkland Islands, and severe economic difficulties The legacy of military rule from 1976- 1983 is still an open wound. The fate of many of the thousands of 'disappeared' - opponents of the junta - is still unclear.

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Violence against women is pervasive Discrimination against, and abuses of, indigenous people continued Bolivia is one of the world's largest producers of coca, the raw material for cocaine

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Attempt to launch satellite with Brazilian rockets failed Investigation of drug trafficking uncovers many government officials involved in organized crime Extrajudicial killings continued to be a serious problem throughout the country

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1,800 MILES

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Massive logging project in Southern Chile postponed 34 percent of children under 12 years of age experience serious physical violence

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With one exception, it has been relatively free of the coups and arbitrary govern- ments that have blighted the region. This exception was the 17-year-long dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, whose coup in 1973 was the bloodiest in 20th-century Latin America and left more than 3,000 dead and missing. Pinochet's dictatorship ended in 1990.

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200 indigenous people marched 500 miles to Bogota to protest a dam According to army and United Nations estimates, there were between 50,000 and 70,000 antipersonnel landmines located in 15 departments (regions)

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highly stratified society left-wing insurgents/rebels But the lucrative returns from drugs and kidnapping now dominate the rebels' agenda, At the other end of the political spectrum are right-wing paramilitary groups Colombia is one of the most violent countries in the world

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A state of emergency was imposed and in Guayas province remained in force for much of the year 2000. Hundreds of people were detained by the police and armed forces for not carrying their identity documents.

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Paraguay's longstanding political crisis culminated last March with the assassination of Vice-President Luis María Argaña and the killing of at least seven demonstrators President Raúl Cubas Grau resigned

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High population growth and forest clearance have led to a dramatic increase in the number of landless families. This, in turn, has boosted migration into urban areas, causing a rapid growth in shanty towns. Thus, an already large wealth gap is increasing, with an estimated 60% of urban and 80% of rural dwellers living below the poverty line.

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Thousands of unresolved cases of human rights violations The fraction of the armed opposition group Shining Path remained active Reports of torture and ill- treatment by the armed forces and the police

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Despite the virtual destruction of the Shining Path and Tupac Amaru guerrilla groups, violence, in the form of murders, armed robberies and gang warfare, is still a problem, and Peru has yet to succeed in curtailing the production of coca.

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A special commission has begun work in Uruguay to investigate the fate of a hundred -and-sixty people who disappeared during the military dictatorship in the 1970s and 1980s.

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The authorities failed to give some 3,700 Colombians, who fled from political violence across the border into Venezuela, access to a full and fair asylum procedure Upsurge in violence linked to a Colombian plan to curb the illegal drugs trade which has military backing from the U. S.

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bomb attacks on Spanish and Colombian embassy buildings last week Oil Strike virtually brought Venezuela's oil industry to a standstill. The oil strike cost the country $4bn in lost exports alone, and Venezuela's wells are still only producing between a half and two-thirds of normal production.

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Country Reports on Human Rights Practices Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, U.S. Department of State, February 25, 2000 Cnn.com www.amnesty.org/ http://news.bbc.co.uk/

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