by the El Reportero’s wire services
People in recession-battered Puerto Rico were fuming Wednesday over the news that the mayor of a town of 40,000 near San Juan increased his monthly salary from $6,500 to $8,000.
By comparison, the mayor of San Juan – a city of around 400,000 people – receives $10,000 a month.
The pay hike for Mayor Isabelo “Chabelo” Molina’s pay hike was approved by the city council in Vega Alta, controlled by the main opposition PNP party, media outlets said.
The councilors also voted to increase their per diems for attending sessions from $64 to $100, Primera Hora newspaper pointed out.
Mexico sees 7.5 percent increase in international visitors
Mexico registered the arrival of 5.2 million international visitors by air in the first five months of 2013, an increase of 7.5 percent over the same period last year, the Tourism Secretariat announced on Thursday.
The United States remained the main tourist market for Mexico, providing 2.8 million visitors in the first five months of the year, a figure 7.2 percent above that registered during the same period in 2012.
During the same time span, 944,000 tourists arrived from Canada, 154,000 from Britain, 129,000 from Argentina and 113,000 from Brazil.
Just in May, 880,000 international visitors arrived by air, a 14 percent increase from the same month in 2012.
Tourism generates about 9 percent of Mexico’s gross domestic product, is the country’s third leading source of hard currency after oil exports and remittances and employs 2.5 million people.
Last year, Mexico welcomed 23 million international tourists and took in more than $11 billion in revenues from tourism.
Venezuela questions relations with Spain following Bolivian plane incident
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Thursday that he will re-evaluate relations with Spain in light of this week’s incident involving Bolivian head of state Evo Morales’ plane, which had to divert to Vienna after several western European countries barred the flight from their airspace.
“What Spain’s government did is disgraceful, trying to search the aircraft of a South American president,” Maduro said in Caracas on his return from an official trip to Russia and Belarus.
“What does that Prime Minister (Mariano) Rajoy believe, that we South Americans are your slaves?,” the Venezuelan leader said.
Morales did not arrive back in Bolivia until shortly before midnight Wednesday, more than 24 hours after he left Moscow, where he attended a conference of gas-exporting nations.
The Bolivian presidential aircraft spent 13 hours on the ground in Vienna as Austrian authorities searched the plane for former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who has released documents exposing Washington’s massive surveillance of global telephonic and Internet communications.
The diversion to Vienna came after Portugal, France and Italy barred Morales’ plane from their airspace, apparently on suspicion that Snowden was onboard.