Mexican Drug War: Suspected Tijuana Cartel Leaders Raydel López Uriarte, Manuel García Simentel Arrested

800px-Mexican_drug_cartels_2008

800px-Mexican_drug_cartels_2008Today in Latin America

Top Story –The Mexican authorities arrested Raydel López Uriarte and Manuel García Simentel, allegedly the two remaining leaders of the Tijuana narcotrafficking cartel. Manuel is suspected to have taken control of the cartel after his brother, Teodoro García Simentel, was arrested last month.

The arrests occurred days after The Associated Press reported that Mexico’s homicide rate has declined over the last decade, despite the country’s increasingly notorious reputation for drug war violence.

The news of the arrests also comes as prominent voices in Mexican politics are reassessing Calderón’s drug war, which has enjoyed material support from the United States government through the Mérida Initiative. “The Mexican drug war is costly, unwinnable, and predicated on dangerous myths,” wrote former Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda in an article for the current issue of Foreign Policy Magazine.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

  • Mexican media conglomerate Televisa plans to pay $1 billion for between 20 and 30 percent of the wireless phone company Nextel’s Mexican operations. Televisa submitted a proposal to Mexico’s anti-trust commission on Monday.
  • Floods in central Mexico have killed 33 and left thousands of others homeless.

Caribbean

  • The Dominican Republic baseball team defeated Venezuela Sunday to win the 2010 Caribbean Series. The Escogido team beat Venezuela’s Leones del Caracas 7-4 and New York Mets outfielder Fernando Martínez took the series MVP.
  • Prime Minister of the Bahamas Hubert Ingraham announced that 62 Haitians arrested at sea on Saturday will be returned to Haiti.

Central America

  • A gunman killed five people and wounded six others after opening fire in a restaurant in the Salvadoran city of Tonacatepeque.
  • Work began Monday on the next phase of the Panama Canal expansion. This phase plans to deepen the canal and is partially funded by money from Japan and Latin American money.

Andes

  • Colombia plans to ship out 500 million flowers to markets around the world in preparation for Valentines Day.
  • Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ordered the expropriation of some of Caracas’ historic buildings, after an impromptu tour of the city’s main square. One of the buildings was once occupied by Latin American indpendence hero Simon Bolivar.
  • South American leaders met today in Quito, Ecuador to discuss the region’s response to the earthquake in Haiti.

Southern Cone

  • Former Argentine President Néstor Kirchner is recovering well after emergency surgery to unblock an artery.
  • Beyoncé performed in Rio de Janeiro on Monday night to a crowd of 14,000. She will continue to tour South America until Feb. 18, with stops in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Trinidad and Tobago.

Image: U.S. Congress

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