Today in Latin America
Top Story — Assassins killed three people with ties to the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juárez this weekend. A Consulate worker and her husband were shot to death in their car, and the third victim was the husband of a Consulate employee. Authorities suspect the killers belong to Mexico’s drug cartels.
The murders marked a turning point in Mexico’s drug war, with alleged drug traffickers now targeting people with direct ties to the U.S. government, according to The New York Times. Prior to the killings, escalating violence and threats prompted the State Department to initiate arrangements to evacuate consulate workers’ families from the country and restrict diplomats’ ability to travel within northern Mexico.
The State Department issued a Travel Warning for Mexico on Sunday in response to the attacks.
“I have spoken with our Ambassador in Mexico and we are working with the Government of Mexico to do everything necessary to protect our people and to ensure that the perpetrators of these horrendous acts are brought to justice,” Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said in a statement.
The FBI is participating in the investigation, reports The New York Times.
The murders of people with ties to the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juárez were part of a wave of violence that left 65 people dead in Mexico this weekend, according to Colombian daily El Tiempo. The state of Guerrero saw 45 murders, including 31 in the tourist city of Acapulco.
Roughly 18,000 people have been killed in Mexico’s drug war since 2006, according to The BBC.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Gunmen killed two American citizens and a Mexican man connected with United States consulate Saturday in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.
- 13 people were killed in the Mexican resort town of Acapulco Saturday, while 11 more were killed in the state of Guerrero.
- Cuban singer-songwriter Pablo Milanés told Spanish daily El Mundo that Castro should be criticized if dissident Guillermo Fariñas dies from his hunger strike to free political prisoners, saying that “ideas are discussed and combated, not imprisoned.”
- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called upon the international community to continue donating to the relief effort in Haiti after visiting the country this weekend.
- Honduran radio journalist David Meza Montesinos was killed Thursday by unidentified gunmen in the city of La Ceiba.
- El Salvador opened an embassy in Cuba and the two countries reinforced ties over the weekend.
- Film star Meryl Streep presented a leadership award to former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt Saturday at the United Nations.
- Colombian police found 35 pounds of cocaine mixed into replicas of three sculptures by artist Fernando Botero being shipped to Spain.
- Police in Portugal arrested an alleged member of the Basque separatist group ETA as he attempted to board a flight to Venezuela.
- Ecuador plans to appeal a ruling made last week by a United States District Judge who declined to stay international arbitration in the dispute between Ecuador and the Chevron Corp.
- Peru plans to create a tsunami-warning system to help protect its residents who live along the country’s Pacific coast.
- Bolivia dropped its bid to host the Miss Universe pageant, citing the the high costs of hosting the event.
- Brazilian President Lula da Silva arrived in Jerusalem Sunday to begin his tour of the Middle East. After meeting with Israeli leaders, President da Silva plans to visit the West Bank on Tuesday to meet with Palestinian leaders before traveling to Jordan.
- Chilean President Sebastian Piñera announced a 60-day earthquake recovery plan to restore Chile’s roadways, education and healthcare systems while on a two-day visit to the Maule and Bio Bio regions.
- The Argentine government announced a plan to restructure its $20 billion debt by the end of March.
- Uruguayan Defense Minister Luis Rosadilla will arrive in Washington D.C. on Monday to attend an OSA anti-terrorism meeting.
- Paraguayan soccer star Salvador Cabañas made his first public appearance Friday night in Mexico City since being shot in the head on January 25.
This post has been corrected. An earlier version incorrectly stated that Guillermo Fariñas was in prison.