Today in Latin America
Top Story — The Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC, in Spanish), a leftist guerrilla army, released hostage Josué Daniel Calvo on Sunday, raising hopes that more of the remaining hostages might be freed in the near future.
Calvo, a soldier in the Colombian Army, was kidnapped in April of 2009, following a battle in Vistahermosa in which he was wounded.
Another hostage, Pablo Moncayo, is scheduled to be released unilaterally by the FARC on Tuesday.
Moncayo was abducted in 1997. His father, Gustavo is one of the most vocal proponents of a “humanitarian agreement” that would oblige the Colombian government to release all FARC prisoners in exchange for the FARC releasing the soldiers and police officers it holds hostage.
Colombian President Álvaro Uribe opened the door to the humanitarian agreement in a speech on Sunday, putting forth the condition that if FARC prisoners were released by the government, they must not take up arms.
“We can’t have a humanitarian agreement to return delinquents to the FARC, which would fortify their criminal capacity,” Uribe said, according to Colombian weekly Semana.
The FARC still holds 23 Colombian soldiers and police officers hostage, including Pablo Moncayo, according to The BBC.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Over 7,000 people gathered in Monterrey, Mexico Sunday to protest the wave of violence that has recently plagued the city. The protest happened only hours after two soldiers and a civilian were wounded in Monterrey.
- Mexican President Felipe Calderón said that resistance from lobbyist groups in the United States has blocked efforts to stop the flow of illegal assault weapons into Mexico.
- Haiti’s Voodoo practitioners held a public ceremony to honor those who died since the Jan. 12 earthquake. The death toll from the disaster is estimated to have surpassed 200,000.
- Cuban officials and U.S. travel industry representatives discussed future investment possibilities at a conference last week in Cancún, Mexico.
- Two journalists were killed in Honduras Friday after leaving the Excelsior radio station in the Olancho province, bringing the total number of media workers killed in Honduras this month to five.
- Costa Rican authorities seized over a ton of cocaine allegedly being transported from Colombia and arrested seven men.
- The Cycle Messenger World Championships will take place this year in Panajachel, Guatemala, making the country the first Latin American nation to host the event.
- A package bomb in El Charco, Colombia killed a 12-year old boy, who may have been given it to take to a local police station.
- A poll in Colombia has former Defence Minister Juan Manuel Santos leading in the race for the June presidential elections, but would likely face a run-off with Conservative candidate Noemí Sanín.
- Peruvian police said that five people died after heavy rains caused a mudslide in the country’s Puno region.
- An editorial writer for Ecuador’s El Universo newspaper was sentenced to three years in prison for editorial piece insulting the head of the Ecuador government’s National Financial Corp.
- Bolivia will be quadrupling its natural gas exports to Argentina over the next decade, according to a deal signed Friday in the Bolivian city of Sucre.
- Paraguayan soccer player Salvador Cabañas, who was shot in the head in Mexico two months ago, has taken yet another step towards recovery by taking free kicks and shooting baskets in an Argentinean rehab center.
- 76 percent of Brazilians feel positively about president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, according to a recent poll by Datafolha.
- Uruguayan president José Mujica left for Brazil on Sunday for an official visit, where he will hold talks with Brazilan President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Image: Pattoncito @ Flickr.