Today in Latin America
Top Story — FARC guerrillas in Colombia freed a soldier held hostage for more than 12 years, ending the mission of the soldier’s father who hiked across the country in 2007 with a chain around his neck to demand the release of his son.
Sgt. Pablo Emilio Moncayo was released Tuesday and flown to an unannounced location in southern Colombia by a Brazilian helicopter, where guerrillas handed him over to to a humanitarian team led by Colombian Sen. Piedad Córdoba.
Moncayo was taken captive on Dec. 21, 1997 at the age of 19 during an attack on a mountain outpost. A Red Cross spokesman said that Moncayo was in generally good health.
“After more than 12 years in captivity, Sgt. Pablo Emilio Moncayo was handed over this afternoon,” the Red Cross said in a statement, according to Reuters.
Moncayo is the second hostage freed by the FARC this week. The other, Josué Daniel Calvo, was released on Sunday.
New at the Latin America News Dispatch
- We’re pleased to announce that Alison Bowen has launched a blog called “Beyond Borders” for the Dispatch, where she will cover immigration. Have a look at the first installment, “Tougher Bills Emerge for Immigration Enforcement.”
- The Americas Society held a roundtable discussion in New York City with representatives of the private sector to ask what the investment climate in Cuba looks like for U.S. companies. They were not very optimistic. Read our dispatch to find out why.
- Mari Hayman tells the story of Aleida Gallangos and Juan Carlos Hernández, siblings whose parents were disappeared in Mexico by state forces. They are now seeking justice through the Inter American Commission on Human Rights.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Mexican officials found Tuesday four decapitated bodies along a road from Cuernavaca to Acapulco in the central state of Morelos.
- The Competitive Alternatives 2010 study ranked Mexico as the most affordable place in the world to do business.
- Ten students were killed on their way to receive government scholarships by apparent drug gang members after their vehicle failed to stop at a checkpoint in the Mexican state of Durango.
- Two small earthquakes hit the Dominican Republic on Monday. There was no damage, and no injuries have been reported.
- Haiti is expected to ask for $4 billion in international aid at the United Nations today.
- An American doctor living in Guatemala was sentenced to six years in prison Monday for sexually abusing four 10-year-old boys.
- The search for a British journalist who went missing in Costa Rica six months ago has now been extended to Panama.
- Venezuelan boxer and WBC lightweight champion Edwin Valero entered a drug rehabilitation center in the city of Merida last weekend under court orders following his arrest on charges of harassing his wife.
- An arbitration panel awarded the Chevron Corp. $700 million in a three-year-old arbitration fight against Ecuador over a commercial dispute.
- Limited train service to Machu Picchu resumed this week in Peru.
- Brazilian Central Bank Chief Henrique Meirelles will decide in the next 24 hours whether to remain at his post, or resume his political career.
- Worker unrest in Argentina, the world’s third largest soybean producer, is causing soybean prices to rise due to consumer concerns over the country’s future exports.
- Unemployment in Chile has dropped from 8.7 percent to 8.5 percent for December through February, according to the government statistics agency on Tuesday.
- Police serving as security at Uruguay’s Libertad maximum security prison went on strike Monday. The strike is intended to secure improved working conditions and food.
- The Eastern European nation of Georgia established diplomatic ties with 4 Latin American nations – Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic and St. Lucia.
Image: Globovisión @ Flickr.