Today in Latin America
Top Story — Barrio Azteca gang member Ricardo Valles has confessed to participating in the recent murders of three people connected to the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juárez.
Valles said he was directed by a gang leader to identify the vehicle of Arthur Redelfs, one of the victims. Valles says he followed Redelfs’ car, and then backed away when gang members opened fire, killing Redelfs and his wife Lesley Enriquez.
The third victim, Jorge Alberto Salcido, drove an SUV similar to Redelfs’ and was killed after leaving the same birthday party.
The motive of the murders is not yet clear. The BBC reported that investigators believed that the killings may have been retaliatory, since one of the victims worked in a U.S. prison where gang members are jailed.
A statement from El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles, however, said “is our understanding from our counterparts in the FBI there is no evidence to support the theory that any of the three victims were specifically targeted.” Wiles called Valles a “career criminal” whose credibility was open question.
Valles was arrested this weekend by the Mexican military, along with other alleged gang members suspected of involvement in the consulate murders.
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.
- Mexican federal police arrested the nephew of the alleged leader of the Zetas gang and a police chief in the town of Ciudad del Carmen.
- Mexico’s soccer coach announced the 17 players in he running for a World Cup roster spot.
- A Duke University graduate student found the first known, government-issued copy of Haiti’s Declaration of Independence in the British National Archives.
- U.S.-Cuba relations have slumped to their lowest point since President Obama’s inauguration.
- Police in El Salvador rescued a two-month old baby kidnapped in Mexico and brought to the country.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced that development specialist and former Senior Adviser to USAID in Pakistan Norma Parker will be the new Mission Director in Nicaragua.
- Doctors in Colombia said Sgt. Pablo Emilio Moncayo, recently released by the FARC, suffered from the parasitic disease leishmaniasis but was otherwise in good health.
- Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will meet with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez this week to discuss energy and arms ties.
- Ecuador will appeal the international arbitration court ruling awarding the Chevron Corp. $700 million.
- An organization led by an alleged neo-Nazi was allowed to register for elections in Peru.
- On Wednesday, Brazil’s Central Bank announced that it raised its outlook for inflation from 4.6 to 5.2 percent. The Bank’s projections for economic growth remain at 5.8 percent for 2010.
- Port workers and major export companies have reached a deal intended to resolve a strike blocking major agricultural exports in Argentina. Workers have been offered a 27 percent salary hike for 2010.
- Last month’s earthquake in Chile took a significant toll on a number of the country’s historical sites.
- Brazil and Uruguay have reached a bilateral agreement intended to strengthen their strategic partnership. The partnership is intended to help improve infrastructure.
Image: Scazon @ Flickr.