Today in Latin America
Top Story — Documents posted to the Center of International Policy’s “Plan Colombia and Beyond” blog indicate that the Department of Administrative Security in Colombia coordinated an attack of “political warfare” against independent journalist Hollman Morris.
The Colombian prosecutor’s office released documents from the country’s Department of Administrative Security (DAS, in Spanish; the Colombian equivalent of the FBI) to Morris, who gave them to the Center of International Policy and authorized their publication on the organization’s Web site.
The DAS’ tactics included the initiation of an “international smear campaign” involving “comuniqués,” “inclusion in a FARC video” and initiating the suspension of Morris’ U.S. visa, the documents show.
An investigation published by the Colombian weekly magazine Semana in February of last year revealed that the DAS had coordinated a series of illegal wiretaps of opposition politicians, human rights defenders, supreme court justices and journalists.
U.S. Ambassador to Colombia William Brownfield announced the suspension of financial aid to the DAS on Tuesday and said the money formally destined for the DAS would now go to Colombia’s police.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- By targeting gangs, police may end up profiling immigrant communities. Alison Bowen has more on her blog, Beyond Borders.
- Lesly Kernisant of the Haitian American-led investment group SImACT discusses the challenges of bringing investment to Haiti.
- The National Security Archive uncovered a diplomatic cable confirming that days before the assassination of former Chilean Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier in 1976, Henry Kissinger canceled a warning to southern cone dictators against carrying out a series of international murders.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested 47 people involved in a human smuggling network that illegally brought people from Mexico into the U.S.
- Stores began to reopen in Calexico, Mexico, 11 days after a magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook the border city.
- Esteban Morales, a Cuban historian, said on a state-run Web site that corruption was the biggest threat to Cuba’s communist system.
- Charges were dropped against the nine American missionaries accused of attempting to kidnap 33 Haitian children.
- Guatemalan President Álvaro Colom visited the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) headquarters to acknowledge support for indigenous populations.
- El Salvador’s President Mauricio Funes said Mexico’s Zetas cartel has entered El Salvador and begun what appears to be an exploration of opportunities with local gangs.
- The mother of a British backpacker who disappeared in a “puff of smoke” in Chiriqui, Panama, fears he won’t be found. Panamanian police reportedly “politely” rejected offers to work together from police forces in Manchester, England.
- Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Thursday that he supported U.S. free trade agreement with Colombia during a press conference in Bogota.
- Prosecutors in Venezuela are investigating the deaths of six Yanomami Indians in a remote community along the Brazil-Venezuela border.
- Ecuador’s Social Security Institute plans to buy around $1.09 billion in government-issued bonds.
- Farmers and ranchers in Peru will not lose access to water because of a Southern Copper project, according to the Peruvian Government.
- Brazil strengthened growing trade ties with China on Thursday at a summit for the world’s top four emerging markets. China will invest in a Brazilian steel plant, along with the country’s oil sector.
- A judge in Brazil suspended bidding on construction and operation of a proposed hydroelectric dam in the Amazon, but the government of Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva intends to appeal the ruling.
- Argentina’s senate narrowly voted Mercedes Marco del Pont the new president of the country’s Central Bank.
- Spain’s most prominent judge, known internationally for going after former Chilean ruler Augusto Pinochet and currently charged with abuse of power, denied any wrongdoing in his testimony on Thursday.
- Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay will complete free trade negotiations with Egypt in July, according to Egypt’s trade minister.