Today in Latin America
Top Story — Mexican police say they have intensified the search for missing politician and former presidential candidate Diego Fernández de Cevallos, who was kidnapped last week near his ranch in the central state of Querétaro.
Fernández, a lawyer who ran for president in 1994 as part of the National Action Party (PAN), was taken from his Hummer Friday and prosecutors said they had found “signs of violence” in the vehicle.
The search for Fernández has been widened from the state of Querétaro to the entire country of Mexico. Police and soldiers have searched the rural region around Fernández’ ranch as well as local hospitals.
“I want to send a message to all of you and to Diego Fernández de Cevallos himself, if there is a way for him to know: his children are strong, they are firm and confronting this situation with great resolve and courage,” said Mexican President Felipe Calderón from a summit meeting of European and Latin American leaders in Spain, according to Reuters.
No one has yet to contact police or the Fernández de Cevallos family with ransom demands or with any information as to the politician’s whereabouts.
This kidnapping comes days after the murder of mayoral candidate in Valle Hermoso, José Guajardo Varela and his son. Guajardo Varela had received threats to drop-out of the race in a town only 30 miles south of Brownsville, Texas.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Mexican President Felipe Calderón and his wife, Margarita Zavala, will be guests of honor at a White House state dinner Wednesday.
- The decapitated bodies of four young men were found in a shopping center parking lot in the northern Mexican city of Gómez Palacio
- The Dominican Liberation Party is poised to win all but 1 of the Senate’s 32 seats in congressional elections held on Sunday.
- Cuba’s private farmers will purchase equipment directly in the future, instead of having it allocated to them by the state, officials said on Sunday.
- A U.S. missionary was convicted in Haiti of attempting to illegally take 33 children out of the country. She was sentenced to the time she has already spent in prison and is now free to leave the country.
- Christiana Figueres of Costa Rica was appointed the new U.N. climate chief Monday by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. She will act as the executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.
- Manuel Zelaya, the Honduran president ousted in a coup last June, met Saturday with Raul Castro in Havana.
- The Toronto-based gold mining company Goldcorp was criticized for labor and environmental rights violations in Guatemala after shareholders pressured the company to hire an independent consultant to appraise its human rights record.
- Seven former employees of Dole Food Corp. in Nicaragua claimed Friday that the company bribed them to give testimony that would discredit a lawsuit accusing Dole of exposing workers to harmful pesticides.
- Colombia endorsed the the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) Statement of Interdiction Principles, which aims to undertake measures to interdict illicit transfers of WMD-related items, exchange relevant information, and strengthen national legal authorities.
- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will not attend the European Union-Latin America summit in Madrid. Chavez did not provide a reason for why he would miss the summit.
- In March, Peru’s economy expanded at the fastest pace in 17 months due to a surge in construction and manufacturing output.
- Bolivian President Evo Morales met Pope Benedict XVI Monday during his European tour.
- An opinion poll published Monday showed that Brazilian presidential candidates Dilma Rousseff and Jose Serra are running neck-and-neck in the country’s upcoming October elections.
- Brazilian business groups are lobbying President Lula da Silva to renege on his agreement to triple the amount of money paid to Paraguay for energy from Itaipú Dam, situated near the border of the two countries.
- Argentine economic minister Amado Boudou announced in a conference Monday in Rome that the country would not change the terms of its debt swap.
- On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against a Texas woman who left Chile with her son during a custody dispute with the boy’s British father.
- Uruguay was found to be among the most “positive” countries in Latin America in a 21-country poll conducted by the Ibero-American Consortium of Market and Research and Advice.
Image: El_Enigma @ Flickr.