Today in Latin America
Top Story — Lori Berenson, an American convicted on terrorism charges 15 years ago in Peru, will be released as early as Thursday after being granted parole.
In 1996, Berenson was convicted in a military court of collaborating with the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA), a left-wing rebel group, and sentenced to life imprisonment, which was later reduced to 20 years in prison. She has constantly denied all the charges.
“I’m very happy. I am going to have three glasses of wine,” her father Mark Berenson told the Associated Press. Berenson’s parents are university professors and she eneded her education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to travel throughout Latin America.
The announcement of her parole was made Tuesday in a televised court hearing after Berenson’s lawyer, Aníbal Apari Sánchez, who is also her hsuand, made the request to Judge Jessica León Yarango.
The Berenson family estimates that they’ve spent more than $1 million on legal and travel fees to defend and support their daughter.
“I think what was hardest for me was the knowledge that she was being unjustly deprived of living fully in the prime years of her life,” said her mother, Rhoda Berenson, a physics professor at New York University, to ABC News.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- Alison Bowen blogs about President Obama’s pledge to send 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, in the latest installment of Beyond Borders.
- Police appear to be making strides toward containing drug trafficking violence in Rio de Janeiro. Find out why in this Dispatch.
- A special report on Colombia’s DAS intelligence service’s plan to disinform the public, impede political opposition and intimidate the country’s citizens.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- A Mexican state attorney general resigned this week after a public outcry over how he handled the case of a little girl whose body was found in her bed nine days after her parents launched a search for her.
- Gabriel Vargas, the creator of one of Mexico’s most-beloved comic strips, “La Familia Burron,” died Tuesday at the age of 95.
- The United States and Mexico have agreed on a second round of U.S. anti-drug aid for Mexico, according to Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Patricia Espinosa. The amount of money, name and time frame have not yet been determined.
- The Cuban government has yet to open a legal case against Alan Gross, a U.S. citizen detained for allegedly distributing prohibited satellite communications equipment, Cuban officials said Wednesday.
- At least 44 people have died in Jamaica, since violence broke out between police and supporters of alleged drug cartel leader Christopher “Dudus” Coke.
- Trinidad and Tobago elected Kamla Persad-Bissessar as its first female Prime Minister.
- Standard and Poor’s raised Panama’s credit rating to investment grade on Tuesday.
- The Costa Rican government is concerned about a possible outbreak of AH1N1 flu in the country’s indigenous communities.
- The El Salvadoran government’s commemoration of poet and leftist guerrilla Roque Dalton’s death is causing thorny political problems.
- The latest Gallup poll shows Colombian Green party candidate Antanas Mockus at 35 percent and former defense minister Juan Manuel Santos at 37 percent in the run-up to the May 30 presidential elections.
- Venezuela asked the United States for help and information on 14 Venezuelans it says were detained in the U.S. for alleged money laundering schemes involving Venezuela’s unregulated currency market.
- Ecuador plans to issue an additional $130 million in local bonds on top of an already-announced program to place $1.52 billion worth of the paper.
- Former Colombian model Angela Sanclemente was arrested in Buenos Aires on drug trafficking charges.
- Argentina’s famous Teatro Colón has reopened.
- Brazilian police chief Clayton Leão Chaves was shot dead while giving a radio interview about the fight against local drug traffickers.
Image: Bracani….Antonio @ Flickr.