Today in Latin America
Top Story — With the death toll at 73 people, alleged Jamaican drug lord Christopher “Dudus” Coke has yet to be captured and some are accusing the police of using indiscriminate force, according to reports from The New York Times and The Guardian.
Both news sources published reports saying they had spoken with residents of Tivoli Gardens — the neighborhood where the violence has been taking place — who claimed that government forces had killed unarmed people and innocent civilians.
Amnesty International, a human rights organization, has called for a “thorough investigation” into the killings of civilians in Jamaica this week.
“The government is committed and insistent that the rights of citizens be respected,” Jamaican government spokesperson Daryl Vaz said on Thursday, according to The New York Times.
Coke was indicted several months ago in New York for gun and drug trafficking and his extradition was requested by the United States. After ignoring for the request for months, the Jamaican government abruptly changed course, approving the extradition request last week.
The violence began on Sunday, when the Jamaican government declared a month-long state of emergency in parts of the capital of Kingston after assailants shot at two police stations and torched a third with molotov cocktails. Police have attempted all week to apprehend Coke, to no avail. The government has issued a statement asking Coke to turn himself in, The New York Times reports.
More than 500 people have been arrested since Sunday, according to CNN.
Other top news: Colombia will hold presidential elections on Sunday. The close race is predicted to result in a second round contest between former defense minister Juan Manuel Santos and former mayor of Bogotá Antanas Mockus.
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.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Mexican President Felipe Calderón lobbied the Canadian government to ease visa restrictions for Mexican citizens on Thursday.
- Pedro Roberto “La Pina” Velázquez Amador, alleged leader of the Beltrán Leyva drug cartel, was killed in a shootout Wednesday morning.
- Overweight police officers in Mexico City police are being put on diet.
- Haitian President René Préval has asked the United Nations to help form an independent commission to investigate allegations that police killed dozens of prisoners in the aftermath of the Jan. 12 earthquake.
- Cubans are using condoms for purposes other than safe sex.
- The Republic of Guyana celebrated its 44th year as an independent country.
- The Panamanian government apologized to the family of leftist Heliodoro Portugal for disappearing him in 1970.
- Thousands of indigenous protesters have blocked a key road this week to protest a 30 percent rise in electricity rates.
- FIFA has lifted a ban on El Salvador’s soccer authority, which had been imposed due to government interference.
- Peruvian indigenous leader Alberto Pizango was released on bail Thursday, after being detained when he returned to the country from Nicaragua.
- Members of an indigenous community in Bolivia say they have killed four policemen in Potosí. They accused the policemen of extorsion.
- In Chile, a woman lept from a tall building in an apparent suicide, and landed upon another, killing both instantly.
- The rift is widening in the U.N. Security Council between the U.S. and the countries of Brazil and Turkey over an agreement the latter two signed with Iran.
Image: bbcworldservice @ Flickr.