Today in Latin America
- Top Story — The mayor of the Mexican resort town of Cancún was arrested and charged Tuesday with drug-trafficking, money laundering and having connections to organized crime.
- Prosecutors allege that mayor Gregorio Sanchez has ties to the Zetas and Beltran Leyva cartel and has made bank withdraws amounting to $2 million, much more than his declared income.
- The arrest and charges have also brought Sanchez’s run for governor of the Quintana Roo state to an end. Members of Sanchez’s political party, the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD, in Spanish), say that the charges are politically motivated and that his wealth stems from his real estate business.
- Sanchez is the first political candidate in the upcoming July 4 elections to be formally tied to the cartels, but fears have risen throughout Mexico that the powerful drug cartels are using bribes and intimidation to influence voting.
- In May, a mayoral candidate in a town close to Texas was killed by gunmen for failing to resign from the race and several more politicians throughout the country have been threatened. Later in the month Diego Cevallos, a former presidential candidate, was kidnapped near his ranch in the central state of Querétaro.
- Cancún, a town normally thought of as a haven for the college, spring break crowds, has seen a recent increase in cartel-related activity. Last month, Mexico extradited the former governor of Quintana Roo on charges of helping a cartel smuggle cocaine through Cancún.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- Silvio Rodíguez visits the United States for the first time in 30 years. The Latin America News Dispatch reports on the press conference he gave in New York City on Tuesday.
- Supporters of the DREAM Act started a hunger strike outside Senator Charles Schumer’s Manhattan office. Alison Bowen reports in the latest installment of Beyond Borders.
- Human rights organization Amnesty International called upon the Peruvian government to drop all charges against indigenous leader Alberto Pizango.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Gunmen allegedly kidnapped the two top officials of the traffic police between Sunday and Monday in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey.
- Juan Navarro, a Mexican immigrant who has homes in New York City and New Jersey, is running for mayor of his hometown of Serdan, Mexico.
- Mexico City will host an urban climate summit on November 21, 2010 to create a new advocacy and action mechanism for cities to address global climate change.
- The Cuban government is moving some political prisoners closer to their homes, in accordance with an agreement negotiated by Cardinal Jaime Ortega.
- Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding faces a no-confidence vote from Parliament, following violence in Kingston that left more than 70 people dead.
- Bill Clinton arrived in Haiti Tuesday to work on hurricane preparedness and pledged $2 million in support for Haiti from his foundation.
- Collapsed bridges have impeded efforts to rescue victims of tropical storm Agatha in Guatemala, where at least 152 have been killed and 100 are still missing since Saturday. At least 179 people were killed by the storm in all of Central America.
- A 6.1 magnitude earthquake hit Costa Rica Monday night, but did not cause damage or fatalities.
- Ruben Darío Granda, the brother of a high ranking FARC commander in Colombia, sought asylum with his family in the Nicaraguan embassy Monday.
- Costa Rica beat Switzerland 1-0 in a World Cup warmup Monday.
- Coal miners in Colombia who work for the Alabama-based company Drummond voted to go on strike after five weeks of salary negotiations stalled.
- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is secretly funding the Mexican guerrilla movement, the Ejercito Popular Revolucionario (EPR), according to U.S. and Mexican intelligence officials.
- Peruvian President Alan Garcia met with U.S. President Barack Obama Tuesday to discuss anti-drug trafficking efforts, immigration and the bilateral free trade agreement.
- A report from the Applied Economics Research Institute (IPEA) in São Paulo found that several key Brazilian airports are at risk of suffering a major “operational collapse” during the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games.
- The Pakistani man detained in the U.S. Embassy on May 10 for possession of explosives was released for a second time Tuesday after a judge ruled that his risk of fleeing Chile was minimal.
- Paraguayan Communications Minister Augusto dos Santos announced plans to launch Paraguay’s first state-run television network in May 2011.
- Filmmaker Oliver Stone visited Brazil Tuesday to promote a documentary about Hugo Chávez, and praised the country’s mediation with Iran on its nuclear program.
Image: Marcelo Gonçalves @ Flickr.