Today in Latin America
Top Story — A cellphone video, released Thursday, appears to show a U.S. Border Patrol agent stopping several people attempting to cross the international border between Ciudad Juárez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas. The video shows the agent draw his gun and shoot at the Mexican side of the border where he allegedly killed Sergio Adrián Hernández.
The killing of a Mexican citizen by U.S. law enforcement, the second in two weeks, has drawn sharp criticism from Mexico, with some politicians calling for the agent’s extradition.
The unidentified Border Patrol agent shot Adrián Hernández after people of the Mexican side of the border began hurling rocks at the agent. It is unclear whether the agent crossed the international border, but shortly after the shooting Mexican federal police chased Border Patrol agents out of the riverbed separating the two countries, while a crowd on the Mexican side jeered the U.S. officials and threw rocks and firecrackers.
Mexican President Felipe Calderón said he was concerned over the two recent shooting deaths of Mexicans by border agents and demanded a full investigation into both killings and said guilty parties should be punished.
“The Mexican government is shocked and outraged by the killings of two nationals by the U.S. border patrol,” Calderón said in a statement, according to Reuters. “We are concerned by the surge of violence against Mexicans along with other recent anti-immigrant and anti-Mexican demonstrations in the United States.”
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the FBI will investigate whether excessive force was used by the agent and expressed “sincere regrets about the loss of life.”
“The matter is under investigation and we’ll have to determine exactly what happened, who if anyone should be held responsible, what the circumstances were for this shooting. And all that is just a part of this ongoing investigation,” Holder said at a press conference about a series of drug raids, according to FOXNews.com.
The two shootings come during a tense period in U.S.-Mexican relations, due in large part to Arizona’s immigration law introduced in April and President Barack Obama’s recent pledge to send 1,200 National Guard troops to the border with Mexico.
- Project Deliverance, a joint U.S.-Mexico operation focused on combating drug gangs, lead to 429 arrests in 15 U.S. states this week.
- The head of the Los Zetas gang in the northeastern Mexican city of Monterrey was arrested by soldiers in a suburb of the city. Gunmen have attacked police stations and set-up at least ten roadblocks throughout the city, allegedly in response to the arrest.
- U.S. anti-drug efforts in Colombia and Mexico are pushing drug traffickers there to open new routes in the Caribbean, according to The Washington Post.
- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the launch of the Caribbean Basin Initiative on Thursday at a meeting in Barbados.
- A group including some of Cuba’s most prominent dissidents signed an open letter in favor of a bill before the U.S. Congress that would end the current restrictions on travel to the island for U.S. citizens.
- Four decapitated heads were found throughout Guatemala City Thursday in what authorities are calling a response to a crackdown on organized crime.
- American Airlines announced a new non-stop flight from Dallas/Ft. Worth airport to San Salvador, El Salvador.
- Amnesty International expressed disappointment in Nicaragua for rejecting to change to the country’s law imposing a total ban on abortion.
- On Wednesday, officials in Venezuela began a new bond-trading system that hopes to clamp down on speculation in the country’s controlled currency.
- A 33-year-old Colombian man has been arrested in Vermont for entering the country illegally and is wanted in Nevada for burglary, larceny and forgery.
- Peruvian authorities transferred Joran van der Sloot, a suspect in the disappearance of an American teen in Aruba, from a police facility to the national attorney general’s office Thursday.
- A clash between Bolivian street vendors and police turned into an enormous food fight Tuesday.
- Argentine coach Diego Maradona has special ordered a high-tech toilet with heated seat and a three-speed bidé for his stay in South Africa for the World Cup. (Spanish)
- The Economist reports on increased security resulting from economic growth and improved policing in Rio de Janeiro’s City of God favela.
- The Chilean Senate voted on Wednesday to increase taxes on mining companies and corporations, as well as tobacco sales in order to offset costs from a devastating earthquake in February.