Today in Latin America
Top Story — Colombian security forces liberated three hostages who have been held by leftist guerrillas for nearly 12 years, government officials announced on Sunday, according to The BBC.
The hostages were among the longest held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC, in Spanish), a leftist guerrilla group. They were taken prisoner in two separate attacks in 1998, The Associated Press reports.
The operation to free the three hostages, General Luis Mendieta, Colonel Enrique Murillo and Sargent Arbey Delgado, from a jungle camp in the Department of Guaviare had been prepared for months, according to Colombian magazine Semana.
Colombian President Álvaro Uribe announced the news through his Twitter account and the Defense Ministry discussed the operation at a news conference on Sunday.
A fourth hostage, Lieutenant William Donato, may also have been freed during the operation, but his status was not known at the time of writing. During the attack on the rebel camp, Donato had run for his life, Defense Minister Gabriel Silva said, according to AP.
“We have high hopes that he is in hiding and that he will be found in the coming hours,” Silva said.
The news comes as Colombia heads into a second-round presidential election, in which Uribe’s former defense minister Juan Manuel Santos is expected to defeat former mayor of Bogotá Antanas Mockus.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- Displacement of peasants by armed actors continues to plague Colombia, according to Marco Romero of the Consultancy for Human Rights and Displacement (CODHES). Mike Samras reports on Romero’s talk in Washington.
- Check out this weekend’s World Cup schedule and the Latin America News Dispatch staff picks to win it all.
- Read the fourth installment of The Latin America News Dispatch’s World Cup Preview, profiling Groups G and H — featuring Brazil, Chile and Honduras.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Gunmen killed 19 people and wounded four others at a private drug and alcohol treatment clinic in northern Mexican city of Chihuahua.
- Gunmen also killed 20 people in the Mexican city of Ciudad Madero after a series of gun battles that lasted from Thursday into Friday.
- U.S. officials announced on Saturday that they would meet with their Cuban counterparts to discuss immigration issues.
- U.S. National Guard soldiers are conducting operations in Puerto Rico’s interior against drug gangs that have been pushed out of the major cities.
- One inmate died and three others were injured during a prison fight in San Cristóbal, a southern province of the Dominican Republic.
- After allegations of corruption, the Guatemalan Constitutional Court removed the new Attorney General Conrado Reyes from office.
- 100 professional clowns in El Salvador, who make a living performing on public buses, protested the killing of a passenger by two imposter clowns.
- Nicaragua is the second safest country in Central America, according to a study released by the Global Peace Index 2010.
- During a graduation ceremony in Panama’s Veraguas province, country officials praised Cuban support in a program against illiteracy.
- An arrest warrant was issued Friday in Venezuela for the owner of a television channel that has been critical of President Hugo Chaváz.
- Colombian President Álvaro Uribe said that soldiers rescued a captive policeman held by the FARC since in 1998.
- Dutch murder suspect Joran van der Sloot said he is willing to tell authorities where the body of Natalee Holloway is, if he is transferred from a prison in Peru to one in Aruba.
- Chilean President Sebastián Piñera faces conflict-of-interest issues in connection with plans to recover and rebuild after a devastating earthquake in February.
- The Paraguayan team at the World Cup will dedicate all of its victories to their star Salvador Cabañas, who was shot in the head in a Mexico City bathroom in January.
- Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said he would veto a bill recently passed by the senate that would split oil revenues equally among states.