Today in Latin America
Top Story — A surge of violence swept through Mexico Monday and left 27 people dead, including 10 federal police officers.
In the western town of Zitacuaro in the Michoacán state, unidentified gunmen ambushed a column of federal policemen on their way to Mexico City. The ensuing shootout left ten policemen dead as well as several gunmen.
“The information we have is that there are 10 dead and several wounded,” Michoacán state Public Security Minister Minerva Bautista told a local radio station, according to Reuters.
Mexican soldiers and police began a manhunt for the remaining gunmen after the shootout was over. It is unknown who is behind the ambush, but Michoacán is home to the “La Familia” cartel who recently kidnapped 12 federal police officers, decapitated them and dumped their bodies on a local highway.
Also on Monday, a prison riot in the northwestern city of Mazatlan left 17 inmates dead and wounded two prison guards. After the riot was suppressed, investigators found two pistols and an assault rifle.
The city of Mazatlán has recently become a hotbed of violence, as drug cartels battle for turf. Local media reported that those killed in the riot were members of Los Zetas cartel, which is currently fighting Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán’s Sinaloa cartel.
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.
- Alison Bowen in her blog, Beyond Borders, reports on New York groups drawing attention to immigration reform in the U.S.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- A string of Mexican political candidates have been forced out of of municipal races in two states on the U.S. border due to intimidation from drug cartels.
- Nine people died, including seven members of a Mexican gubernatorial candidate’s campaign, in a plane crash in in the Yucatán jungle.
- On Monday, the Obama administration applauded the Cuban government’s release of dissident Ariel Sigler, who was released following talks between the Castro government and the Catholic Church.
- Guyana’s security minister Clement Rohee said on Sunday that he saw no reason to take up the offer from the U.S. to provide advisers to help fight drug gangs.
- Jamaica and Haiti were invited to this month’s meeting of the G-8 to discuss issues related to development and security.
- Guatemala’s Alta Verapaz region will receive two ambulances from Salt Lake City, Utah, as part of a program that donates used emergency vehicles to service developing nations.
- Honduran journalist Karol Cabrera was granted asylum in Canada after being targeted during the recent violent attacks on journalists in the country.
- Customs agents at Delaware’s Port of Wilmington found $2 million worth of cocaine on a cargo ship that made stops in Honduras, Costa Rica and Colombia.
- A Spirit Airlines pilot strike has left many people hoping to fly from the eastern United States to Central America and beyond stranded.
- A fourth soldier, held by the FARC, has been freed by the Colombian military during a surprise hostage rescue operation.
- The Venezuelan government Monday took over the mid-sized Banco Federal, citing risk of fraud and liquidity problems. The takeover of Banco Federal comes after last year’s string of nationalizations of small troubled banks.
- Mexican and Colombian drug traffickers are expanding their operations into parts of Peru, where Shining Path guerrillas are already involved in the drug trade.
- A new hydrocarbons bill is ready to be sent for approval to Ecuador’s National Assembly, according to President Rafael Correa.
- Dilma Rousseff (PT) and José Serra (PSDB) have both officially accepted their party’s nominations for the Brazilian presidential elections scheduled for October.
- The Chilean government’s investigations into alleged abuses during the Pinochet regime have continued under President Sebastián Piñera’s administration, prompting some retired generals to turn against him.
- Uruguayan soccer officials decided not to file charges for the theft of $12,000 from the team’s hotel room in South Africa, after allegations surfaced indicating one of their own delegation may be responsible.
Image: Cool Pixels @ Flickr.