Today in Latin America
Top Story — A leading gubernatorial candidate in Mexico’s Tamaulipas state was killed Monday morning on his way to a series of campaign rallies.
Rodolfo Torre Cantú, 46, was killed along with at least four supporters when gunmen opened fire on his motorcade, which was on its way to a campaign event.
Torre’s death marks an up-turn in violence leading up to Mexico’s July 4 elections, as a mayoral candidate and a get-the-vote-out activist were recently killed and explosives have been thrown at two separate campaign offices.
Torre was a candidate for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and Mexico’s Interior Secretary Fernando Gómez-Mont alleged that his murder was committed by one of the country’s drug cartels.
“We cannot permit these kinds of acts that affect the peace and security of Mexicans,” Gómez-Mont said, according to The New York Times. “We repeat our vow to fight organized crime in all its aspects.”
Mexican President Felipe Calderón also blamed Torre’s death on the drug cartels and called it a “cowardly assassination,” after he held an emergency meeting with his security cabinet.
Torre’s murder has been the most high-profile death in the run-up to Sunday’s elections, but there have been reports of other candidates being threatened by the drug cartels and some candidates have withdrawn from their races.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
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- Peru has topped Colombia as the world’s largest producer of coca leaf, but Colombia remains the largest manufacturer of cocaine.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Mexican singer El Shaka, famous for his narcocorridos, was shot to death only hours after he had denied reports that he had been murdered.
- Mexico’s World Cup soccer team exited the tournament Sunday after a 3-1 loss to Argentina.
- Syrian President Bashaar Assad, who is currently touring Latin America, met with Cuban President Raúl Castro on Monday.
- Haiti’s population will continue to grow, according to estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Monday, despite suffering a tremendous loss of life from the Jan. 12 earthquake and its aftermath.
- On Monday, the U.S. Embassy in Haiti advised U.S. citizens traveling to the country to exercise caution, as four Americans have been killed in separate incidents of robbery of the last three months.
- The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday it would push for a $700,000 fine against Puerto Rico’s Executive Airlines for allegedly operating eight of its airplanes in violation of federal regulations.
- In a press release, the United Nations condemned the murder of journalists in Honduras and urged authorities to bring the perpetrators of the crimes to justice.
- A police officer and his brother, along with their wives, were murdered in in western El Salvador by at least three gunmen.
- A trial began in France Monday for former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, who has been convicted of laundering drug money.
- A prison riot at Los Teques prison, near Venezuela’s capital of Caracas, left six people dead and another 15 injured.
- The president of the assembly in the Colombian city of Medellín has been seriously wounded after gunmen ambushed his car.
- Workers at a Peru’s sole iron producer are set to go on strike, demanding higher wages from the company, Shougang Hierro Peru.
- Colombian police have allegedly tapped the phone of Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa and both current Colombian President Álvaro Uribe and president-elect Juan Manuel Santos had knowledge of the operation.
- Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo called upon the country’s Congress to approve Venezuela’s entry into Mercosur, a regional trading bloc.
- Brazil defeated Chile 3-0 to advance to the quarter-finals of the World Cup.
- The Argentine government won 66.8 percent acceptance of its debt-swap deal, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner said on Monday. Argentina has now accounted for 92.5 percent of the roughly $100 billion the government defaulted on during the crash of Dec. 2001.
- The Vatican’s official newspaper published an article suggesting that the sport known today as soccer was first played by the Guaraní of Paraguay.
Image: El_Enigma @ Flickr.