Today in Latin America
Top Story — Mexico plans to hold elections Sunday in 12 of the country’s states, despite recent threats and attacks on politicians by drug cartels including one on Monday that left a leading gubernatorial candidate dead.
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.
Local media in Mexico’s Tamaulipas state reported that officials said gubernatorial elections will continue as planned, despite Torre’s death.
“Democracy in Tamaulipas is a value that must protect, and in our hands lies the responsibility to protect the right to vote that people have,” said Jorge Luis Navarro, the chairman of Tamaulipas’ state election institute, according to El Financiero.
Mexican President Felipe Calderón echoed Navarro’s statements during a televised message on Tuesday. Calderón asked the Mexican people to stand with his government and help fight the powerful drug cartels.
“Today has proven that organized crime is a permanent threat and that we should close ranks to confront it and prevent it from repeating acts such as the cowardly assassination that shocked the country today,” Calderón said, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
However, throughout Mexico there is a growing feeling that the drug cartels are yielding more influence over the country’s affairs.
“Organized crime has voted,” the national newspaper Reforma wrote in a front-page editorial Tuesday, according to the Miami Herald, and just last month the mayor of the resort town of Cancún was arrested on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering.
“The cartels don’t seek a failed state. Rather they want ‘dual sovereignty’ – that is, to pay off public officials in return for their closing their eyes to criminality,” said George W. Grayson, a Mexico counternarcotics expert, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- Alison Bowen takes a look at what President Obama will discuss at his speech on immigration on Thursday, at Beyond Borders.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Mexican Economy Minister Gerardo Ruiz Mateos said the assassination of gubernatorial candidate Rodolfo Torre Cantu won’t hinder foreign direct investment from growing.
- FIFA president Sepp Blatter apologized to Mexico and England for refereeing errors during this year’s World Cup.
- Puerto Rican Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz has barred the press from entering the Senate floor for three consecutive days, prompting criticisms from journalism organizations and the local press.
- A congressional panel is expected to pass a bill removing travel restrictions for U.S. citizens to Cuba, paving the way for the bill to be heard before the full House of Representatives.
- At least two people have died in western Guatemala due to the heavy rains from Tropical Storm Alex.
- Two brothers have surrendered to police in Guatemala in connection with last year’s murder of high-profile lawyer Rodrigo Rosenberg.
- A boating accident in Nicaragua has left two people dead and 14 injured after two motorboats collided on a river in the country’s Caribbean region.
- Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega called French money laundering charges against him “conspiracy” during his trial Tuesday.
- The United States has charged 18 people in an international money-laundering conspiracy that brought millions of dollars from Colombian drug profits through the United States, Colombia, Guatemala, Hungary and other countries.
- U.S. President Barack Obama nominated the CEO of the Inter-American Foundation, Larry Palmer, to be the new ambassador to Venezuela.
- The Financial Action Task Force removed Ecuador from its list of countries with serious strategic deficiencies in measures against money laundering and financing terrorism.
- A poll by Vox Populi released Tuesday said that Workers Party candidate Dilma Rousseff holds a five point advantage over opposition candidate José Serra of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party in upcoming presidential elections. The results confirm those from a recent poll by Ibope.
- Colombian citizen Luis Caicedo Valendia agreed to be extradited to the U.S. from Argentina in order to face drug-trafficking and money-laundering charges.
- Paraguay defeated Japan 1-0 on penalty kicks, reaching the World Cup semifinals for the first time.
- Chile’s peso dropped more than it has in a month, due to fears that the Chinese economy may be slowing, leading to reduced purchases of Chilean copper.
Image: Gobierno Federal @ Flickr.