Today in Latin America
Top Story — Mexicans went to the polls Sunday in 14 of the country’s 31 states to elect governors and mayors after a campaign season marred by threats and violence by drug cartels.
Sunday’s elections are being viewed as a referendum for President Felipe Calderón and his National Action Party’s (PAN) offensive on drug traffickers.
The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which controlled Mexico for seven decades, is gaining ground in the popular vote, in large part due to Mexicans’ frustrations with Calderón’s drug war.
The PRI has used the assassination of one of its gubernatorial candidates in the Tamaulipas state, Rodolfo Torre Cantú, as a evidence that Calderón’s plans are failing.
On Saturday, the PRI’s gubernatorial headquarters in Sinaloa state were attacked by two homemade bombs. Sinaloa is one of Mexico’s states that has seen a rise in drug-related violence in the past three years.
While Mexicans are nervous about violence that could accompany the elections, many seem ready to go to the polls.
“We’re a bit nervous, but we have to go out to vote because it’s our only weapon for the future,” said Pedro Esparza, a factory worker in the border town of Nuevo Laredo, according to AFP.
- Five to six foot waves have hampered efforts to connect an oil-collecting vessel to the leaking Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico.
- Workers at the home of Jamaica’s Industry Minister were held up by armed gunmen Wednesday after stealing arms, cash, and ammunition.
- Prison conditions in Haiti’s prisons are particularly bad for women, where the country’s main female penitentiary, built for 30, now holds 300 inmates.
- Costa Rican Attorney General Francisco Dall’Anese was appointed head of a UN committee to investigate corruption and impunity in the Guatemalan justice system.
- Salvadoran police apprehended 4,800 endangered Hawskbill turtle eggs smuggled to El Salvador from Nicaragua.
- The Honduran government reported that 16 people have died from dengue fever this year after declaring a state of emergency last month to stem the mosquito-borne disease.
- A Salvadoran man wanted by the Cuban government for planting a series of bombs in Havana in 1997 was apprehended in Caracas last Thursday.
- Colombian police seized a replica of the World Cup trophy on Saturday that was filled with 11 kilograms of pure cocaine.
- Bolivian President Evo Morales has inaugurated a Falcon 900EX to serve as the new presidential plane.
- Uruguay advanced to the World Cup semifinals as the last Latin American team standing after coming from behind to defeat Ghana on penalty kicks Friday.
- The Argentine national team returned to Buenos Aires amid high security after suffering a humiliating 4-0 defeat against Germany in Saturday’s World Cup quarterfinal match.
- Brazilian President Lula da Silva continued his tour of Africa over the weekend, visiting Cape Verde and Equatorial Guinea. Da Silva plans to arrive in South Africa in time for the World Cup final, despite Brazil’s elimination.
- Paraguay lost 1-0 to Spain in Saturday’s World Cup quarterfinal.