Today in Latin America
Top Story — Mexico experienced another wave of violence over the weekend that began with the first reported car bomb attack related to the country’s ongoing drug war on Thursday, and ended with the death of 17 people after gunmen shot up a party early Sunday.
A car bomb exploded late Thursday night in the troubled border city of Ciudad Juarez, killing two police officers and two medics, as well as injuring 16 other people. The bomb is believed to have been set off by a mobile phone.
The perpetrators allegedly lured authorities to the scene by calling for emergency crews.
Local authorities said that the car bomb was a retaliation against the police for the arrest of Jesús Acosta Guerrero, a leader in the La Línea drug gang. La Línea is allegedly part of the Juarez drug cartel.
“This is an extreme situation. I think this will change people’s fears to the worst. …This is something we thought just happened in societies like Iran or Iraq,” said Jessica Peña, a sociology professor at the Autonomous University of Ciudad Juarez, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
On early Sunday morning, gunmen opened fire on a party in the northern Mexican city of Torreón, where they killed 17 people and left another 18 people wounded.
Many off those killed in the shooting were young and five were women, but local authorities have yet to determine the identities and ages of all those killed.
The Mexican government said that the shooting appeared to be the work of drug cartels operating in the area, but had not determined the possible motive for the killings as of late Sunday.
Across northern Mexico there has been an increase in mass shootings, especially at parties and in bars. Many have blamed the violence on warring drug cartels and the clampdown on drug trafficking by the government of Mexican President Felipe Calderón.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- Alleged spy Vicky Pelaez plans to leave Russia and return to her native Peru. Read more about the Peruvian-born columnist for New York’s Spanish daily El Diario La Prensa who is caught up in the Russian spy ring at Alison Bowen’s blog Beyond Borders.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- The Israeli consulate in Mexico has begun a search for a missing businessman who it fears has been kidnapped.
- The Cuban government is showing signs that it is contemplating a revision to its policy of guaranteeing full employment.
- Federal authorities arrested alleged drug kingpin José Figueroa Agosto on Saturday in Puerto Rico.
- Thousands of Haitians flocked to the town of Saut D’Eau to take part in an annual voodoo festival, where many prayed for new homes and the easing of their plights following the Jan. 12 earthquake.
- Citing fraud, a Los Angeles judge threw out a $2.3 million award to six Nicaraguan banana workers who said that Dole Food Co. exposed them to pesticides.
- U.S.-built grenades sent to Central America during the Cold War are now having a devastating effect in the hands of Mexican drug cartels.
- Nathan Pravia, leader of the Miskito Indians and head of the Honduran Native Peoples Federation, died on Saturday at age 62.
- The Guatemalan rainforest is disappearing due to cattle ranching, logging, and drug trafficking.
- The Colombian government will present evidence before the OAS on July 22 in an attempt to prove that FARC rebels are being sheltered in Venezuela.
- The Venezuelan government on Friday exhumed the body of 19th-Century Latin American independence hero Simón Bolivar to investigate the cause of Bolivar’s death.
- A Colombian TV station will not air a documentary about drug lord Pablo Escobar and murdered soccer player Andrés Escobar whose parallel plot has upset the soccer player’s family.
- The private sector still controls two-thirds of Venezuela’s economy, twelve years after President Hugo Chávez took office and vowed to end capitalism in Venezuela.
- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez declared that fifteen Chilean senators will be banned from entering Venezuela to observe the September general elections.
- At least eight people in Argentina have died in freezing temperatures during a cold snap that has afflicted the country and neighboring Uruguay.
- An Air France flight between Rio and Paris has been cancelled for the fourth time this week, this time due to a mechanical failure.
- Gerardo Martino signed a four-year contract to continue as head coach of the Paraguayan national soccer team.
Image: khowaga1 @ Flickr.