Today in Latin America
Top Story — Seven Latin American nations have joined Mexico in support of a lawsuit against the U.S. state of Arizona’s recent immigration law.
Bolivia, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Peru have all filed lawsuits, all of which are similar to a legal brief filed in Mexico that supports the lawsuit filed by U.S. civil rights and other advocacy groups.
Arizona’s law requires police officers to check the immigration status of people they stop, if there is reason to suspect that they are undocumented immigrants. The law also restricts the hiring or transportation of day laborers, and allows for lawsuits against government agencies not enforcing immigration laws.
On July 1, a U.S. federal judge accepted Mexico’s brief, which the country alleges hinders the government of President Felipe Calderón in combatting drug trafficking as well as tourism and trade.
In related news, 1,200 U.S. National Guard troops will be sent to the country’s border with Mexico on August 1 as a part of the Obama administration’s effort to increase security and decrease the flow of weapons and drugs into the country.
500 troops will be sent to Arizona, with the rest going to New Mexico, Texas and California.
“These troops will provide direct support to federal law enforcement officers and agents working in high-risk areas to disrupt criminal organizations seeking to move people and goods illegally across the southwest border,” said Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano, according to the New York Times.
- 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
- A man was caught in Mexico City’s international airport smuggling 18 endangered monkeys in a girdle under his tee shirt.
- One of two recently released Guantánamo detainees lost a plea Friday to remain in Cuba and will be sent to Algeria, where he is afraid of being captured and tortured.
- U.S. citizen and drug trafficker Jose Figueroa Agosto was apprehended by police Monday after he was discovered wearing a wig in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
- Fidel Castro made another public appearance Tuesday in a meeting with economists after four years out of the public eye.
- U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-moon issued a statement acknowledging Cuba’s recent release of 11 political prisoners to Spain and encouraged the country to take additional steps to improve human rights.
- At least 21 people have been killed by dengue fever this year and the U.S. Embassy in Honduras is warning American travelers to stay away.
- Panamanian tree frogs are disappearing at an alarming rate due to a fungal disease, according to scientists.
- Freezing temperatures have killed at least eighteen people in Bolivia, ten in Paraguay, eight in Argentina and two in Uruguay.
- Keiko Fujimori, daughter of former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori, is leading in the latest presidential polls for the country’s 2011 elections.
- The foreign ministers of Venezuela and the Netherlands will continue talks in September following a spat over an alleged violation of Venezuela’s national airspace.
- Colombia’s finance minister said the country’s economy won’t be affected by a boycott by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.
- A U.S. appeals court has ruled that an American documentary filmmaker will have to turn over uncut footage as evidence of legal irregularities in a lawsuit against Chevron brought by indigenous groups in Ecuador.
- A group of South Korean companies is lobbying Brazil to build a 511-kilometer bullet train between Rio de Janeiro and Campinas, in the state of São Paulo.
- Fishermen in Chile are struggling to recover from this February’s earthquake and hesitant to rebuild the industry in light of a fishing quota law that will expire in 2012.
- Uruguay celebrated the anniversary of its first constitution on July 18.
- A Paraguayan soccer player who attempted to choke a referee during a match against Chile’s Concepción last weekend says he is “not the least bit sorry”.
Image: jonathan mcintosh @ Flickr.