Today in Latin America
Top Story — The Mexican government said Tuesday that 28,000 people have been killed since President Felipe Calderón initiated an offensive against the country’s drug cartels three years ago.
The announcement, made by Mexico’s intelligence service director Guillermo Valdés, marks the second time in four months that the government has increased its estimate of the number of violent deaths caused by the drug war. Calderón said in April that the number of deaths was 22,700, while the Mexican attorney general’s office placed the figure at nearly 25,000 last month, according to CNN.
According to Valdés, Mexican security forces have battled drug gangs almost once a day on average over the last three years.
“It’s inevitable that we must accept that violence keeps growing,” Valdés said.
Meanwhile, security issues continued to plague northern Mexico. An explosive device blew up early Tuesday morning in a market in the Mexican town of Reynosa, on the border with Texas, CNN reports. No casualties were reported.
Reynosa has seen increasingly violence this year, due to rivalry between two drug gangs.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- Alison Bowen reports on “Which Way Home,” an Oscar-nominated film documenting the journeys of child immigrants to the United States.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- An estimated 28,000 people have died in Mexico’s drug war since President Felipe Calderón began his crackdown on the country’s drug cartels.
- Airline company Mexicana de Aviación filed for bankruptcy as a result of the global economic crisis, increased fuel prices and declining tourism.
- Fidel Castro’s new book spins tales of his childhood, university years and life through his 20s in his whimsical and long-winded style — but contains little information that hasn’t appeared in other sources.
- Singer Wyclef Jean is about to announce his candidacy for president of earthquake-ravaged Haiti, the former head of the country’s Chamber of Deputies said Tuesday.
- Two Spanish firms won contracts to build a wind farm in Guatemala, expected to be completed in 18 months.
- An international investment tribunal has overruled El Salvador’s preliminary objection to a case brought by Pacific Rim Mining Corporation that the country is violating investment agreements under CAFTA.
- Panama’s deputy minister for international trade negotiations said that a fourth round of talks would be necessary to secure a free trade agreement with Colombia.
- Ecopetrol’s shares rose to a new record after the announcement that the company will purchase BP PLC’s (BP) oil and exploration business in Colombia, marking the largest acquisition in the history of the state-owned oil firm.
- A Venezuelan newspaper that takes a critical line against President Hugo Chávez’s government says its office was attacked with firebombs early on Tuesday.
- A Bolivian court has upheld a government decision to seize a ranch from a U.S. cattleman, Ronald Larsen and his family on the grounds they treated workers as virtual slaves.
- Ecuador pledged in a pioneering agreement with the United Nations on Tuesday to refrain from oil drilling in a pristine Amazon preserve in return for some $3.6 billion in payments from rich nations.
- The government of Iran rejected Brazilian President Lula da Silva’s offer of asylum to an Iranian woman accused of adultery who was facing execution.
- MERCOSUR members Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay established a common customs code Tuesday during the trade bloc’s meeting in San Juan, Argentina.
- Almost half of Argentina’s provinces registered below-freezing temperatures over the weekend, with parts of the country posting temperatures colder than Antarctica.
Image: Gobierno Federal @ Flickr.