Today in Latin America
Top Story — The bodies 72 migrants, who were allegedly making their way to the United States, have been found piled in a large room on a ranch in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas.
Initial reports assumed that the 72 bodies were part of a dumping ground that has become common practice in Mexico’s bloody drug war. However, if the bodies are confirmed to be migrants, the killings will draw increased attention to the violence of the human smuggling business operating within the country.
“The bodies were dumped about the ranch and were not buried. We are still investigating how long they had been there,” a Mexican Navy spokesman told Reuters.
Marines uncovered the site after a wounded Ecuadorean man who escaped the massacre approached a checkpoint they were occupying and told them where the site was.
The soldiers came under fire as they approached the ranch and afterwards seized assault rifles, ammunition, uniforms and vehicles from the site.
“Yesterday’s crime, for example, shows (cartels’) beastliness, their brutality and their absolute lack of human scruples,” Mexican President Felipe Calderón said, according to Reuters. “I am sure we will still see a phase of very intense violence, principally among cartels.”
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- An Afro-Colombian community is facing expulsion to make room for gold exploration. The eviction — originally scheduled for Aug. 18 — has been suspended by the courts twice, but the community’s situation remains precarious. Roque Planas has more.
- Documents declassified by the National Security Archive in Washington indicate that the Nixon administration advocated the use of death threats in order to save Dan Mitrione, a U.S. official who was kidnapped and executed by leftist guerrillas.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, the Republican who took prominence after signing a controversial immigration measure into law, has won her party’s gubernatorial nomination.
- Mexican authorities have begun enforcing tougher rules designed to ensure that people have a doctor’s prescription to buy antibiotics.
- The Roman Catholic Church said Wednesday it has intervened again on behalf of a political dissident, this time helping the ailing son of one of Cuba’s top revolutionary heroes go to the United States for medical treatment.
- Cuba is phasing out its longstanding monthly allotments of subsidized cigarettes as President Raul Castro works to jump-start the island’s sputtering economy.
- Wyclef Jean’s disqualification from Haiti’s presidential campaign cannot be appealed, a lawyer for the electoral council said.
- Four children died in Guatemala as a result of the torrential rains falling across the Central American country, authorities said Tuesday.
- A Honduran reporter was found shot to death Tuesday in the city of San Pedro Sula, making him at least the eighth journalist killed in the country this year.
- Salvadoran authorities maintained a preventive warning nationwide on Tuesday due to Tropical Storm Frank, which formed in the Pacific Ocean and could become a hurricane.
- Twenty years after the U.S.-funded contra war ended and Nicaragua faded from the U.S. nightly news, aging Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega – who returned to the presidency democratically in 2007 – is again being accused of pushing this small Central American nation back toward dictatorship.
- Colombia’s Galeras volcano erupted on Wednesday, forcing authorities to order the evacuation of thousands of residents from nearby villages and towns, officials said.
- President Hugo Chavez’s allies launched their campaigns Wednesday for crucial congressional elections that come just as recession, crime and inflation have pushed the socialist leader’s popularity to a seven-year low.
- Venezuelan soldiers fired tear gas at opposition candidates on Wednesday at the start of campaigning for legislative elections that will test support for President Hugo Chavez amid a recession and high crime.
- Argentina is disputing a U.S. Circuit Court decision that froze $100 million of central bank deposits to pay its creditors since 2006.
- The Chilean government is looking to astronauts from NASA and the Uruguayan survivors of a 1972 plane crash in the Andes to help the 33 miners trapped underground survive a rescue attempt that could take months.
- Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo took a paternity test Tuesday to settle an ongoing legal dispute about whether or not he is the father of a three-year old boy.
- Uruguay is setting up a bond clearing system for domestic debt in order to return to an investment-grade credit rating within two years.
- A 25-ton humpback whale beached itself on a sandbar in southern Brazil a day after it had been rescued.
Image: Gobierno Federal @ Flickr.