Today in Latin America
Top Story — Two days after the arrest of Mexican drug figure Edgar Valdéz Villarreal, also known as “La Barbie,” more news has come to light about his alleged links to drug traffickers in Colombia.
Colombian police arrested 11 people allegedly linked to Valdez Villarreal in cities of Bogotá, Medellin, Cali, Buenaventura and Pereira as part of the 18-month long Operation Gulf.
“As a result of intelligence gathering and criminal investigation, the National Police dismantled an international network of drug traffickers linked to the Beltrán Leyva cartel of Mexico and the 30th Front of the FARC in Colombia,” said the National Police of Colombia in a statement, according to BBC Mundo.
Valdez Villarreal, a Texas-born drug trafficker, was allegedly a top enforcer for Mexican drug kingpin Arturo Beltrán Leyva, until he began feuding with the cartel after Arturo’s death. The battle between Valdez Villarreal and the Beltrán Leyva cartel for control of the business has been blamed for gangland-style executions and the hanging of beheaded corpses in the town of Cuernavaca.
He was arrested Monday by Mexican federal police in the state of Mexico, which borders the capital of Mexico City, after a yearlong intelligence operation.
A former associate of Valdez Villarreal, José Luis Carrizales-Coronado, was also stabbed to death this week in a Nuevo Laredo prison after allegedly starting a fight with other inmates in the bathroom.
During Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s state of the nation report Wednesday, he praised the efforts of the Mexican military and police in combatting drug cartels operating in the country.
Calderón cited a number of high profile arrests as evidence of his administration’s four-year assault on the drug cartels.
Since Mexican President Felipe Calderón declared an offensive against the drug cartels in 2006, over 25,000 people have been killed.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- Tens of thousands of unaccompanied children immigrants are presenting perplexing problems for U.S. policymakers. Alison Bowen explains in her latest post at Beyond Borders.
- After losing in a second-round election to Alán García in 2006, controversial Peruvian nationalist Ollanta Humala is running for the presidency again. Get to know him in this interview with Paul Alonso.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- At a time when illegal immigration has returned to the political spotlight, figures released by the Pew Hispanic Center on Wednesday show a sharp decline in the number of undocumented migrants crossing the U.S. border.
- Mexican President Felipe Calderón wrote in his state of the nation report Wednesday that his sustained assault on organized crime and efforts to clean up the police were paying off.
- The number of kidnappings in Haiti has dropped sharply in recent years, but U.N. police report an increase since the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake.
- People born in Puerto Rico are finding that older birth certificates from the U.S. territory are not being accepted when applying for a state ID or driver’s license at the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, a reaction to concerns about possible fraud that a national Hispanic group said smacks of racial discrimination.
- A 17-year-old suspected by neighbors of having committed a murder was beaten and burned to death Wednesday by a group of people in the south of Guatemala City, according to the local volunteer firefighters’ spokesman.
- Archbishop of San Salvador José luis Escobar Alas condemned the massacre of 72 immigrants in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas during a press conference last Sunday.
- Ecuador’s president and Mexican officials confirmed Wednesday that a second person, a Honduran, had survived the massacre of 72 migrants in Mexico last week.
- Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa confirmed Wednesday that a second person, a Honduran, had survived the massacre of 72 migrants in Mexico last week.
- A businessman with dual U.S.-Ecuadorean citizenship is appealing his death sentence and four murder convictions to the Florida Supreme Court.
- Colombia’s peso rose the most in two weeks as oil and copper gaine
- and manufacturing in the U.S. and China, the world’s biggest economies, grew faster than forecast, bolstering optimism in global markets.
- Mexico’s captured drug lord Edgar “La Barbie” Valdez Villareal claimed that he had sheltered the man who shot Paraguayan soccer star SalvadorCabañas in the head for three months. José Jorge Balderas, the prime suspect in the Cabañas shooting, is now at large.
- The 33 trapped Chilean miners received their first hot meals of chicken and rice in 26 days when rescuers sent the food 700 meters down a tube.
- The first of Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo’s paternity tests came back negative, according to a woman suing the president for fathering her 3 year-old son.
- The Brazilian government announced Wednesday that it is preparing a guide to help Brazilian victims of human trafficking living abroad return home and start new lives.
Image: House Committee on Homeland Security @ Wikicommons.