Today in Latin America
Top Story – The Mexican military has launched an investigation into the shooting death of a 15-year old boy and his father by soldiers at checkpoint in northern Mexico.
Soldiers allegedly attacked the car carrying the father and son, which they say failed to stop at the checkpoint in the state of Nuevo León. Relatives said the car had passed the convoy when the soldiers opened fire.
In the car with the father and son were the man’s wife, Patricia Castellanos, as well as their 24-year-old daughter, their son-in-law and their two grandchildren, ages 8 and 9 . They said that they were returning to Monterrey after visiting her sister in the town of Salinas Victoria.
“I don’t know how to explain the pain I’m feeling,” said Castellanos, according to The Associated Press. “Because of a mistake, they suddenly ended my son’s life and my husband’s life.”
Nuevo León has recently become a hot-spot for drug-related violence, with the Gulf and Sinaloa cartels battling the rival gang, the Zetas. Since 2006 when Mexican President Felipe Calderón declared war on the drug cartels, over 50,000 troops have been deployed nationwide.
The National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) asked the government to look into the alleged abuses by soldiers, but many worry that the investigation will not be conducted as thoroughly as it would in a civilian court.
“Military justice is not the most appropriate to judge human rights violations. A military court allows troops to judge themselves, meaning the victims do not have access to an independent and impartial court,” Luis Arriaga, director of the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez human rights center, told The BBC.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- Chile has a new education initiative that it hopes will attract more qualified teachers. Read more about the new program in this article by Dispatch contributor David Mauro.
- 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
- The Los Angeles city attorney’s office has charged 33 people with misdemeanor crimes for a series of immigration protests that blocked traffic earlier this year. The city attorney’s office announced Tuesday the protesters were charged with remaining at an unlawful assembly, resisting, delaying or obstructing an officer and blocking the sidewalk or street
- The city of Fremont’s ban on renting to and hiring undocumented immigrants has raised concerns among members of a Nebraska committee that reports to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
- State-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos says an explosion has occurred at its Cadereyta refinery outside the northern city of Monterrey. Pemex spokesman León Mario Alzas says authorities are still trying to determine the cause, the extent of the damage and if anyone was hurt. Mexican media report that several people have died in Tuesday’s explosion, but Alzas says he cannot confirm that.
- The bodies of three men suspected of participating in the massacre of 72 migrants last month were found by the side of a road in northern Mexico after an anonymous caller told authorities where to find the cadavers, federal officials said Monday.
- Fidel Castro criticized Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for what he called his anti-Semitic attitudes and questioned his own actions during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 during interviews with an American journalist he summoned to Havana to discuss fears of global nuclear war.
- After an abrupt end to his Haitian presidential campaign, Wyclef Jean has resorted to singing nasty songs about his critics. The singer-turned-politician-turned-singer took aim at Sean Penn and former bandmate Pras, alluding to alleged drug use and general musical ineptitude respectively.
- Well-known, Puerto Rican radio journalist José Arriaga Stuart was stabbed more than 20 times early Tuesday and police say they detained a teenager he befriended several months ago.
- Federal authorities in New Jersey have seized approximately 125 kilograms of cocaine arriving from the Dominican Republic and arrested three current and former airline employees they say conspired to smuggle the drugs into the United States through Newark Liberty International Airport.
- Searchers on Monday pulled five more bodies from a mud-covered highway where back-to-back landslides buried bus passengers and then the people trying to save them. The deaths raised the confirmed toll from mudslides in Guatemala to 45 as torrential rains pounded the country.
- Mexican officials said Monday they were holding six former Guatemalan soldiers suspected of links to the Zetas, a drug cartel blamed for a wave of violence and considered one of the country’s most dangerous syndicates.
- The Honduran presidential plane made an emergency landing in the United States due to a technical failure, Honduran President Porfirio Lobo’s personal secretary Reinaldo Sánchez said on Monday. Sánchez said plane West Wind made a successful landing in the US military base of Palmerola without causing any injuries.
- A Colombian court has ordered the arrest of a well-known journalist based in Venezuela, William Parra, on charges he conspired with leftist rebels.
- A top official in Venezuela’s ruling socialist party said Tuesday that supporters of President Hugo Chávez have weapons and are ready to use them should violence break out in legislative elections less than three weeks away.
- A Portuguese-born businessman has been on a hunger strike for three days demanding the Venezuelan government not seize land where he runs a metalworking business.
- Ecuador on Thursday is slated to sign a letter of intent with South Korea’s National Oil Corporation, opening the way to Korean oil developments in the Andean country.
- A judge ordered a documentary filmmaker Joseph Berlinger, director of “Crude,” to face questions from Chevron lawyers to see if he can provide further inside information regarding a legal fight between Chevron and Ecuadoreans over oil contamination.
- Peru’s new Minister of Culture Juan Ossion has launched a campaign to recover thousands of treasures from Machu Picchu that have been stored for more than a century at a prestigious American university.
- The Planchón Volcano on the border of Argentina and Chile has started to erupt, releasing gas and rock for the last several days.
- The Catholic University of Argentina released a study reporting that it could take ten years to raise Argentina’s cattle herds to 2007 levels, even if current policy toward agriculture is drastically changed.
- Direct foreign investment in India and Brazil is expected to surpass that of the U.S. by 2012.
- The Uruguayan government authorized the repurchase of $500 million of sovereign debt.
- The Argentine national soccer team beat Spain 4-0 on Tuesday, defeating the reigning World Cup champions in the wake of a disappointing Argentine performance in South Africa this June.
Image: Rob Lee @ Flickr.