Today in Latin America
Top Story — A Mexican news photographer was shot dead Thursday in the violent border city of Ciudad Juárez.
Luis Carlos Santiago,a photographer with the daily El Diario, was killed around two in the afternoon after gunmen opened fire on him and a coworker, Carlos Sánchez, in a parking lot while they were heading to lunch.
“We are shocked by this brutal attack against our colleagues,” said Carlos Lauría, the senior program coordinator for the Americas of the Committee to Protect Journalists. “In vast parts of Mexico, the media is under siege from criminal organizations. The Mexican federal government must immediately intervene in this crisis of national dimension. We urge President Felipe Calderón to make the protection of free expression a priority of his national agenda.”
Pedro Torres, El Diario’s director, said he did not know why these two journalists were targeted by the gunmen. Santiago had only recently started working for the paper and Sánchez is only an intern.
Mexican officials said that the gunmen used 9mm handguns, but were unsure if the shooting was related to the drug trade.
Santiago is the ninth Mexican journalist to be killed this year, as cartels have begun to put pressure on news agencies to avoid unflattering stories about rival drug cartels.
Press freedom groups allege that Mexico does not do enough investigating violence against journalists.
A recent CPJ report said that in Mexico there are “systemic failures that if left unaddressed will further erode freedom of expression and the rule of law. Vital national and international interests are at stake.”
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- Molly O’Toole shares some images from her recent 852-mile, 72-hour trip across the Southwest border, from San Diego, California to Arizona and back in this photo essay.
- At a recent talk in Washington, D.C. with Janet Napolitano and Hispanic leaders, hopes for immigration reform faded, while the Obama administration emphasizes advances in security. Raisa Camargo has more.
- The number of undocumented immigrants coming to the United States is on the decline. Read about it at Alison Bowen’s blog, Beyond Borders.
- The extradition of key Colombian paramilitary leaders to the United States is disrupting a historic amnesty program intended to demobilize units and deliver basic information, such as the location of bodies, to victims’ relatives. ProPublica explains in this investigative report.
- Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce, lead author of the controversial immigration bill SB 1070, sat down with Molly O’Toole to discuss illegal immigration and elections. Here’s what he had to say.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- President Barack Obama is promising to work with senators to help pass legislation allowing thousands of young people who attend college or join the military to become documented U.S. residents, according to Hispanic lawmakers who met Thursday with the president.
- A parade of military capped huge celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of Mexico’s uprising against Spanish rule.
- Mexican security forces say they have killed 19 people in a seven-hour gun battle in the country’s north-east.
- Cuba’s ruling Communist Party is asking the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution to help explain to the public the plans to eliminate 500,000 state jobs in the next six months.
- A man accused of dragging a stubborn horse alongside his truck has become the first person convicted by a Puerto Rico jury under an animal protection law enacted after dogs were thrown to their deaths from a bridge.
- As Haiti gears up for its first-ever internationally televised presidential debate Saturday, confidence in the government’s ability to hold a credible poll is being undermined by allegations that President René Préval is attempting to sway the election.
- A former Guatemalan soldier who prosecutors say acknowledged taking part in a 1982 massacre was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in U.S. prison for lying on citizenship forms about his military service and role in the killings.
- Guatemalan police on Thursday were searching for a drug trafficker who initiated a shootout with police at a shopping mall the day before.
- Honduran authorities must fully investigate an attempted shooting on Tuesday of journalist Luis Galdámez Álvarez, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Unidentified gunmen in the capital, Tegucigalpa, shot at Galdámez outside his home, he told CPJ. Galdámez was uninjured.
- Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes will finally travel to Cuba in early October, he announced in a press conference during a ceremony to commemorate the 189th anniversary of the independence of Central America.
- Leaders of Venezuela’s Jewish community met with President Hugo Chávez on Thursday to discuss their concerns about possible anti-Semitism in state media and to ask the socialist leader to re-establish diplomatic relations with Israel.
- A federal judge in San Francisco has granted a request by the government of Ecuador to subpoena a former contractor of Chevron Corp. (CVX) as part of a long-running Ecuadorian case against Chevron.
- Peruvian protesters attempted to seize Xstrata Plc’s Tintaya copper mine in the southern Andes after clashes with police left two dead and wounded 44 others.
- Chile’s mining minister said Thursday that the 33 miners trapped since early August could be out of the mine by early November.
- The leader of the EU delegation in Paraguay said that an association between the EU and Mercosur would become the “largest free trade zone in the world”.
- A microchip ear-tag for cows developed in Brazil may help track destructive herds in the Amazon rainforest and help boost the country’s tech sector.
- The USDA predicted that Uruguayan beef exports will rise 2.6 per cent next year, while a planned government campaign will encourage Uruguayans to eat more chicken.
Image: Charlie Llewellin @ Flickr.