Today in Latin America
Top Story — The Colombian government said Thursday that it killed one of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) most senior leaders.
The commander known as Jorge Briceno, or by his nom de guerre Mono Jojoy, was killed when military aircraft bombed a FARC camp in Colombia’s sparsely populated south. Twenty other guerrillas were reported killed in the southern La Macarena region.
“The symbol of terror in Colombia has fallen,” Mr. Santos said from New York, where he is attending the United Nations General Assembly, according to Christian Science Monitor.
“This is historic news for our country,” Santos added. “This is our welcome to the FARC.”
Jojoy was the alleged leader of the FARC’s Eastern Bloc, which is said to be the group’s strongest fighting division. The United States also had offered a $5 million reward for information leading to his arrest or conviction.
“A military source has confirmed that it defeated a group of rebels during an operation involving the four branches of the military,” Colombia’s attorney general Guillermo Mendoza said, according to the BBC.
Colombian authorities said that Jojoy had dozens of outstanding charges against him, including murder and kidnapping.
“This is an important victory for Colombia,” Mike Hammer, the national security spokesman for President Barack Obama, said, according to Al Jazeera.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- Chile’s President, Sebastián Piñera, laid out an ambitious program to bring his country into the ranks of the developed world in a speech on Wednesday.
- The Senate voted to stall the DREAM Act on Tuesday, which had been inserted as an amendment to the defense appropriations bill. Latin America News Dispatch contributor Raisa Camargo reports from Washington.
- Low-Wage Immigrant Workers Face Special Challenges & Risks, reports Alison Bowen in her blog, Beyond Borders.
- A new book launched last week traces the history of New York City’s Hispanic community. Roque Planas reports.
- Cuban-American composer and bassist Israel “Cachao” López is the subject of Monday’s PBS “American Masters” series. See the video here.
- 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.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s opponents in the governor’s race criticized him on Thursday for not signing up for a controversial federal program designed to identify and deport undocumented immigrants arrested for serious crimes.
- Unemployment in Mexico fell in August from July and from a year ago, as the export-led economic recovery continued gradually to feed into the labor market.
- A newspaper’s stunning, front-page editorial of seeming surrender to drug capos has set off a national debate from the presidential palace to Mexico’s equivalent of the water cooler — its ubiquitous town squares.
- Mexico’s PRI, the largest party in the lower house of congress, may propose a wider deficit and increased oil price estimate for next year’s budget as it aims to cut the sales tax, the head of the budget committee said.
- The wife of an American contractor detained in Cuba for nine months on suspicion of spying has been allowed to come to the island and visit him, two people familiar with the case said Thursday.
- A Cuban dissident who sewed his lips shut after doctors made fun of his hunger strike was taken to a hospital Wednesday suffering from convulsions and blackouts, an independent journalist reported.
- Days after Haiti-born Hip Hop artist Wyclef Jean officially renounced his bid for the presidency of an earthquake-ravaged Haiti, President René Préval pulled him on stage Thursday at a gathering of the Clinton Global Initiative in a gesture of goodwill.
- Puerto Rico is giving islanders one more month to use their original birth certificates before they are no longer recognized, as offices struggle to handle a flood of applications for new, more secure documents.
- The leaders of Honduras and Palau called on other coastal nations to support their push to create shark sanctuaries at the United Nations summit on poverty and biodiversity in New York.
- Juan Almendares Bonilla, social activist, says that intolerance, impunity, massacres, acts of terror and human rights violations force the Honduran people to seek defense mechanisms.
- Starting in October, Spanish airline Iberia will start direct flights between San Salvador and Madrid. The flights will also allow travellers to connect to other Central American cities with TACA, perhaps attracting more travel to the entire region.
- A Nicaraguan diplomat whose throat had been slashed was found dead Thursday by his driver, who was picking him up for the United Nations General Assembly’s annual meeting.
- Canadian Trade Minister Peter Van Loan introduced legislation on Thursday to implement the country’s free-trade agreement with Panama.
- Opponents and supporters of President Hugo Chávez held their final rallies on Thursday ahead of legislative elections that both of Venezuela’s political camps view as a critical test.
- Authorities have captured a fugitive soldier who allegedly opened fire on Venezuela’s biggest army base last month, killing two officers and wounding six other soldiers, the state news agency said Wednesday.
- Foes of a small-town mayor in Peru said they have dug up the skull of his late father and won’t give it back unless he drops out of next month’s election.
- The share offer by Brazil’s federal oil company Petrobras reached $140 billion, according to a market participant.
- A 5.3-magnitude earthquake hit central Chile on Wednesday. No damages or injuries were reported.
- Argentina’s inured soccer phenom Lionel Messi was named Thursday to Argentina’s team that will travel to Japan for a friendly next month.
Image: Mauricio Moreno @ Flickr.