Today in Latin America
Top Story — Colombia’s inspector general kicked out a controversial senator Monday and barred her from public service for 18 years due to her alleged links to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group.
Sen. Piedad Córdoba, who gained notoriety for brokering the release of more than a dozen FARC-held hostages, was accused of “promoting and collaborating” with the rebel army.
Colombia’s Attorney General Alejandro Ordoñez Maldonado made the announcement and said that her dismissal stemmed from an investigation against her that originated from computers seized in a 2008 operation against a former top FARC leader, Raúl Reyes.
The evidence allegedly shows communications between the FARC and the senator in which she is referred to as”Teodora,” “Teodora de Bolivar,” “La Negra” and “La Negrita.”
Authorities said that Cordoba advised the FARC and asked the FARC to supply videos from the hostages to foreign governments.
Córdoba has not been charged of any crime.
Córdoba, who had shaky relations with former President Álvaro Uribe, heads Colombians for Peace, which is a group that aims to end the war between the FARC and the Colombian government.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- A new government program aims to make Chile a heaven for start-ups. David Mauro has the story.
- With Brazil’s election season in full swing, Hugo Passarello Luna takes a look Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva’s presidency.
- 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.
- Journalism in Mexico has become a dangerous job and has many people- from President Calderón to bloggers- wondering how to best to protect reporters.
- 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.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- An Arizona sheriff’s office is reopening the investigation into a deputy’s explanation of how he was shot in the remote desert south of Phoenix amid theories the incident was a hoax timed to enflame the debate over immigration.
- Mexican authorities say a small-town mayor and his aide have been hacked to death by machete. Tancitaro Mayor Guztavo Sánchez is the fifth mayor killed in Mexico since mid-August.
- American Airlines and its regional carrier, American Eagle, will increase service to and from Mexico due to increased demand and a suspension of flights by Mexicana Airlines.
- Authorities have arrested more than 300 people in a weekend crackdown on gangs believed involved in drug sales and smuggling across the U.S.-Mexican border.
- Cuba has upped already-high gasoline prices by about 10 percent amid sweeping changes to the economy, a move that could lead to grumbling among cash-strapped islanders, particularly private taxi drivers who are not allowed to raise their own prices.
- The Roman Catholic Church on Monday announced the names of three more Cuban political prisoners who will be released from jail, as the government rapidly makes good on a promise to free some 52 dissidents arrested in a 2003 sweep.
- American Airlines is cutting more than a dozen flights from Puerto Rico to U.S. and Caribbean destinations next year due to the economic crisis.
- Hundreds of medical technicians, nurse’s aides and other support staff at Jamaica’s major public hospitals went on strike Monday to demand pay raises and allowances they say haven’t been paid by the government.
- Guatemala and Honduras both cut their sugar harvest forecasts by around 5% because of heavy rains from tropical storm Matthew.
- El Salvador’s Supreme Court ruled that the media and television station owners, editors and managers may be brought to trial for slander, injury or defamation in a decision interpreted as a blow against press freedom.
- A Panama-flagged ship, the MV Lugela, was reported pirated 900 nautical miles east of Eyl, Somalia, on Saturday. Late Sunday, the company owning the vessel said pirates abandoned the ship and that the MV Lugela was headed to safety, along with the eleven Ukranians on board the hijacked ship.
- A landslide buried about 30 people on a highway in northwestern Colombia, authorities said Monday, adding it was unlikely there would be survivors found.
- Colombia’s FARC rebel group has urged its fighters to redouble their efforts following the killing last week of their military commander, Mono Jojoy.
- Despite a strong showing by opposition candidates in national elections, President Hugo Chávez’s supporters maintained control of Venezuela’s Congress, according to preliminary results released Monday.
- Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega said in a speech Monday that attempts to manipulate national currencies to make them more favorable for export may cause a “global currency war”
- A professional clown favored to win a congressional seat in Brazil’s upcoming national elections could be barred from office if he fails a literacy test.
- A collision Sunday night between a van and a cargo truck in Northern Argentina killed fourteen people, five of them children.
Image: Globovisión @ Flickr.