Today in Latin America
Top Story — Mexican authorities seized a huge amount of marijuana Monday in the border city of Tijuana, one of the largest drug busts in years for Mexico.
Soldiers and police officers seized 105-tons of marijuana during a series of pre-dawn raids in three Tijuana neighborhoods. Before the raids a shootout occured between security forces and gunmen in a convoy of vehicles, where 11 people were arrested.
“The seizure of these drugs is without precedent in the country,” General Alfonso Duarte told reporters, according to the BBC. The bags are still being counted and the exact figure of the drugs confiscated could increase, Duarte added.
Along with the 10,000 packages of marijuana, authorities also seized trailers, trucks and two large fire arms.
The Mexican street value of the seized marijuana is suspected to be around $335 million dollars, with the price doubling or tripling in the United States.
The seizure comes amidst a growing debate in Mexico over the legalization of marijuana in the U.S. state of California and in Mexico itself. Mexican President Felipe Calderón opposes the Proposition 19 measure up for vote in two weeks, while other influential Mexicans – including former President Vicente Fox – are advocating legalization.
Calderón has called for a debate on the subject.
Tijuana, along with other Mexican cities bordering the U.S., has taken much of the brunt of the conflict between the Mexican government and the country’s drug cartels. Since Calderón launched a crackdown in 2006, deploying 50,000 troops, there have been some 28,000 deaths related to the violence.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- With it the nation’s toughest state immigration law, Arizona has taken center stage in the national debate about immigration as the midterm elections approach. Molly O’Toole reports from Arizona in a three-part series.
- Hispanic groups are attempting to mobilize voters amid concerns that voter turnout will be low for midterm elections.
- Criminal deportations have reached a record high under the Obama Administration. Raisa Camargo reports from Washington.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- In a meeting with Hispanic high school students on Friday, Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle downplayed her campaign’s use of generic pictures of Latinos to present a negative image of undocumented immigrants.
- Mexico’s stocks powered to a record-high close Monday as local retail shares saw solid gains and a wave of optimism swept through U.S. markets after a strong report by banking giant Citigroup.
- Bad weather prevented authorities on Monday from retrieving the body of a California doctor who was killed with three other U.S. citizens when their plane crashed while on a medical aid mission in northern Mexico.
- Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Monday a 17 percent drop in Border Patrol arrests this year shows heightened enforcement is slowing illegal immigration.
- A senior U.S. diplomat met Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez in New York last month to urge Cuba to release an American contractor held on suspicion of espionage, a U.S. official said Monday.
- The Cuban government launched a YouTube and Facebook campaign starring a terrorist- turned-car thief who allegedly points the blame at Venezuelan and Cuban exiles in Miami.
- Steady rains flooded portions of the Haitian capital over the weekend, turning streets into rivers and leaving at least 12 people dead, civil protection officials said Monday.
- The family of a British woman who died of starvation in the Dominican Republic have called for a full investigation into her death.
- U.S. Assistant Secretary David Johnson will travel to Honduras and Guatemala from October 18 to 21, 2010.
- U.S. police have arrested the suspected killer of a Honduran former government minister as part of a multinational roundup of fugitives, authorities said Monday.
- A standoff between Spain and Venezuela is heating up as Spanish authorities move toward requesting the extradition of an alleged ETA member working within the government of President Hugo Chávez.
- Rescuers sought for a fourth day Monday to locate two missing miners in a collapsed gold mine, sorting through rubble by hands in hopes of finding them alive.
- The only non-Chilean among the 33 men freed from a mine last week returned to his native Bolivia on Monday and received a hero’s welcome and a $1,000-a-month job at a state company.
- Bolivia’s government, aiming to boost mining exports, said on Monday it set December as the target to award the contract to build two zinc smelters, a project estimated at $500 million.
- Mercosur nations Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay joined Argentina in issuing a communique condemning the UK’s missile tests in the Falkland Islands.
- The Paraguayan rebel group EPP singled out four men suspected of being police informants on Monday for execution.
- Recent polls show Brazilian presidential candidate Jose Serra trailing front-runner Dilma Rousseff by 4 to 7 percentage points.
Image: Isha.Net*~ Errror99 @ Flickr.