Today in Latin America
Top Story — Mexican police arrested the man who allegedly shot Paraguayan soccer player Salvador Cabañas in the head after an argument in a Mexico City night last January.
José Balderas Garza was arrested in Mexico City with six other people said by police to be in a drug ring he operates. Balderas, who has been been in hiding since the attack, was linked to the shooting after Francisco Barreto Garcia, who oversaw security for Balderas, was arrested last June and told investigators that his boss had shot Cabañas.
Balderas was presented to the media in the Mexican capital with six others, including a Colombian woman identified as his partner.
Along with the arrests, police confiscated false IDs from the suspects, several packets believed to contain cocaine, five rifles, six handguns and a machine gun, 304 rounds of ammunition of different calibers, two grenades, six bulletproof vests, about $106,000 worth of Mexican and U.S. currency and two automobiles.
The Mexican federal Attorney General’s Office will now conduct an investigation into the shooting.
Cabañas, who at the time of the shooting played for Mexico’s Club America and was a star striker for Paraguay’s national squad, has no memory of being shot in the head almost a year ago and is not expected to travel to Mexico to testify against Balderas, according to his lawyer.
Balderas told police he believes Cabañas can remember what happened but is not talking.
Cabañas was shot in the head last Jan. 25 and still has a bullet in his head from the incident. He was unable to play in last year’s World Cup in South Africa because of the shooting.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- A Mexican government official offered to pay the travel expenses of a Canadian man caught in the crossfire of a gang shooting in Mazatlan.
- With 350 dentists in town of 4,000, Los Algodones, Mexico is said to be occupied by more dentists than anywhere else in the world.
- The Mississippi state senate passed an immigration bill that is similar to controversial bill in Arizona.
- Federal prosecutors on Wednesday played tapes of a Cuban-born former CIA operative being asked basic questions and answering them in English during a U.S. immigration hearing, undermining his contention that a shaky grasp of the language led him to make misstatements under oath.
- In what may be his first public statement since one-time nemesis Jean-Claude Duvalier showed up in Haiti, former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide said he is “ready” to return to his homeland.
- Though he faces charges of financial wrongdoing and possibly human rights abuses, former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier has no plans to leave his homeland, one of his lawyers said Wednesday.
- A man sought for questioning in the death of a 40-year-old mother has been detained in Nicaragua, according to Miami-Dade police.
- The first four-way meeting promoted by Mexico and Guatemala to find a solution to the Nicaragua-Costa Rica border conflict was rated as successful, the local press in Mexico reported on Tuesday
- The Costa Rica-based insurer, Provident Capital Indemnity Ltd, its president and outside auditor are facing U.S. criminal charges for allegedly misleading investors in a life insurance settlement bond scheme U.S. prosecutors said on Wednesday.
- Venezuela says it has dethroned fellow OPEC member Saudi Arabia to become the nation with the largest proven crude oil reserves in the world, at nearly 300 billion barrels.
- The stock exchanges of Colombia and Peru are planning a corporate merger that will be the first-ever cross-border fusion of stock markets in Latin America, the two exchanges said Wednesday.
- Union members at Cerrejón S.A., Colombia’s largest coal exporter, readied for a vote on whether to strike even as a new round of negotiations with the company was set for Wednesday.
- The U.N. spokesman’s office says the United States has filed a letter with the world body objecting to Bolivia’s proposal to end an international ban on coca leaf-chewing.
- Floodwaters receded in some parts of the Brazilian state of Rio, as the death toll rose to 741.
- The largest mining companies in Chile agreed to pay a temporary increase in royalties that will raise more than $1 billion to help cities and coastal fishing villages rebuild after last year’s earthquake.
- Colombian José Serpa sits in first place in Argentina’s Tour De San Luis bike race.
Image: Fernando Lugo APC @ Flickr.