Today in Latin America
Top Story — The trial of U.S. contractor Alan Gross in Cuba for charges of threatening to subvert the Communist government finished on Saturday, though the verdict has yet to be announced.
Gross was first jailed in December of 2009 without formal charges for bringing satellite communication equipment into Cuba. Gross’ family and U.S. officials have said he intended to help the island’s small Jewish community connect to the Internet, but Cuban officials claim his U.S.A.I.D.-funded program aimed to provide support to opponents of the Castro government.
Gross’ attorney Peter Kahn asked the Cuban government in a statement to release his client has a humanitarian gesture. Over the course of Gross’ detention, his wife has suffered lung cancer and his daughter underwent a double-mastectomy due to breast cancer.
Cuban state media reported that during the trial Gross accused his company, Development Alternatives, Inc., of putting him in danger and ruining his family’s life and economy. No foreign media were permitted to view the proceedings.
The Cuban court’s decision in Gross’ case could have implications for U.S. relations with Cuba. The case arose as President Barack Obama had used executive authority to loosen travel and remittance policy to Cuba.
Announcement from the Latin America News Dispatch
- Due to a database error, the Latin America News Dispatch went offline from late Thursday night until Sunday, causing a a halt in Friday’s edition.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Seven hundred gay couples have married in Mexico City since the capital enacted the first law in Latin America explicitly allowing same-sex marriages a year ago.
- Mexican authorities arrested Julio Cesar Aguilar Garcia, known as “El Vaquero,” an alleged high-ranking figure in the Sinaloa drug cartel.
- Carnival returned to Haiti, as the country struggles to rebuild over a year after the devastating earthquake.
- A long-time entertainer who is vying to become the next president of Haiti has defaulted on more than $1 million in loans and lost three South Florida properties to foreclosure.
- A Honduran police officer was wounded by drug smugglers in a battle that ended with the seizure of four bales of cocaine and the arrest of one suspect.
- Costa Rica’s Foreign Minister, Rene Castro made at stop in Washington to meet with Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to express concern for Costa Rica over the dispute with Nicaragua.
- Four men were found dead Friday inside the trunks of two cars abandoned on the outskirts of the central Colombian city of Villavicencio.
- A gang of criminals known as “the pirates of the sea” raided a Japanese tuna trawler off the central Peruvian coast.
- Eight people were killed when their vehicle collided head-on with a bus in southern Peru, authorities told Efe on Friday.
- A 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck near the Chile-Peru border on Sunday morning, but no injuries were reported.
- Alberto Granado, an Argentine physician and the travel companion of Ernesto “Che” Guevara during his motorcycle trip through South America, passed away Saturday at the age of 88 in Havana, Cuba.
- Brazil’s Association of Textile Importers reported that 80% of the textiles used for Brazil’s Carnaval costumes this year come from China.
- A cable leaked by Wikileaks revealed that former Uruguayan Industry Minister Jorge Lepra called the Kirchner government “fascist” in a 2006 conversation with the US Embassy Chargé D’Affaires.
Image: stewartcutler @ Flickr.