Today in Latin America
Top Story — A 20-year old woman who made headlines last year after taking over as police chief in the violent Mexican border town of Praxedis G Guerrero, was fired for not showing up for work after she received death threats.
Marisol Valles García, who was hailed as Mexico’s bravest woman last November upon taking up the post, was reported to be in the U.S. after receiving death threats. This has not been confirmed, and her whereabouts are not clear.
Officials in Praxedis G Guerrero said García Valles had asked for time off work to care for her sick baby, but had not returned on Monday. The mayor of the town attempted to contact her, but had been unsuccessful.
The mayor said he would take over direct control of the police force. Some officials are worried that she may be in harm’s way.
“Right now Marisol needs support and one way to be supportive is to leave her in the office,” Human Rights Commission official Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson said, according to The New York Daily News. “To fire her is to leave her completely alone.”
An unnamed relative of García Valles told The New York Post that the chief had left Mexico with her young son.
Last year García Valles become an international phenomenon when she took over the town’s police force. Her predecessor’s head was left outside the police station over a year ago and no one wanted to fill the vacancy until she came along.
“I’m doing this for my people,” she said then, according to ABC News. “This is not for me. I’m tired of all the drug violence.”
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- The Mexican National Human Rights Commission called on authorities to provide protection to relatives of the young people massacred last year in Ciudad Juárez.
- The Mexican government announced an accord with the United States to resolve a 15-year-long conflict over transnational cargo shipments by road.
- A federal judge in the immigration fraud trial of a former CIA operative decided Monday to admit into evidence a Guatemalan passport with his photo in it.
- Haitian presidential candidate Mirlande Manigat is appealing to Haitian-Americans in Florida to help heal her beleaguered country.
- A jury in Puerto Rico has convicted a senator in the legislature and a prominent island businessman of bribery in a public corruption trial.
- Puerto Rican Sen. Alejandro García Padilla entered the campaign for the 2012 gubernatorial nomination of the main opposition Popular Democratic Party, or PPD.
- The head of a Guatemalan commission on “femicide” voiced concern Monday that the epidemic of killings of women continues unabated in the Central American nation.
- Nicaragua’s Vice-President, Jaime Morales, joked earlier today that Costa Rica’s wait on the decision of the International Court of Justice in The Hague (ICJ) on the precautionary measures requested against Nicaragua, was “like if it were a war of the worlds.”
- Canada’s Inmet Mining Corp said on Monday its financing plans for a copper and gold project in Panama are still viable, even after the government repealed a law key to the mine’s development.
- A Spanish judge on Monday indicted three Basque separatists, including a Venezuelan resident, on terrorism charges for suspected roles in organizing collaboration between armed Basque separatist group ETA and Colombia’s FARC rebels.
- Venezuelan police reported Monday that they seized 1,176 kilos (2,590 lbs.) of cocaine in an operation carried out on a private ranch in the eastern state of Anzoategui in which five people were arrested, among them one Colombian.
- One miner died and another remains missing after inhaling toxic gases at a gold mine in Risaralda, a province in west-central Colombia, emergency services officials said.
- A U.S. judge late Monday issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the enforcement of a $8.6 billion judgment against Chevron Corp. over environmental damage in Ecuador’s Amazon region.
- The lawyer for Joran van der Sloot, the Dutch national accused of killing a 21-year-old woman in Lima, Peru, last year, said Monday he has asked the court to charge his client with the lesser offense of manslaughter.
- A secret cable revealed by Wikileaks showed that U.S. Ambassadors to Southern Cone countries expressed concern at a meeting in 2007 about Venezuela’s incorporation into Mercosur.
- A roof collapsed in a private school near Asunción on Monday, injuring ten children.
- Colombian pop singer Shakira said she would love to meet her Chilean impersonator, Rodolfo Burgos (AKA “Shakiro”) who appeared on the Megavisión television show “Yo Soy” last week.