Today in Latin America
Top Story — Mexican authorities claim to have arrested another alleged drug cartel suspect tied to the killing of a U.S. immigration agent in February.
The Mexican Public Safety Department said that federal police detained Mario Jimenez Perez and 16 other suspects on March 5. Jimenez Perez, also known as “Mayito”, is an alleged financier of the Zetas drug cartel.
A statement by the Mexican Security Minister said that Jimenez Perez was captured Sunday in the central San Luis Potosi state and that he “has been linked to the murder of a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent.”
The murder of ICE agent Jaime Zapata on February 15 created tension between Mexico and the U.S. and was one of the worst attacks on U.S. personnel in Mexico. The shooting prompted even some U.S. lawmakers to press for U.S. agents to be able to carry arms in Mexico.
The Zetas, formed by renegade special forces soldiers, were a paramilitary wing of the Gulf Cartel until they broke away last year in a violent struggle to secure control of smuggling routes in northern Mexico. They are one of the most dangerous drug organizations operating in Mexico today, where more than 35,000 people have been killed since President Felipe Calderon launched an offensive on the cartels in late 2006.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- U.S. authorities accused 10 alleged Mexican gang members of kiling two Americans and a Mexican man with ties to the U.S. consulate in Ciudad Juarez last year.
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services director Alejandro Mayorkas asked the Washington state attorneys general to help him crack down on fake immigration lawyers.
- The head of Puerto Rico’s Port Authority announced Tuesday that the San Juan Airport has been given the go-ahead by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to begin direct flights to Cuba.
- The murder of “Niño Lorenzo” occurred exactly a year ago, a controversial case that still captures the media’s attention in Puerto Rico because the killing of the 8-year-old boy in his own home remains unsolved.
- FIFA says Isaac David Sasso Sasso, who was an executive committee member for 17 years, died at his home in Costa Rica on Tuesday at the age of 85.
- Venezuelan securities regulators ordered the shutdown of four brokerage houses after detecting bookkeeping irregularities and failure to comply with local laws.
- An emerging battle over a proposed free-trade agreement with Colombia is undercutting central pieces of President Obama’s trade agenda.
- Peru and South Korea plan to sign a free trade agreement March 21 in Seoul.
- Chilean President Sebastián Piñera asked Spain, Chile’s number two foreign investor after the U.S., to keep investing in Chile during a state visit with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
- Thirty per cent more Brazilians were killed in highway car accidents during this year’s Carnival season than in 2010.
- Paraguay has joined Uruguay in outranking Argentina as one of the top meat-consuming nations in the world after a report showed that Paraguay’s beef exports in January exceeded Argentina’s.
- Uruguay’s 2010 World Cup star Diego Forlán announced his engagement to Argentine model Zaira Nara on Wednesday. Both Forlán and controversial teammate Luis Suarez will join the Uruguay squad in this month’s friendlies.
Image:U.S. Department of Treasury @ Wikicommons.