Today in Latin America
Top Story — In the northeastern Mexican town of San Fernando, authorities arrested 16 municipal police officers Thursday for allegedly providing cover to drug cartel members behind the mass graves uncovered in the region over the past few days, the country’s attorney general said.
The arrested policemen are said to have protected four members of the Los Zetas drug cartel, one of the most violent groups of its kind in all of Mexico.
At least 126 bodies have been unearthed from the mass graves found in the state of Tamaulipas 93 miles away from the U.S. border with Mexico.
According to the Governor of that state, Morelos Jaime Canseco, there is no evidence the arrested officers were directly involved in the massacres that produced the recently found bodies.
“The government promises … to get to the bottom of these regrettable and deplorable events and put an end to police corruption,” said Mexican attorney general Marisela Morales, according to Reuters.
The Mexican government has offered a reward of $3.8 million for information leading to the capture of the killings’ four chief suspects, according to AFP.
The level of violence in the northeastern town has prompted Mexican news anchor Joaquín López-Dóriga to call it a “reference point for a region without any law, other than that of organized crime and impunity,” in a column (in Spanish) Thursday. He added that “the incomprehensible magnitude” of recent massacres in Tamaulipas “can only happen in the atmosphere of a failed state.”
Last year, Mexican authorities found the bodies of 73 Central and South American migrants on a ranch neighboring San Fernando. The Los Zetas drug cartel is also deemed responsible for that massacre.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- While the Honduran government and former U.S. President Bill Clinton claim that the Central American nation is protecting human rights and combating drug-trafficking, Honduras is actually killing opposition members and using U.S. money to fund corrupt police officials, according to a leader in the Honduran resistance movement. Read the story here.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- A Mexican drug trafficker, known as the “King of Heroin”, was sentenced to 22 years in prison for smuggling large quantities of the drug into the United States.
- One man was killed and another wounded after a group of undocumented immigrants were shot at by suspected bandits in the desert south of Phoenix, Arizona.
- Interior Secretary Ken Salazar expressed concern Thursday about Cuba’s proposal to allow deep-water oil and gas drilling off the Florida coast.
- Cuba’s worst drought in 50 years is forcing the government to deliver water to about 100,000 people in Havana with trucks, officials said.
- EDF Trading, subsidiary of French utility EDF, said on Thursday it has ended its involvement in a biogas project in Honduras which an environmental group claims is linked to human rights abuses.
- A young Salvadoran man was able to communicate with his parents again on Wednesday after being separated from them more than 20 years ago.
- Police seized 66 pounds of cocaine aboard a bus transporting members of Venezuela’s government-organized militias, authorities said Thursday.
- Female Colombian snipers suspected of belonging to the Marxist guerilla group FARC are fighting as mercenaries defending Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, according to rebel forces.
- Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño Wednesday denied the veracity of a secret cable released by Wikileaks that tied him to Colombia’s Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
- U.S.-listed shares of Peruvian companies declined as worries escalated about policy changes that could occur after the country’s second-round presidential election.
- A video surfaced that was left by Wellington Oliveira, the man who killed 12 children in a Brazilian elementary school, where he promised to take “radical” action to avenge those like him, who felt “humiliated, attacked and disrespected.”
- Paraguay’s foreign affair’s minister recently pressed the Mercosur bloc to include Venezuela, arguing that the country will act as a balancing element.
- Through a presidential decree Argentina’s government increased its control over dozens of companies Wednesday, which grants the administration a larger influence in some of the key sectors of the economy ahead of this fall’s presidential elections.
- The Dakar Rally will finish in Chile in 2013, after relocating to South America in 2009 due to unrest in certain regions of Africa.
Image: Gobierno Federal @ Flickr.