Today in Latin America
Top Story — A wave of heavily armed Brazilian soldiers and police swept through one of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas Sunday morning in an effort to wrestle control of the area in the lead up to the 2014 World Cup from drug gangs. The pre-announced operation in the Mangueira neighborhood, home to Rio’s famed Maracana soccer stadium and one of the city’s oldest samba schools, took place around dawn as 14 armored personnel carriers rolled through area’s steep streets as helicopters hovered overhead. Brazilian authorities met no resistance as the drug gangs fled the neighborhood well in advance. Some Mangueira residents worried that after the World Cup the police presence will disappear and the gangs will return. “All of that is because of the World Cup. But afterward, who will make sure it doesn’t go back to like before, that the police won’t leave?” said Vera, who did refused to give her last name for fear of reprisal.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- At least 22 people died over the weekend in Mexico during a string of attacks across the country, including a shooting at a bar in Monterrey.
- Organizers at the Gold Cup soccer tournament said Mexico can replace the five players banned after testing positive for the banned substance clenbuterol.
- The Cuban dissidents who receive the most attention from the U.S. media were largely unknown to Cubans seeking to emigrate, American diplomats in Havana found in a survey taken in 2008, according to a cable obtained by WikiLeaks.
- The remains of U.S. pastor Lucius Walker will have their final resting place in Cuba, fulfilling the wishes of the former leader of the religious movement Pastors for Peace, which sought an end to the U.S. embargo against Cuba.
- Guatemalan authorities have arrested former armed forces chief Héctor López Fuentes, who is accused of joining in massacres during the nation’s civil war nearly 30 years ago.
- Fire ripped through a prison where thousands of Venezuelan troops struggled to put down a revolt by inmates on Sunday.
- While President Hugo Chávez has been recovering from pelvic surgery in Cuba, his troubles at home in Venezuela have been accumulating.
- Peru’s leftist president-elect, Ollanta Humala, has an approval rating of 70 percent two weeks after winning power and most voters think he will pursue moderate policies, a poll showed on Sunday.
- A car bomb wounded 17 people in Colombia’s colonial-era city of Popayán, but a disaster was averted when police intercepted the vehicle before it reached its target in the main square, authorities said on Sunday.
- Bolivia’s farmers were hit from all sides last year — drought, floods and wildfires — forcing the poor Andean nation to import staple foods on an unprecedented scale.
- Families of Brazilian activists in the Amazon who have received death threats in recent weeks are reportedly being kept in a secret location by the Brazilian national police.
The Chilean government announced Sunday that the approximately 4,000 Chileans evacuated during the June 4 eruption of the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcanic complex may now return home.
The Argentine coast guard confiscated 444 kilos of cocaine from a sailboat bound for the Uruguayan resort town of Piriápolis on Saturday.
Image: gbryson2 @ Flickr.