Today in Latin America
Top Story — A U.S. federal judge on Monday heard arguments for and against Georgia’s tough new immigration law. Georgia’s law, which has similar language to Arizona’s controversial legislation, permits police to question criminal suspects about their immigration status and if they are in the U.S. illegally, they can be detained and transferred to federal authorities. Another facet of the law makes it illegal to knowingly harbor, transport and entice illegal immigrants into the state. Omar Jadwat, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), said the law is unconstitutional because immigration is a federal responsibility, not a state one. Georgia’s assistant attorney general, Devon Orland, countered by claiming that the state’s legislation simply mirrors federal immigration law and is designed to assist the federal government. U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Thrash said he would rule on the matter by July 1.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- The acting director of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and firearms is expected to resign due to a scandal surrounding the “Fast and Furious” operation in which illegally purchased guns ended up in the hands of Mexican drug cartels.
- A journalist, his wife, and their 21-year-old son were shot to death Monday inside their home in the Mexican state of Veracruz.
- Mexican drug cartels allegedly control the pipeline system of Mexico’s state oil monopoly, according to a newspaper report released over the weekend.
- Iran and Cuba together have forced more journalists into exile over the past year than all other countries combined, a survey by the Committee to Protect Journalists said Monday.
- The dissident Ladies in White expressed support for Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega against the criticism of Spanish conservative lawmaker Teofilo de Luis of the Popular Party, about the prelate’s role as mediator in the process of freeing political prisoners that began last year.
- The Dominican Churches Social Service, has opened a Cholera Attention Center in the community of Boom Repos in Port-au-Prince, a center funded with about $250,000 provided by South Korean and Canadian cooperation entities, the Dominican institution announced Sunday.
- France began proceedings Monday to extradite former Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega to Panama, after receiving consent from the U.S.
- A soccer player in Honduras’ first division league was shot after being attacked in an apparent robbery attempt.
- Around 2,000 inmates at five prisons in El Salvador are suffering from vomiting and diarrhea due to food poisoning.
- Costa Rica introduced its new National Broadband Strategy, which plans to provide broadband services to even the most remote areas of the country.
- Relatives of inmates in Venezuela’s El Rodeo prison complex are anxious, desperate and angry as they seek information after clashes between rival gangs and government troops.
- Ecuador’s total foreign debt in April was $14.07 billion, up 3% from $13.67 billion in the same month of 2010, the central bank said.
- Four more people have been murdered in Villa del Rosario, a city in Colombia’s Norte de Santander province near the border with Venezuela, marking the third massacre in the area in less than three weeks, officials said.
- Chile’s controversial HidroAysén hydroelectric project in Patagonia was halted by an appeals court in Puerto Montt after opponents of the project filed a legal injunction.
- A 6.5-magnitude quake hit northern Chile on Monday, but no injuries or damage have been reported.
- A lawyer for the Foundation of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo said that there should have been greater controls over the group’s funds after Sergio Schoklender, former financial manager of leading Argentine human rights group, was accused of mismanaging money intended for a housing program for the poor.
Image: Lost on Lake Brazos @ Flickr.