Top Story — Despite earlier claims, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday that the U.S. would increase its investment in Central America’s security as part of an effort to fight drug cartels. Speaking during a two-day conference on regional security in Guatemala, Clinton said the U.S. promised $300 million this year, 10 percent more than in 2010, to battle drugs and organized crime. Some of the U.S. funds were previously allotted or are being repackaged from other programs. Clinton said that murder rates in the region were reaching “civil war levels.” She added that Central American nations need to do their part by fighting corruption and ensuring effective institutions. They must “build police forces and courts that are well-funded and well-equipped, capable of protecting human rights and earning the trust of the communities they serve,” Clinton said.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- A U.S. border agent shot dead a Mexican man who was fleeing from agents in California after attempting to enter the country through the border fence.
- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it will not deport undocumented immigrants who have legitimate civil rights claims.
- Hurricane Beatriz killed three people in Acapulco, Mexico and left much of the city in disarray at the start of the area’s busy tourist season.
- Award-winning Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez said Tuesday that technology can help “expose the stubbornness” that has taken root in Cuba’s seat of power and push the Communist-ruled island “in the direction of reforms.”
- Puerto Rico’s Health Insurance Administration will disburse $43 million to bolster the Medicaid system, which is threatened by a series of non-payments.
- Police in El Salvador arrested 100 alleged gang members accused of homicide and illicit association, which brings the total number of gang members detained in the last week to 134.
- A United Arab Emirates’ envoy met Wednesday with Honduran President Porfirio Lobo in an effort to strengthen and support mutual relations between both countries.
- Venezuela’s vice president says President Hugo Chávez is attending to his day-to-day government duties while recuperating in Cuba following surgery.
- Fitch Ratings raised Colombia to investment grade on Wednesday, becoming the third Wall Street agency to elevate the country this year to the coveted status, opening the door to a broader range of investors.
- Three people died when police clashed with students who set fire to government buildings in a remote province.
- Hundreds of archaeological artifacts taken from the citadel of Machu Picchu a century ago have finally returned to the Peruvian highlands.
- Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner announced Tuesday that she would be running for a second term as president.
- Brazil may support Agustín Carsten’s bid to head the IMF, according to Paulo Nogueira Batista, the Brazilian representative at the Fund.
- Chile’s Puyehue volcano complex could explode again as pressure builds up behind a newly-formed lava “cork,” according to geologists.
- Brazil’s National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) reported finding an indigenous tribe in the southeastern Amazon that has had no previous contact with outsiders.
- A Brazilian man hit his wife with their pet poodle, killing the dog and injuring his wife. He was not arrested.
Image: Gobierno de Guatemala @ Flickr.