Today in Latin America
Top Story — The mayor of Buenos Aires now faces a run-off for his re-election bid against the hand-picked candidate of Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Mauricio Macri, the conservative first-term mayor, garnered 47 percent of Sunday’s vote, while the populist Sen. Daniel Filmus took in around 28 percent. This sets up a July 31 run-off that could play a very important role in Argentina’s upcoming national elections in October. The 2.4 million voters in Buenos Aires represent nearly 9 percent of Argentina’s voting population and Macri is viewed throughout the country as Fernández de Kirchner ideological opponent. In his speech after the polls closed, Macri asked for unity but warned that the capital can not be used for political gain by the national government. “If we deserve something, it’s not because we went down on our knees, but because we put forth our ideas with our heads held high and with dignity,” Macri said.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Violence related to Mexico’s ongoing drug war left 40 dead over the weekend, including 21 people in a bar in Monterrey.
- Mexican authorities rescued 20 people held for ransom during an early morning raid Sunday on a makeshift hut in Monterrey.
- Hundreds of people in Georgia rallied in Atlanta to protest the state’s controversial immigration law.
- The official newspaper of Cuba’s ruling Communist Party complained Friday that the “innumerable and illogical obstacles” that bureaucrats use to stop journalists from gaining access to information on the island makes their job an “agonizing cross to bear.”
- Cuba says it has extended more than 13,000 farm credits under an agricultural overhaul launched by President Raúl Castro.
- The founder of a New York-based group that supports the Cuban government threatened to pull the scholarships of U.S. medical students in Havana if they contacted the U.S. diplomatic mission on the island, according to a State Department cable.
- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Tampa Field Division allegedly ran a gun-running operation that allowed firearms to end up in the hands of MS-13 gang members in Honduras.
- A helicopter crash in Honduras injured the country’s Vice-President, Mauricio Urruela, and killed two others.
- Former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya met with current President Porfirio Lobo and other leaders over the weekend to discuss reforms in the country.
- A UN-backed panel, which investigates crimes in Guatemala, joined Sunday the investigation into the killing of popular singer Facundo Cabral.
- Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez appears to have made it through his most difficult moments and is improving after undergoing surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, Bolivian leader Evo Morales said Sunday.
- Colombian rebels on Sunday shot two policemen dead in one attack and wounded two soldiers with a horse packed with explosives in another, as Bogotá vowed to beef up security in a violence-hit southwestern state.
- Venezuela’s Ministry of Energy and Petroleum reports that the average price of Venezuelan crude sold by PDVSA rose during the week ending July 8 to $103.76 from the previous week’s $100.43, raising the average for the year to $98.43.
- Centennial celebrations for U.S. explorer Hiram Bingham’s discovery of the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu ended with a spectacular sound-and-light show portraying the entire history of this historic site.
- A winter storm in the north of Chile has subsided, allowing copper mines to resume normal operations after a week of heavy rain and snow.
- Animal fossils discovered in Uruguay may challenge the prevailing theory that the Americas were populated via the Bering Strait about 12,000 years ago.
- According to O Globo, an eleven year-old boy in Northeastern Brazil can magnetically attract metal objects to his body.
Image: Mauricio Macri @ Flickr.