Today in Latin America
Top Story — Guatemalan President Álvaro Colom said Monday that organized crime groups were behind the shooting death of one of Latin America’s most revered folksingers over the weekend. Facundo Cabral, an Argentine musician who rose to fame in the 1970s as a voice for the oppressed under the region’s military dictatorships, was killed by gunmen Saturday in an ambush as he was being driven to the airport in Guatemala. Colom said the gunmen that killed Cabral were after Nicaraguan businessmen Henry Farinas, who was driving the folksinger to the airport at the time of the shooting. The Guatemalan president didn’t specify which organized crime group was involved, but it is known that both Mexico’s Zetas and Sinaloa drug cartels operate in the country. Farinas, who owns a number of strip clubs called “Elite” throughout Central America, survived the shooting but has yet to interviewed by authorities. “It’s evident that the attack came from organized crime and that’s what we are investigating,” Colom said, according to Mexican radio.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- The U.S. Justice Department said that gun shops four Southwest border states will now be required to notify the federal government to frequent buyers of high-powered rifles.
- Boston’s mayor said he plans to withdraw the city’s police from the federal Secure Communities program unless federal immigration officials limit their deportation efforts to immigrants who committed serious crimes.
- Haitian President Michel Martelly says he’s confident lawmakers will approve his second pick for prime minister, former Justice Minister Bernard Gousse, even though more than half the senators have asked him to pick someone else.
- Manuel Galbán, a Cuban guitarist best known for his work with the all-star ensemble Buena Vista Social Club and its various offshoots, died on Thursday in Havana. He was 80.
- A bus accident in Honduras killed 10 people Sunday and 17 more were inured after the driver lost control near the town of Los Hornos.
- Protesters in Nicaragua took to the streets last weekend to demonstrate their disapproval of the reelection bid by President Daniel Ortega
- El Salvador host this week the 8th Forum of Ministers of Social Development in Latin America.
- U.S. rock band Pearl Jam confirmed that they will play on show at San José, Costa Rica’s National Stadium as well as in other Latin American cities.
- Colombian troops have been given the order to destroy houses used by rebels to attack civilians or government, President Juan Manual Santos says.
- President Hugo Chávez signed a $2 billion contribution from Venezuela to a binational infrastructure fund with China, which laid out $4 billion for the project, at an event partially broadcast by state television.
- Ecuador swung to a trade surplus of $47 million in May from a trade deficit of $169 million in the same month of 2010, the central bank said Monday.
- Bolivian authorities have ordered the rescue of a family of Dutch tourists stranded near the border with Chile due to heavy snowfall, officials have said.
- Brazil’s minister for women’s affairs is investigating accusations that a U.S. company promoting Amazon fishing expeditions served as cover for sexual exploitation of underage girls.
- Workers at Chile’s Codelco copper mine went on strike Monday, raising fears in the country of wider problems.
- The remains of singer Facundo Cabral, who was killed over the weekend in Guatemala, will be returned to Argentina on Tuesday.
Image: Surizar @ Flickr.