Today in Latin America
Top Story — More than 1,000 people were detained over the weekend in Ciudad Juárez during raids aimed at combatting human trafficking. Two dozen bars, hotels and boarding houses were raided by Mexican federal police in an operation that brought in 500 men and 530 women allegedly connected with human trafficking and sexual exploitation. The nine hour sweep, involving more than 300 police officers, also rescued 20 female minors as part of Mexico’s AMBER Alert program, which searches for missing children. The raids come less than a month after Mexican President Felipe Calderón approved changes to the country’s constitution in the hope of cracking down on human trafficking, including one change that requires those accused of human trafficking to be imprisoned during trials and another guaranteeing the anonymity of victims. “There are thousands and thousands of cases, in a society that is still unaware of the seriousness of this crime,” Calderón said. “We have to break through this curtain … that is hiding from the Mexicans a criminal reality that is in front of us.”
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- Today, Cuba commemorates the attack on the Moncada barracks of July 26, 1953, that propelled Fidel Castro to national fame and became the first battle of the Cuban Revolution. Get a visual sense of daily life in Havana 58 years after the historic day in this photo essay by Jorge Royan.
- ICE and immigration activists are battling over the controversial U.S. deportation program, Secure Communities. Roque Planas reports on the latest developments in the fight.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- U.S. President Barack Obama promised Hispanic voters that he would continue to push for comprehensive immigration reform during a speech at the National Council of La Raza.
- Mexican soldiers found a series of marijuana fields covering 148 acres in the northern state of Durango, coming about two weeks after soldiers discovered the self-described biggest pot plantation ever detected in Mexico.
- The U.S. Embassy in Mexico was unaware of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) gun-running operation that landed weapons in the hands of drug cartels.
- Mexico’s state oil company, Pemex, asserts that over 100 employees have aided criminal groups by stealing millions of barrels of fuel in the past decade.
- The Cuban American National Foundation said Monday that the Cuban government repressed for the second straight week a procession by the human rights group Ladies in Support.
- Agricultural and production jobs that for decades were performed by students in Cuba during their summer vacations will not be carried out that way this year to reduce costs.
- Four former Guatemalan special forces officers went on trial Monday for their alleged participation in the 1982 Las Dos Erres massacre that left over 200 people dead.
- Hundreds of activists in Central America began a caravan over the weekend to follow the path of migrants en route to the United States.
- Panama’s economic activity rose 9.5 percent in May compared to the same time last year, in part thanks to an increase in containers handled by ports and net tonnage transported through the Panama Canal
- The Venezuelan government said Monday that after a year of studying the exhumed remains of 19th-century independence hero Simón Bolívar, scientists have yet to find conclusive evidence to explain his death.
- A city council candidate and his driver were slain in a rural area of the southwestern Colombian province of Cauca, authorities said.
- Dutch Bancassurer ING Groep NV said on Monday it would sell most of its Latin American operations to Colombia’s GrupoSura for 2.6 billion euros ($3.7 billion) in the largest-ever acquisition abroad by a Colombian company.
- Peru’s benchmark borrowing costs in dollars fell to a three-month low after President-elect Ollanta Humala’s appointment of government and central bank officials eased investors’ concerns about how he’ll manage the economy.
- Argentina’s socialist party won the governorship of the Santa Fe province, handing President Cristina Fernández’s coalition another defeat.
- 60,000 fans gathered in Uruguay’s historic Centenario stadium to great the country’s national soccer team players when they returned home Sunday night after winning the Copa América.
- Movie producer Mike Medavoy bought the rights to produce a feature film about the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped underground last year for 69 days.
- Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega said on Monday that the country is ready to take any measures necessary to fight excessive currency gains.
Image: Gobierno Federal @ Flickr.