Today in Latin America
Top Story — Venezuela’s handover of a senior member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) is on hold after the man requested asylum. Guillermo Torres Cueter, also known as “Julián Conrado,” was captured in May in southwestern Venezuela and the government of President Hugo Chávez said that it cannot extradite the FARC leader until his asylum request is reviewed. Venezuela’s Communist Party leader Pedro Eusse said that Torres was captured while working on a farm in Venezuela and was taken into custody without any weapons. Authorities had at first kept Torres isolated, but that has since changed as Venezuelan judicial authorities have begun to attend to the case. Venezuela has 30 days to rule on the asylum request, said Carlos Aquino, another leader of the Communist Party. “Once the process is begun, no type of (transfer) can be carried out” until there is a response to the request, Aquino said.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- A grenade attack on a boulevard in the Mexican Gulf coast city of Veracruz killed one man and seriously wounded a woman and her two young daughters.
- 1,000 gay couples have been married in Mexico City since lawmakers in the country’s capital approved same-sex unions in March of 2010.
- Georgia’s attorney general’s office appealed Monday a federal judge’s decision blocking two parts of the state’s heavily debated immigration law.
- Newly declassified U.S. documents show a CIA operative accidentally fired on friendly pilots during the Bay of Pigs invasion.
- Lack of regulation puts cooperatives and insurance companies at risk of being used for money laundering, Dominican Banks Association President José Manuel López said Monday.
- The Jamaican government sold its remaining three sugar estates to China’s Complant International Sugar Industry Company as part of a privatization deal championed by Prime Minister Bruce Golding.
- At least four private security guards were killed and several others were wounded after being attacked by peasants occupying a ranch in the Honduran province of Colón.
- The University of Michigan suspended the school’s internship program in El Salvador after three participants were robbed at gunpoint.
- Palestinian Christian leaders called on Honduras to recognize Palestine as an independent state at the United Nations in September.
- The Panama Canal plans to host the first-ever International Engineering and Infrastructure Congress next April.
- Bolivian indigenous groups are marching to La Paz to protest the construction of a highway connecting Brazil’s lower Amazon with the Peruvian and Chilean coasts.
- Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has seen his approval ratings improve after announcing he has cancer, but will need to keep the Venezuelan economy growing if he hopes to be re-elected in 2012.
- Peru’s economy is growing at its slowest pace in 17 months due to investor concerns about recently-elected Peruvian President Ollanta Humala’s policies such as a windfall mining tax.
- Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner dominated Argentina’s first presidential primaries on Sunday, beating her closest competition by 38 percentage points.
- Chilean students rejected an offer for negotiations with Congress on Sunday and said that they would join unions in a national strike on August 18, while the Chilean Teachers Association is promoting a plebiscite to vote on educational reforms.
- Rio de Janeiro police have named 12 suspects in the shooting of Brazilian judge Patrícia Lourival Acioli, who was murdered Friday night by a gang of assassins.
Image: Que Comunismo! @ Flickr.