Today in Latin America
Top Story — At least 40 people were killed Thursday afternoon in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey, when a group of armed men set fire to the Casino Royale. Mexican news organizations described the attack as the worst massacre in the five years since the Felipe Calderon administration launched the country’s drug war. The governor of Nuevo Leon state, of which Monterrey is the capital, said that law enforcement had yet to determine a motive for the attack. President Calderon said the attack highlighted the need to continue pushing forward with the fight against the drug cartels. “These reprehensible acts oblige us all to persevere in the fight against these unscrupulous criminal gangs,” Calderon said in a tweet.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- More than 230,000 people have been displaced by Mexico’s drug war, about half whom are seeking refuge in the United States. Yet the U.S. government approves very few Mexican asylum applications. Raisa Camargo explores why in this report from El Paso.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- The former police chief of a New Mexico border town pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy to run guns to a Mexico drug cartel.
- The body of a Mexican newspaper journalist has been found a day after he was kidnapped in a farm building outside the city of Culiacan.
- The U.S. government is detaining all papaya imports from Mexico after finding salmonella contamination in the fruit.
- J.P. Morgan Chase Bank will pay $88 million to the U.S. government for violating regulations governing financial transactions with Cuba.
- Puerto Rican Gov. Luis Fortuno is pushing a project to build a natural gas pipeline to connect the island to the mainland U.S., but critics say the pipeline would damage the environment and create safety hazards.
- Hurricane Irene pummeled the Bahamas Thursday, but left the capital of Nassau relatively unscathed.
- El Salvador became another Latin American nation on Thursday to recognize Palestine as an independent state.
- Belize is seeking the assistance of the Organization of American States following the shooting of a Guatemalan man.
- Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez claimed that the Venezuelan embassy in Tripoli had been sacked by Libyan rebels after the Venezuelan leader allied himself with Muammar Gaddafi, although news reports contradict Chávez’s claim.
- Colombia’s Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday against a legal decree that would have made drug possession and consumption illegal. Currently, small amounts of drugs used for personal consumption are permitted by law.
- James Anaya, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, praised Peru for a new law that requires corporations to consult with indigenous groups before beginning major infrastructure and development projects.
- A 48-hour general strike by Chile’s Central Worker’s Union (CUT) brought tens of thousands of Chileans into the streets to rally for social and political reforms as over a hundred people were arrested and a reported 6 police officers were injured.
- Valdemar Oliveira Barbosa, a Brazilian leader of landless peasants, became the fourth activist murdered in the state of Pará since May when he was shot while riding his bicycle Thursday.
- Wikileaks’ official Twitter account reported that a total 1658 leaked wires refer to U.S.-Argentine diplomatic relations.
Image: Gobierno Federal @ Flickr.