Today in Latin America
Top Story — Bolivia’s Supreme Court convicted five senior military officers for the the killings of 64 people during protests in 2003. Four former generals and an admiral were sentenced to between 10 and 15 years in prison for their roles in the killing of protesters in El Alto, a city near the capital of La Paz. The protestors were demanding an end to the export of natural gas to the United States using Chilean ports. Known as the “Black October” case, this is the first time that high-ranking members of Bolivia’s military have been convicted by a civilian court for human rights abuses. In the 2003 killing, soldiers opened fire, injuring over 200 people on top of the killings. When the verdict was announced on Tuesday, family members of the victims cheered outside the court for what is being considered a landmark case for Bolivia’s human rights record.
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
- U.S. authorities named a federal prosecutor in Minnesota the new head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) after the former chief resigned in the wake of the bungled Operation Fast and Furious.
- The five suspects arrested in connection with the attack that killed 52 people in a Mexican casino said they only meant to scare the establishment’s owners.
- Authorities in Mexico found the remains of 12 people in clandestine graves in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua.
- 140 elementary schools in the Mexican resort town of Acapulco were closed Monday after teachers refused to come in for fear of extortion and kidnappings threats by drug gangs.
- A U.S. citizen who was kidnapped last week in Port-au-Prince was freed Tuesday, a Haitian police official said Tuesday.
- Cuba’s Ladies in White met with an aide to Cardinal Jaime Ortega Tuesday to discuss their concerns over government crackdowns on their supporters in the eastern province of Santiago.
- An advisory panel has approved new fishing limits for the waters around Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, in an attempt to protect the ecosystem.
- A 25-year-old assistant bank manager from a Chicago suburb was arrested in the Dominican Republic Saturday with almost $40,000 in cash stolen from a bank vault that day, FBI officials said Tuesday.
- The murder rate in Guatemala is down despite talk that the Central American nation is a “failed state.”
- Drivers on at least two bus routes in El Salvador are striking to demand that the authorities protect them from extortion demands by gangs.
- An Irishman is in critical condition after being shot in the back in Honduras following a dispute over where he parked his bicycle.
- A controversy is brewing over a planned airport in Costa Rica in a region that harbors 3 percent of the world’s known biodiversity.
- A Washington state man who was convicted Monday in Nicaragua of drug trafficking and money laundering charges is asking the State Department to intervene.
- Official statistics say that over 57,000 people have gone missing in Colombia over the last half-century of conflict.
- Five former military commanders in Bolivia have been convicted for the deaths of 64 civilians during a government crackdown on protesters in 2003.
- Ecuadorian plaintiffs say that a New York federal judge is unfairly allowing Chevron Corporation to challenge the fitness of the Ecuadorean justice system by allowing Chevron to re-litigate an eight-year pollution trial that it lost.
- The Venezuelan government on Thursday announced an initiative to reduce violence in Caracas by putting signs in buses declaring them an “firearms-free zone”.
- Santiago’s metropolitan police have dismissed five officers for the death of sixteen year-old Manuel Gutiérrez, who was shot while demonstrating last Thursday.
- Chilean First Lady Cecilia Morel announced that all 33 of the men trapped in the San José mine last year will receive lifetime pensions of about $540 a month.
- Paraguay has broken off talks with neighboring Argentina after accusing its neighbor of charging too much to use Argentine power lines to transmit Paraguayan electricity to Uruguay.
Image: Cesar Angel. Zaragoza @ Flickr.