Today in Latin America
Top Story — Mexican President Felipe Calderón highlighted his performance in the war against drug cartels during his annual national report to Congress Thursday. Calderón, who has been under fire since he declared war on the cartels shortly after taking office in 2006, said he has strengthened the rule of law and fought against drug gangs like never before. The report states that 21 of the Mexico’s 37 most wanted criminals have been killed or captured and that the government has confiscated $12.7 billion in assets from drug gangs. However, Calderón’s report comes a week after an arson attack in a Monterrey casino killed 52 people. The report also added that Mexico has preserved economic stability while extending coverage of social programs.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in Los Angeles intercepted 520 pounds of a chemicals used in illegal drugs like methamphetamine and ecstasy.
- Singer Franco de Vita said that he will play a show in Monterrey, Mexico despite the recent arson attack that killed 52 people.
- U.S. government subcontractor Alan Gross spent 25 days in a Havana jail before receiving his first visit from a U.S. diplomat, according to a cable released by WikiLeaks.
- Overfishing has severely damaged Haiti’s coral reefs, The New York Times reports.
- Women and girls in Haiti face gaps in access to medical care that is leading to preventable maternal and infant deaths, according to a new report form Human Rights Watch.
- Former police officer David González Pérez was found guilty of providing security to drug dealers in Puerto Rico.
- Tensions are growing between Haitian refugees and Dominicans.
- Panama’s finance minister resigned after a split in President Ricardo Martinelli’s ruling coalition, deepening a political crisis in the Central American nation.
- The U.S. medical experiments in Guatemala on STDs during the 1940s might have infected 2,500 people, says the president of the Medical Association of Guatemala.
- Exports for Costa Rican coffee declined 22 percent in August, according to data from the Costa Rican Coffee Institute.
- Honduran President Porfirio Lobo banned the use of cellphones in his cabinet, saying it was “a lack of courtesy” that the phones are ringing and beeping.
- Joran Van Der Sloot was formally charged Thursday by Peruvian authorities in the death of Stephany Flores, and prosecutors are asking that he be sentenced to 30 years.
- Ecuador’s Foreign Relations Minister said that talks between Ecuador and the U.S. intended to restore relations are advancing well.
- Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos appointed a new defense minster earlier this week after the previous minister resigned after months of rumors.
- The Uruguayan government announced a plan to relocate half of the 20,000 people living in the nation’s slums, while regularizing the neighborhoods of the other half through a series of reforms.
- Wildfires in Brazil’s Amazonas state have more than doubled this year since the June dry season, burning 930 square miles of land.
- An eleven-year old Argentinean girl who went missing on August 22 and inspired a national plea for her return was found murdered on Wednesday.
Image: Gobierno Federal @ Flickr.