Today in Latin America
Top Story — Former Guatemalan military man Otto Pérez Molina led the country’s presidential race late Sunday evening. Molina, a former general with a questionable human rights record and known for his tough stance toward violent crime in his country, had the support of as many as 48 percent of voters, according to late polls. Businessmen Manuel Baldizón with 18 percent and Eduardo Suger with 10 percent of the vote followed Molina in the polls. Pérez Molina needs over 50 of the vote to win outright and avoid a November runoff. The winner, who replaces current President Álvaro Colom, takes office in January. Pérez Molina narrowly lost to Colom in the 2007 election, which was plagued by a wave of violence that left over 50 candidates, party activists and their family members dead. If he were to win, Pérez Molina would be the first former member of the military to be president since the return of Democracy in 1986, after the military dictatorships of the 1970s and 1980s.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- Ten years after Sept. 11, New Jersey’s Peruvian community remembers Kenneth Lira, an engineer who died in the attack on the World Trade Center towers. Nathan Vickers reports.
- Arturo López Levy looks at what Defense Minister Julio Casas’ death means for the future of Cuba’s armed forces.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- The mayor of the Mexican city of Monterrey refused Saturday to step down from his post after President Felipe Calderón’s government asked for his resignation amid questions over his brother’s ties to the gambling industry.
- Seven of 10 oil workers who went missing in the Gulf of Mexico were found alive Sunday, according to Mexico’s state oil company.
- Leading Cuban human rights worker Elizardo Sánchez said two former political prisoners were detained on Friday near the eastern city of Santiago.
- The Social Security Administration’s inspector general is investigating a case of potentially widespread disability fraud in Puerto Rico, The Wall Street Journal reports.
- Honduran Security Minister Óscar Alvarez resigned from his post, claiming he didn’t have the economic support to fight the country’s widespread drug violence.
- An Israeli man was arrested in Costa Rica’s Daniel Oduber international airport carrying around 20,000 ecstasy tablets.
- Cuban genetic and disability experts arrived in Nicaragua to study the social programs on President Daniel Ortega’s government.
- A navy patrol boat in Bolivia discovered a lone survivor of the plane crash last Tuesday that was thought to have killed all nine people aboard.
- Ecuadorean voters approved a referendum that calls on all casinos in the country to shut down within six months.
- Exploding fireworks stored illegally in a home in Venezuela killed six people and injured 13 on Thursday.
- A Peruvian family claiming that it owns Macchu Picchu is appealing to UNESCO for compensation from the State.
- Thousands of Chileans marched through downtown Santiago to commemorate the 38th anniversary of the coup by Augusto Pinochet, whose 17-year dictatorship caused at least 3,225 deaths. The initially peaceful march ended when some demonstrators clashed with police, who fired on the crowd with water cannons and tear gas.
- Former Interior Minister of Paraguay Sabino Montanaro, known as the “cruel right hand” of late dictator Alfredo Stroessner, died Saturday at age 89.
- Argentina and Brazil qualified to represent South America in basketball at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
- Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona said Sunday in Dubai that he couldn’t bring himself to watch the Argentine national team compete after he was fired as head coach in 2010.
Image: Surizar @ Flickr.