Today in Latin America
Top Story — Former Argentine President Carlos Menem was acquitted Tuesday of illegally exporting arms to Ecuador and Croatia between 1991 and 1995. Menem, who headed the Southern Cone nation from 1989 to 1999 and is now a senator, faced a sentence of up to 12 years in prison if convicted of authorizing a 6,500-ton shipment of weapons to Croatia and Ecuador via Panama and Venezuela. Along with Menem, 17 other other defendants — including former ministers, retired military members and arms makers — were also cleared of charges. In the past, Menem admitted to signing the decrees, but said the transactions were legal because the weapons were being sent to peaceful countries. Prosecutors and those who argued for convictions were disappointed with the courts ruling. “I have charged 18 people, and every one of them was let off,” said prosecutor Mariano Borinsky. “But my team is going to keep working. We will appeal this ruling.”
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
- Mexico’s foreign affairs minister hopes that the United States will speed up the disbursement of aid to fight against drug gangs and put back on track a $1.4 billion program.
- Marines in Mexico recaptured one of the Gulf Cartel’s top leaders who had escaped from prison nine years ago.
- Utah’s attorney general asked a U.S. federal judge to delay an injunction hearing on the state’s stringent new immigration law.
- Former Gov. of New Mexico Bill Richardson said Tuesday he will leave Cuba without having met with jailed U.S. contractor Alan Gross.
- Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide will make his first public appearance since returning to Haiti, one of his allies said Tuesday.
- A report on the U.S. medical research in Guatemala in the 1940s released Tuesday called the syphilis experiments “unconscionable” violations of ethics.
- The head of the Panama Canal Authority thinks that a 5o-foot depth in the canal will be the norm at the end of a $5.25 billion expansion plan in 2014.
- A woman in Costa Rica was reunited with her son, who was kidnapped in 1999 when he was five years old, thanks to a Facebook message.
- Venezuela’s election board announced Tuesday that it has moved the 2012 presidential election date forward to October 7 from the usual December timeframe.
- A Colombian tour company offering visitors a Pablo Escobar-themed tour of Medellin has drawn criticism.
- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is expected to begin his fourth round of chemotherapy soon and hopes it will be his last round.
- Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is expected to sign a law in the coming weeks that will establish a Truth Commission to investigate torture and disappearance during the country’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship.
- Brazil’s 2010 census shows that at least 43,000 children under 14 are married despite laws prohibiting it.