Today in Latin America
Top Story — Venezuelan authorities announced that ailing Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez helped mediate the release of two American hikers who were imprisoned in Iran for over two years. The two U.S. hikers, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, had been detained along with fellow hiker Sarah Shourd in July of 2009 after crossing into Iran from the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Iranian authorities claimed that the three were U.S. spies and in August of this year Bauer and Fattal were sentenced to three years in prison for illegal entry to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Shourd was released in 2010 on humanitarian grounds due to her declining health. Yesterday the two men were released into the custody of either Swiss diplomats or an Omani delegation after paying $500,000 bail. Venezuela’s Foreign Vice-Minister for the Middle East Temir Porras posted on his Twitter account that Chávez was involved in securing the release of the two hikers. “U.S. young people Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal have been freed by Iran thanks to the mediation of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez,” he wrote.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- Check out our continuing coverage this week of the United Nations General Assembly.
- Mexican President Felipe Calderón called on the U.S. government to reduce weapon sales to Mexico and domestic demand for illegal drugs, in a talk before business leaders at the Waldorf-Astoria on Monday. Mari Hayman has more.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Authorities in Mexico dismissed terrorism and sabotage charges against the two so-called “Twitter terrorists” in the port city of Veracruz.
- Three gunmen were killed by police during a shootout at a restaurant in a wealthy neighborhood in Mexico City.
- Hurricane Hillary picked up strength off the coast of southwestern Mexico and could become a could become Category 3 storm.
- The anti-immigration group NumbersUSA aired an ad during Thursday’s GOP debate aimed at convincing viewers legal immigration needs to be restrained.
- Protesters aligned with former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier disrupted Thursday an Amnesty International news conference about abuses during his regime.
- In a seven-page letter, captured Jamaican drug lord asked a U.S. federal judge in New York City for leniency as he faces up to 23 years when he sentenced in December.
- The F.B.I. announced Thursday that a federal grand jury indicted 47 people for drug trafficking in the municipality of Corozal, Puerto Rico.
- Authorities in Cuba announced Thursday that a 62-year old woman plans to swim from Cuba to Florida after falling short of her goal last month.
- Baseball player Manny Ramírez will not be able to play in the Dominican Republic’s winter league because he’s still on Major League Baseball’s inactive list and must first receive permission from commissioner Bud Selig’s office.
- A judge in Guatemala rescheduled a hearing to decide if a former army general will stand trial for a massacre of indigenous people during the country’s civil war.
- A rally in Seattle in support of a U.S. man jailed in Nicaragua on drug trafficking charges is scheduled to coincide with President Barack Obama’s visit to the city.
- A small craft beer company won a silver medal at the Copa Cervezas de América in Chile earlier this month.
- A blockade set up by protesters at the Canada-based Pacific Rubiales oil company in Colombia has been cleared and operations have restarted.
- Three children have died and 89 others were poisoned in Peru by food donated for a nutrition program that became contaminated with pesticides.
- The Brazilian government said that the country’s unemployment rate remained stable at six percent in August, the same as the previous month.
- Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner said she was open to Iran’s request for dialogue about the bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish center in 1994.
- Chilean President Sebastián Piñera said that while he sympathized with Greece’s financial problems, his own government needed to maintain fiscal discipline.
- A soccer match in Uruguay was canceled after a linesman was struck by an object thrown from the crowd.
Image:chavezcandanga @ Flickr.