Today in Latin America
Top Story — The Mexican navy arrested an alleged leader of the Zetas drug cartel in the Gulf coast port city of Veracruz. Carlos “The Bam Bam” Pitalua, who is tied to the dumping of eight bodies in a rural town a week ago, was apprehended along with five other men on Tuesday — one of whom is suspected of helping break 32 inmates out of three Veracruz prisons in a simultaneous escape. Along with the arrest of Pitalua, prosecutors announced Wednesday they had arrested Adrian Ramirez, alias “The Mushroom,” who is the alleged leader of the Cartel del Centro. The gang, believed to be one of the spin-off groups from the Beltrán Leyva cartel, has been linked to at least 26 killings in the central state of Mexico and operated mainly in Mexico City suburbs. Mexico’s National Public Safety System also announced that around one-third of the country’s 63,436 low-level police officers tested so far have failed background and security checks and that almost one-quarter of the police chiefs and top commanders tested have also failed.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- How and when to apply Alabama’s tough new immigration law has caused uncertainty among courts and police.
- A man arrested in Texas on drug and immigration charges is believed to be the the nephew of the former boss of Mexico’s Gulf cartel.
- The Caribbean coast in Mexico braced for a run-in with Hurricane Rina as it made its way toward landfall on Wednesday.
- Eleven individuals and environmental groups will sue the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to block construction of a natural gas pipeline in Puerto Rico.
- The U.S. Border Patrol detained 9 people reportedly from Cuba, who landed in South Florida after an 11-day journey by raft.
- The former president of Terra Telecommunications, Joel Esquenazi, received a 15-year jail sentence for his role in a scheme to bribe officials at Haiti’s state telecom company, Teleco.
- The Honduran security minister said that police officers have been implicated in the recent killing of the son of the president of the National Autonomous University of Honduras.
- Former Guatemalan President Óscar Humberto Mejía Victores was ordered to be taken to a military hospital for examinations to determine if he is fit to face trial on charges of crimes against humanity.
- Heavy rains in the country will force El Salvador to lose 89,978 bags of coffee production and losses may reach 239,000 bags because of high winds and road damage.
- Authorities said that a Nicaraguan fishing boat that went missing during Hurricane Rina has been found with all 29 people on board “safe and sound.”
- Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez announced Wednesday that he would not recognize Libya’s new government.
- Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said that he could support the legalization of marijuana if other countries took the lead.
- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Peruvian President of the Council of Ministers Salomon Lerner Ghitis at the State Department.
- A U.S. Federal Court judge dismissed the claim of a Seattle-based sea salvage company that it is entitled to a portion of the treasure it discovered on a Spanish galleon sunk off the coast of Colombia 300 years ago.
- Uruguay’s House of Deputies on Wednesday began debate on a measure that would eliminate the statute of limitation for crimes against humanity committed during the country’s 1973-1985 military dictatorship and overturn a 1986 amnesty law. The measure was approved by the Senate on Tuesday.
- Argentina sentenced to life in prison 12 military and police officials who committed crimes during the country’s 1976-1983 dictatorship.
- Brazilian Sports Minister Orlando Silva resigned Wednesday amidst corruption charges.
- Chilean officials evacuated residents living near the Hudson Volcano on Wednesday, which is showing new signs of activity. Its last eruption was in 1991.
Image: Esparta @ Flickr.