Today in Latin America
Top Story — The Cuban government released new rules governing real estate on Thursday, which will allow citizens and permanent residents to buy and sell homes and apartments, the Cuban state press reported Thursday. The decision marks a major turning point for the Cuban Revolution, which has embraced an increasingly liberalized economic model since Raúl Castro took over in 2008. “To say that it’s huge is an understatement,” said Pedro Freyre, an expert in Cuban-American legal relations who teaches at Columbia Law School. In recent weeks, the Cuban government also once again permitted the direct sale of cars.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Barret Brown, of Texas, says he will support Anonymous in its fight against the Zetas, a Mexican drug cartel.
- Ricardo Guzmán Romer, a Mexican mayor campaigning for the president’s sister in a gubernatorial race, was fatally shot in the state of Michoacán on Wednesday.
- Mexican authorities say gunmen have killed five members of a family in a mountainous area in the state of Sinaloa.
- Texas Gov. and GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry proposed the federal government should extend work visas allowing undocumented immigrants to move freely between the United States and their home countries, though he continued to say he opposes a path to citizenship.
- Puerto Rico has reached an agreement with the U.S. government to end a 12-year legal battle to improve the island’s health system for the mentally disabled.
- Three Cuban dissidents jailed in a 2003 crackdown and imprisoned until their exile last year to Spain brought their story to Capitol Hill Thursday.
- Haitian President Michel Martelly returned to Haiti Thursday after doctors in Miami operated on his left shoulder.
- Honduran authorities arrested 176 police officers from the same unit for alleged links to organized crime gangs, the Honduran Security Ministry said Thursday.
- The New York Times reports on Nicaragua’s presidential elections, slated for Sunday.
- Retired general Otto Pérez is the strong favorite to win Guatemala’s presidential election Sunday, Reuters reports.
- Venezuelan authorities continued to negotiate for the release of two police officers being held hostage by inmates following a deadly prison riot in Tachira.
- Colombian cement maker Cementos Argos SA denied that it had purchased land in Montes de María through illegal sales after local landlowners were displaced by violence.
- Peru’s president of the National Society of Mining, Petroleum & Energy said that cheaper labor and electricity costs will make Peruvian mining competitive with Chile despite higher taxes.
- U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey urged President Barack Obama to declassify secret files on the 1976-1983 Argentine military dictatorship in which an estimated 30,000 people were killed. Obama and Argentine President Cristina Fernández will meet in France on Friday.
- According to the UN Development Program, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay have the highest human development indexes in Latin America.
- Witnesses and survivors of a bus-train collision in which six girls and two adults died on Wednesday say that the driver was wearing headphones.
- Chilean miner Edison Peña will compete for the second time in the ING New York City Marathon on Sunday.
Image: Stewartcutler @ Flickr.