Today in Latin America
Top Story — Conservative Arizona State Sen. Russell Pearce lost a recall election Tuesday evening, with Republican challenger Jerry Lewis taking 54 percent of the votes. The recall drive in Maricopa County serves to some degree as a referendum on Peace’s aggressive stance on immigration. As a state senator for the last 10 years, Pearce has pushed for laws to crack down on illegal immigration, and was catapulted to the national political stage when he spearheaded the passage of SB 1070 — a law that would give police greater authority to demand proof of legal residence from people they stop, among other provisions. The law was not fully implemented, due to a legal challenge from the Justice Department. Lewis, who favors a more moderate line on immigration, was supported by immigrant rights activists in the recall election as an alternative to Pearce.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Sixteen Latin American countries plant to join a federal lawsuit against a new anti-illegal immigration law in South Carolina, citing concerns over their citizens’ safety.
- Mothers of Central American migrants who have gone missing in Mexico are traveling the country in search of their lost children.
- Attorney General Eric Holder said before the Senate Judiciary Committee that the tactics used in Operation Fast and Furious that allowed guns to get smuggled across the Mexican border should never be used again.
- Raul Castro has named his close confidante Leopoldo Cintra Frias, 70, as Cuba’s new defense minister.
- A Domincan court acquitted Baltimore Orioles pitcher Alfredo Simon of charges for the involuntary murder of a man in his hometown of Luperon.
- Roberta Jackson, the State Department official who oversees the U.S.-Cuba relationship, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday.
- The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, a human rights group, said Tuesday it filed claims with the United Nations to pay damages to over 5,000 Haitian victims of cholera and their families.
- Puerto Rico’s justice secretary said Tuesday he has opened a criminal investigation into the drowning deaths of eight prisoners.
- Newly reelected Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said Tuesday he planned to continue pushing the same mix of Christianity, socialism and free enterprise that marked his most recent administration.
- Officials say a drug trafficker wanted for extradition to the United States has been captured outside Guatemala City by U.S. and Guatemalan authorities.
- Bolivian President Evo Morales said that U.S. drug enforcement officials were not welcome in Bolivia despite the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
- At least 44 people have now been confirmed dead in Colombia’s mudslides, while at least 19 remain missing.
- Lima Mayor Susana Villarán said that she would try to fix the city’s major transit problems, which include unregulated taxis, pollution-causing buses, and transportation mismanagement and corruption.
- Venezuelan television broadcaster Globovisión on Monday appealed a fine it had been ordered to pay by the Venezuelan government.
- Brazilian police forcibly removed and arrested about 70 people who have been occupying a building at the University of São Paulo since November 1 to protest police presence on campus.
- FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke spoke to Brazilian lawmakers on Tuesday, urging them to adopt a controversial law that would help regulate details of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
- Brazil may propose its own state-owned renewable energy company focusing on solar power and ethanol.
Image: Gage Skidmore @ Flickr.