Today in Latin America
Top Story — A senior official from the Roman Catholic Church announced Thursday that Pope Benedict XVI is planning a visit to Cuba this coming spring. The exact date of the pontiff’s visit will be announced in Rome on Monday, but his visit will coincide with the 400th anniversary of the discovery of an image of the Virgin of Caridad de Cobre, Cuba’s patron saint. Pope Benedict XVI, who is 84, is planning to visit both Cuba and Mexico in 2012 in what will be his second trip to Latin America after his 2007 visit to Brazil. The last time a pope visited Cuba was in 1998, when Pope John Paul II visited the island nation after decades of tension between the church and Fidel Castro’s government.
Read more from the AP.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- The body of 73 year-old Mexican peasant activist Trinidad de la Cruz, who was kidnapped Tuesday, was found in Michoacán on Wednesday.
- U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said he had no intention of resigning despite the high-profile failure of the “Fast and Furious” gun-smuggling sting operation, which allowed arms to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.
- After businessmen from Honda and Mercedes-Benz were stopped by police, Alabama’s attorney general said he may repeal some of the stricter parts of the state’s controversial new immigration law.
- The Obama Administration will review deportation cases in Colorado and Maryland to determine which immigrants represent security threats and whose deportations should be a higher priority.
- Hundreds protested in front of the Dominican Republic’s Supreme Court on Thursday against the practice of annulling the birth certificates of Dominicans of Haitian descent.
- A report by the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry said that no link had been established between U.S. military activity on Vieques Island and a higher rate of cancer than in nearby Puerto Rico, but Vieques residents are skeptical.
- Miami Marlins pitcher Leo Nuñez was arrested and immediately released Thursday after authorities in the Dominican Republic said he would not face charges for signing professional baseball documents with a false ID.
- Panama’s attorney general arrived in Paris Thursday to prepare for the transfer of former Dictator Manuel Noriega back to Panama, where he will face jail time.
- El Salvador’s Ministry of Defense said that its military has grown 57 percent since Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes took office in 2009.
- The Honduran Security Ministry said that it had arrested seven people attempting to smuggle a drug trafficker out of prison Thursday.
- Luis von Ahn, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University originally from Guatemala, is spearheading a project to translate Internet content into all of the world’s major languages.
- FARC leader Timoleon Jimenez proposed Thursday that the Colombian government free captured FARC rebels in exchange for hostages still held by the guerrillas.
- The Bolivian Justice Ministry returned the remains of three guerrillas killed 41 years ago to their families after their bodies were discovered in the mountains in 2009.
- Nine police officers and five civilians in Quito, Ecuador were injured when a munitions warehouse exploded Thursday.
- The group Peruvians Without Water is pioneering the use of “fog traps” to catch fog in the mountains outside Lima and allow it to condense into water.
- Brazil’s trade and industry minister may be next in line to resign over corruption allegations after the labor minister quit Sunday.
- The UN Special Rapporteur on indigenous rights concluded his 11-day visit to Argentina, stating that the country needs to strengthen protections for indigenous groups and their land.
- Argentine Economy Minister Amadou Bodou, who will soon be vice-president, wants to get rid of credit rating agencies, saying they are a source of the country’s financial problems.
Image: New Perspective/Nueva Perspectiva @ Flickr.