Today in Latin America
Top Story — Former Guatemalan military dictator Efraín Ríos Montt was ordered Saturday to appear in court this Thursday for an investigation of genocide committed during his 1982-83 rule. Ríos Montt, elected to Congress in 2000, was exempt from prosecution while in office, but his term and legal immunity from prosecution expired this month. For years, human rights groups and survivors of state terror have attempted to bring Ríos Montt before a judge to answer for a scorched-earth campaign directed largely against indigenous villagers in the Mayan highlands during Guatemala’s civil war, in which an estimated 200,000 Guatemalans were killed or disappeared between 1960 and 1996. Ríos Montt has denied that he ordered massacres, and his lawyer, Gonzalo Rodríguez Gálvez, said in a newspaper interview that Rios Montt should not be found responsible because “he was never on the battlefield”. Judge Carol Flores will decide after Thursday’s court appearance whether to pursue genocide charges against the former dictator.
Read more from the New York Times.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Gunmen killed thirteen people, including eight people attending a funeral for a shooting victim, in Mexico’s southern Guerrero state over the weekend.
- The family of a 20 year-old Honduran man who was not granted asylum in the U.S. and killed by gangs a year later is petitioning for posthumous asylum.
- Venezuelans in Miami protested the closing of their consulate on Friday after the U.S. expelled Venezuelan consul general Livia Acosta.
- A magnitude 6.2 earthquake hit off the coast of southern Mexico on Saturday but no injuries were reported.
- Haitian authorities will decide this month if former dictator Jean Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier will go to trial for crimes including human rights abuses and corruption.
- Cuban opposition group the “Ladies in White” on Sunday accused the government of murdering 31 year-old dissident Wilman Villar Mendoza, who died last week after going on a hunger strike.
- A couple was charged in Jamaica on Sunday of murdering and concealing the body of their two year-old son in a suitcase.
- Assailants who opened fire on a nightclub in Guatemala on Saturday killed at least 8 people and injured at least 20 more.
- Family and friends paid their respects on Friday to Costa Rican activist Abelardo Araya, a champion of LGBT rights who was found dead of a heart attack on Thursday.
- Workers on strike at the Panama Canal expansion project agreed to resume work Monday after the minimum wage on the project was raised by 13 percent.
- Human Rights Watch reported Sunday that the U.S. is not enforcing human rights conditions required for U.S. aid to Colombia.
- Peruvian President Ollanta Humala signed a new law banning trips abroad for convicted terrorists on parole after American citizen Lori Berenson took a 17-day holiday trip to New York.
- Bolivia and Brazil on Friday signed an accord with the U.S. to coordinate control of coca plant cultivation, including implementing a coca tracking system.
- Ecuador is continuing its international campaign to preserve Yasuni National Park.
- Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said Sunday that the U.S. was at fault for the closing of the Venezuelan consulate in Miami.
- Approximately 2,000 Brazilian riot police raided the Pinheirinho settlement in São José dos Campos, São Paulo state to expel some 6,000 landless settlers who had been there 8 years.
- The refusal of a Chilean maid to get on a bus rather than walk six blocks through her employer’s upscale neighborhood has highlighted class discrimination in Chile.
- Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman rejected comments by British Foreign Secretary William Hague regarding the disputed Falkland Islands but said Argentina was not looking to impose a blockade there.
Image: guillermogg @ Flickr.