Today in Latin America
Top Story — Cuba released three prisoners who were arrested at a protest and held for 52 days without charges, Amnesty International said Monday. According to the human rights organization, Ivonne Malleza Galano, Ignacio Martínez Montejo and Isabel Haydee Alvarez were arrested on November 30 and set free on January 20, just hours after Amnesty International listed them as prisoners of conscience. During a protest, Malleza and Martínez had reportedly been holding a banner that read “Stop hunger, misery and poverty in Cuba”, and Alvarez reportedly objected when the other two protesters were detained. On Monday, Cuban state media reacted to international criticism of the country’s human rights record in an editorial, denying that Wilman Villar, a 31 year-old inmate who died of an apparent hunger strike on January 19, was a true political prisoner. According to the Cuban government, Villar had been imprisoned for beating his wife and had received adequate medical care.
Read more from the Washington Post.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- A Democratic lawmaker in Arizona said he is introducing legislation to repeal the state’s controversial immigration law.
- Mexican soldiers fatally shot a top aide to Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, the leader of the Sinaloa cartel.
- Prosecutors in Mexico allege that drug traffickers are behind an illegal adoption ring involving couples from Ireland.
- The United Nations is investigating reports of two new cases of abuse and sexual exploitation of children in Haiti.
- The northern part of the Dominican Republic was hit Monday by a Magnitude 5.1 earthquake, but there were not immediate reports of deaths or damage.
- Two female soccer players from Cuba failed to appear for a final Olympic qualifying game against Haiti in Canada, sparking suspicion that they defected.
- Thousands of Guatemalans climbed a dormant volcano over the weekend to protest domestic violence in the country.
- Nicaragua’s Flor de Caña distillery is pushing to bring its rum to the rest of the world after struggling under the Sandinista governments of the past.
- The Colombian army has launched a new operation, “Sword of Honor” to combat the FARC in a joint effort of the National Police, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Agriculture, public prosecutors and the Armed Forces.
- A Spanish newspaper claimed Monday that Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’s cancer has spread, but the Venezuelan government denied the rumors.
- Joran van der Sloot will appeal a 28-year sentence for the murder of Peruvian national Stephany Flores in May 2010.
- An advisor to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff “destroyed years of good relations” between the two countries. She did not invite the Iranian president to Brazil during his Latin America tour.
- Drought in Argentina has raised concerns about the world’s food supplies due to a substantial loss of corn and soy crops.
- The Chilean government announced that former Education Minister Felipe Bulnes will become Chile’s new ambassador to the U.S.
Image: STML @ Flickr.