Today in Latin America
Top Story — A rebel leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) pledged to release six captive Colombian military and police officers and asked for a constitutional change to swap the hostages for jailed guerillas. In a video released on Wednesday, FARC secretariat member Iván Márquez said that “prisoner of war swaps should become a constitutional norm”, and characterized his proposal as “an act of peace”. The FARC has held the six prisoners for over a decade, and Márquez said that they would be released in the coming weeks. Some of the guerrillas Márquez asked to be released by the Colombian government have been extradited to the U.S. to serve their sentences. The government under Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has rejected negotiations with the FARC under such terms.
Read more from the Chicago Tribune.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- A heart that was dropped on the ground before being transplanted into a 28-year old Mexican patient was successfully transplanted.
- Former Green beret Jonathan “Jack” Idema, convicted of torturing terrorism suspects in Afghanistan, died of AIDS in Mexico.
- U.S. presidential candidate Newt Gingrich pulled a Spanish-language ad he ran against opponent Mitt Romney in which he accused Romney of being “anti-immigrant”.
- Cuban athletes Yisel Rodriguez and Yezenia Gallardo, who went missing during their team’s final Olympic qualifying game in Canada, are seeking asylum in the U.S.
- Dominican radio journalist Jhonny Alberto Salazar was convicted of libel, fined and sentenced to six months in jail.
- Vatican officials said Pope Benedict XVI would donate a golden rose to Cuba’s patron saint, Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, to mark his upcoming March visit.
- The International Monetary Fund concluded a visit to Jamaica on Wednesday after a series of 5-day talks.
- Guatemala barred four suspected drug traffickers from leaving the country after the U.S Treasury Department accused them of involvement in a drug trafficking ring.
- Satellite imaging captured a new vent opening in on one of Costa Rica’s active volcanoes.
- Nicaragua’s National Assembly wants to strengthen the prevention of crime in children and adolescents, rather than increase prison sentences.
- Venezuela announced Wednesday that it has begun its formal withdrawal from the World Bank’s international arbitration body.
- Venezuelan Attorney General Carlos Escarra died Wednesday of a heart attack.
- Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’s 14 year-old daughter angered Venezuelans by posting a photo of herself fanning out a wad of U.S. dollars.
- Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner confirmed Wednesday that she has returned to work following her thyroid surgery.
- Air travel in Brazil has nearly rose 194 percent in the last 10 years, with demand for flights rising 16 percent in the last year alone.
- Paraguayan Interior Minister and Secretary of State Carlos Filizzola denied that he accused the Sin Tierras Movement of using firearms.
Image: Globovisión @ Flickr.