Today in Latin America
Top Story — The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) announced on its website Sunday that it would no longer engage in ransom kidnappings to fund rebel activities in Colombia. The group also said it would release ten remaining hostages, some of whom have been held since the 1990s. The FARC’s announcement was received cautiously by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, who welcomed the statement but said that it did not go far enough in promising an end to violence and attacks. The announcement may be an indication that the FARC is looking to begin negotiations with the Colombian government after nearly five decades of conflict. However, the group also accused the government of prolonging the war through increased military spending and did not say that it would end hostilities.
Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Cruise ship passengers on an overland excursion through the jungle near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico were robbed at gunpoint by hooded men, but were reportedly not hurt.
- Some 300 U.S. Catholic pilgrims are expected to travel from Florida to Cuba for the visit of Pope Benedict XVI in March.
- Haitian Prime Minister Garry Conille resigned on Friday, saying he had reached an “impasse” with Haitian President Michel Martelly.
- The U.S. apprehended 15 Cuban migrants, one of whom died while attempting to swim ashore to an island off the coast of Puerto Rico.
- Police in Puerto Rico don’t know the origin of a military torpedo that was dropped off at an aluminum recycling center on the island on Friday.
- Three inmates were found dead Saturday at El Salvador’s Chalatenango prison and a fourth inmate was missing, causing authorities to declare a 10-day state of emergency at the prison.
- Honduran prisoner Marco Antonio Bonilla, pardoned by Honduran President Porfirio Lobo for freeing fellow inmates from a fire, may not be freed due to a Supreme Court ruling that his crimes were too serious to permit a pardon.
- Shootouts in the town of Coloncito, Venezuela killed at least four people on Saturday, and two bystanders were also shot, but survived.
- Colombian police reportedly captured 34 alleged drug traffickers with ties to Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel.
- Increased economic activity and tourism has caused and increase in the number of sightings of the “uncontacted” Mashco-Piro tribe of Peru.
- Two men were killed in a fire Saturday at Brazil’s Commandante Ferraz research station in Antarctica, and 44 others were evacuated by helicopter.
- The driver of the train that crashed in Buenos Aires on Wednesday blamed the accident that killed 51 people on faulty breaks.
- Chile’s next presidential race may hinge on Chilean President Sebastián Piñera’s rebuilding efforts after the February 2010 quake that ravaged the country.
- The Paraguayan government estimates that 60 percent of the country’s crops could be lost this year due to a severe drought.
Image: xmascarol @ Flickr.