Today in Latin America
Top Story — Colombian Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón announced Wednesday that at least eleven oil workers remained missing in northeastern Colombia after being kidnapped by an unidentified armed group. The men worked on the $4.2 billion Oleoducto Bicentario and were reportedly abducted in the province of Arauca on Tuesday, two days after the country’s oldest guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, announced that it would halt ransom kidnappings. Pinzón said the military did not know whether the FARC was involved in the kidnapping of the eleven workers, or whether they had been taken by criminal gangs or drug cartels. Earlier on Wednesday, Pinzón had said that the oil workers had been freed, but he later corrected his statement and acknowledged that they were still missing.
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Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- A U.S. federal judge blocked a portion of Arizona’s immigration law on Wednesday that prevented day laborers from blocking traffic to reduce immigration.
- Four out of ten Mexican polled by the said that migrants’ rights are not respected in Mexico.
- Supporters of former Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide protested on the eighth anniversary of Aristide’s ouster, just two days after it was reported that he would be investigated on criminal charges.
- Angela Castro, eldest sister of Cuban leaders Fidel and Raúl, passed away in Havana at the age of 88. She is the first of the seven Castro siblings to die.
- Jamaican officials are cracking down on livestock thieves by asking all farmers to register with the government.
- American bachata singer Jaime Vargas was sentenced to 6 years in the Dominican Republic for smuggling heroin in his stomach.
- Relatives of inmates killed February 14 in a devastating prison fire marched through Tegucigalpa to the Supreme Court building on Wednesday to demand the remains of the dead.
- Guatemala ruled Tuesday to extradite Juan “Chamale” Ortiz-Lopez, an alleged drug trafficker, to the U.S.
- Ten people died Tuesday when a Guatemalan Air Force helicopter crashed as it was attempting to help three people injured in another helicopter accident.
- Panama is hoping to field a bobsled team for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
- The head of Petróleos de Venezuela said Venezuela was continuing to ship diesel fuel to Syria despite efforts by the U.S. and other countries to isolate the Syrian government.
- Peruvian President Ollanta Humala and Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa met in Chiclaya, Peru on Wednesday for a binational cabinet meeting.
- Ecuadoran historian Tamara Estupinan may have located the tomb of Atahualpa, the last ruler of the Inca Empire.
- Britain summoned Argentine charge d’affaires Osvaldo Marsico to the Foreign Office to discuss a call issued by Argentine Industry Minister Debora Giorgi to begin boycotting British imports.
- A Brazilian judge denied a request last Friday by prosecutors to halt Chevron and Transocean Ltd.’s operations in Brazil.
- National law enforcement officers in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Spain worked with Interpol to arrest 25 suspected “Anonymous” hackers that allegedly planned cyberattacks across the world.
Image: KyleEJohnson @ Flickr.