Today in Latin America
Top Story — Colombia’s ELN guerrillas on Tuesday released 11 oil workers that had been kidnapped at the end of last month, according to the International Red Cross. The hostages were abducted on February 28 in Colombia’s northeastern Arauca province while they were reportedly in a bus on their way to the $4.2 billion Bicentennial oil pipeline, which transports oil to Colombia’s Caribbean coast. At first, it was not clear who had taken the oil workers, whose nationalities and identities were not revealed by the Red Cross. A Red Cross spokesperson said that the release “was carried out at the direct request of the armed group and upon request of the families.” Also on Tuesday, Colombian police rescued coffee farmer and cattle rancher Gabriel Posada, a cousin of former Colombian president Álvaro Uribe, in Antioquia province. Posada, who had been kidnapped earlier that day, was injured during the rescue attempt and taken to a hospital in Medellín.
Read more from Reuters.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- General Douglas Fraser, head of U.S. Southern Command, said that the U.S. military is concerned about “geopolitical turbulence” in Latin America, particularly in Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia and Haiti.
- Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) leaders criticized an ad featuring a fake poster suggesting that the PRI has experience in negotiating with drug traffickers.
- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that Fernando Domínguez-Valivia of Mexico was the sixth immigrant to die in federal immigration custody since October.
- For the third year in a row, the state of Texas advised college students not to travel to Mexico for spring break on Tuesday.
- The European Union has allocated $95.8 million for development programs in the Dominican Republic, largely along the border with neighboring Haiti.
- New York rabbi Arthur Schneier met with U.S. contractor Alan Gross, who is currently serving a 15-year sentence in Cuba for crimes against the state.
- Britain’s Prince Harry joined Jamaican track superstar Usain Bolt for a mock race at a track in Kingston on Tuesday.
- U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden declared that there was no possibility that the U.S. would support drug legalization in Central America during his two-day visit to Mexico and Honduras.
- Voters in Belize voting in national elections Wednesday are expected to give the ruling United Democratic Party a second term.
- Scientists have discovered the fossils of tiny prehistoric camel-like animals the Las Cascadas paleontological site in Panama.
- Venezuela’s Supreme Court upheld a $2 million fine against broadcaster Globovisión for its coverage of a prison riot last year.
- Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said his recovery from cancer surgery in Cuba was progressing smoothly.
- Brazil’s revised Forest Code is expected to face a final vote this week or next, potentially weakening protections for the Amazon Rainforest.
- Officials announced that Uruguayan President José Mujica on March 21 will publicly issue a government apology for the 1973-1985 dictatorship in which hundreds of Uruguayans were killed and thousands tortured.
- The San Esteban Mining Company, which owned the mine where 33 miners were trapped for 69 days in 2010, will contribute $5 million towards the cost of their rescue.
- A strike by Argentine dockworkers has left grain shipments sitting idle in Argentina’s ports in a work stoppage that is expected to continue.
Image: KyleEJohnson @ Flickr.