Today in Latin America
Top Story — At least three protesters were killed by gunfire Wednesday in Peru’s Amazon basin as informer gold miners demonstrated against government regulations on the illegal mining sector. Some 12,500 miners have attempted to seize public buildings in Puerto Maldonado, the capital of the Madre de Dios region of Peru and a mining boomtown at the confluence of two major rivers, in an effort to protest the loss of their livelihood due to new environmental regulations. A spokesman for Peru’s Interior Ministry said it was not yet known whether police had fired on a crowd of protesters, who fought tear gas with clubs and rocks as they attempted to seize an airport and bus station. Police reinforcements of about 500 troops arrived in the afternoon and reportedly made 62 arrests, according to the Interior Ministry. The informal miners, many of whom come from the impoverished Andean highlands, are reportedly contaminating the rainforest with mercury that is used in the mining process.
Read more from the Washington Post.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- The UN said that Mexican authorities have failed to properly investigate forced disappearances in the past five years.
- U.S. immigration officer Melissa Wingerd presented Dr. Gabriel Gonzales-Portillo of Peru with his U.S. naturalization certificate in a ceremony after the doctor saved her life with emergency brain surgery in Tampa.
- Dissidents smuggled out ten videos showcasing filthy conditions and food at Cuba’s Combinado del Este prison in Havana.
- Two Pakistani police officers serving as UN peacekeepers in Haiti were sentenced to a year in prison and hard labor for sexual abuse and exploitation.
- Puerto Rico’s GOP primary will be held Sunday, with 20 delegates at stake.
- U.S. GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum said during a visit to Puerto Rico that the island should adopt English as its official language if it would like to pursue statehood.
- U.S. Congress members signed a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking that military aid to Honduras be suspended due to human rights violations and the murder of journalists.
- Pedro Pimentel Ríos became the fifth former member of the elite Guatemalan military squad known as the “kaibiles” to be sentenced for his involvement in the 1982 Dos Erres massacre in which 250 people were murdered.
- Fernando Alejandro Jimenez Gonzalez, a Costa Rican man suspected of killing Argentine folk singer Facundo Cabral, landed in Guatemala City on Wednesday to face charges.
- El Salvador received a $200 million, 20-year loan from the Inter-American Development Bank to research improving tax collection and climate change.
- Colombian ambassador to Peru Jorge Visbal resigned Wednesday to face charges for alleged criminal conspiracy with Colombian paramilitary groups.
- Venezuela’s Monagas state Governor Jose Gregorio Briceno was suspended Wednesday by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela for making critical remarks about the president of Venezuela’s national assembly.
- UN peacekeepers from Colombia, the U.S. and Uruguay were surrounded by armed Bedouins in the Sinai desert on Wednesday, where the soldiers were stationed to monitor compliance with an Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty.
- Southern Chile was hit by its worst storm in 22 years as 700 homes were damaged and 240 acres of land were flooded.
- Brazil’s Congress is still split on the question of whether to allow the sale of alcohol at the 2014 World Cup, which is required by FIFA but against Brazilian law.
Image: ActiveSteve @ Flickr.