Today in Latin America
Top Story — Twelve Venezuelan police officers are being investigated in the Saturday shooting death of Karen Berendique, the nineteen year-old daughter of the Chilean consul in Maracaibo. Fernando Berendique, Karen’s father, said his daughter was in a car with her brother and another young person on Saturday night when they drove through an unmarked police checkpoint without stopping, prompting the police to open fire. Berendique said the three young people ignored an order to stop because the police did not identify themselves and they were afraid that the officers were robbers. Judicial police chief Jose Humberto Ramirez said that the officers had failed to set up cones identifying the traffic stop and that they would have to respond to the shooting in criminal court, but Venezuelans said that the shooting was indicative of a violent police force that shoots first and asks questions later. According to the Venezuelan Violence Observatory, police homicide figures for 2011 totaled 19,000 killings.
Read more from The Washington Post.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Mexican President Felipe Calderón said that Mexican state oil company Pemex will remain state owned on the 74th anniversary of Mexico’s expropriation of foreign oil.
- A new 608-bed immigrant detention center in Karnes City, Texas is seen as an example of the Obama administration’s effort to improve the conditions of facilities for detained immigrants.
- Cuban dissident Bertha Soler and dozens of others of Ladies in White supporters were detained in Havana early Sunday on one of their weekly protest marches.
- Voters in Puerto Rico seemed to favor GOP candidate Mitt Romney in elections on Sunday by a slim margin over rival Rick Santorum.
- Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Mexico and Cuba comes at a time when Catholicism in Latin America is on the decline and both countries are somewhat dissatisfied with the pope’s relationship to the region.
- Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes said that more than 2,600 former FMLN guerrillas over 70, nearly all of whom live in poverty, will receive a $50 a month pension from the government.
- The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said during a visit to Guatemala that he was concerned about new economic investment projects that could negatively impact the rights of indigenous people in Guatemala.
- Flight attendant and former “Mr. Panama” Harry Agustin Duncan Maslivar, who was arrested at Miami International Airport on charges that he is acting as a part-time drug mule, will have a bond hearing on Monday.
- Bolivian President Evo Morales threatened Sunday to close the U.S. Embassy in La Paz, accusing the U.S. of meddling in Bolivia’s domestic affairs.
- Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos called on the FARC fulfill its promise to release ten long-time hostages but did not address the rebel group’s request that activists be permitted to visit jailed rebels.
- Thousands of Venezuelan women have threatened to sue French manufacturer Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) for making defective breast implants unless they receive complimentary replacements.
- Ecuador’s new gambling ban went into effect officially over the weekend, prompting concerns that gambling will spread underground and encourage crime.
- Uruguayan officials detained at least two nurses Sunday in an investigation into a spate of deaths at two hospitals that were allegedly caused by poison purchased in Brazil.
- A Brazilian court ordered 17 foreign oil company employees to surrender their passports and remain in Brazil during an investigation into an offshore oil leak at a Chevron and Transocean oil well.
- Argentine and Israeli authorities gathered on Friday to honor the 29 people killed in a 1992 car bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires.
- Paraguayan Foreign Minister Jorge Lara Castro said that the Argentine government needed to “reflect” on trade restrictions affecting Paraguay during a meeting of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) in Asunción.
Image: ervega @ Flickr.