Today in Latin America
Top Story — Shining Path rebel leader Martin Quispe Palomino said in a television broadcast Wednesday that the guerrilla group kidnapped 36 gas construction workers as part of a strategy to lure Peruvian security forces into the jungle to kill them. Quispe, known by nom de guerre “Comrade Gabriel”, spoke with reporters from El Comércio and La República and said that the Shining Path had not expected the Peruvian government to pay the $10 million ransom the group requested to release the workers, who were set free on Saturday. However, Quispe said that the kidnapping was successful because six Peruvian troops were killed in an ambush and a U.S. helicopter was shot down over the jungle. Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, who presided over the capture of top Shining Path leader “Comrade Artemio” in February, declared a state of emergency after the workers were kidnapped over a week ago. The last time the Shining Path guerrillas took a large group hostage was in 2003, when they captured 70 workers employed by Argentine company Techint.
Read more from Reuters.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments next week on Arizona’s controversial SB 1070, the immigration law upon which other states have modeled their own laws.
- A man from Dallas, Texas was detained while crossing the U.S.-Mexico border from El Paso after he failed to declare 268,000 rounds of assault rifle ammunition in his truck.
- Mexico’s Popocatepetl volcano is now spewing rock and ash, but no evacuations are planned at present.
- Dominican officials have appointed a special committee to investigate the murder of Taiwanese diplomat Julia Ou, who was found beaten and stabbed in her apartment Tuesday morning.
- Cuban state paper Granma rebuked U.S. President Barack Obama for calling for democracy in Cuba during the Summit of the Americas. The U.S. and Canada were the only two nations that did not agree to invite Cuba to the next Summit.
- Acting Haitian Prime Minister Garry Conille condemned the arrival of armed former Haitian soldiers onto Parliament grounds during a meeting of Haiti’s lower chamber of deputies.
- Passengers on a Carnival Corporation cruise ship in March said that the ship’s crew ignored pleas to rescue the stranded fishing boat carrying a teenage Panamanian hotel worker and two friends who later died of dehydration.
- The Salvadoran Attorney General’s Office said that the remains of at least 7 people have been discovered in a clandestine grave in Santa Ana province and investigators are continuing to excavate the site.
- Formerly landless workers have seized approximately 30,000 acres of land across Honduras, according to the organization Via Campesina.
- At least three U.S. Secret Service agents caught with alleged prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia will step down as the result of an investigation into misconduct during the Summit of the Americas.
- Former Venezuelan Judge Eladio Aponte will help the DEA by providing information on drug trafficking operations in Venezuela.
- Auditors of Newmont Mining Corporation’s Conga mining project in Peru said that the company cannot replace four alpine lakes with reservoirs and must leave some of them intact.
- Argentina’s expected nationalization of energy company YPF has gained condemnation from neighboring Chile as well as Spain and the United States, but the Argentine government announced Wednesday that it also expect to expropriate YPF Gas.
- Brazilian construction workers ended their strike at a future 2014 World Cup soccer stadium in Salvador, Bahia after winning a pay raise and increased benefits.
- Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo lost his appeal and will be forced to take a paternity test to prove whether he is the father of a 9 year-old boy.
Image: Presidencia Perú @ Flickr.