Top Story — After Peru’s Supreme Court reduced the sentences of members of the Grupo Colina death squad, critics on Monday raised the possibility that former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori could be released from prison. Fujimori’s former spy chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, presided over the infamous death squad that terrorized Peruvians in a supposed effort to root out Shining Path guerrillas during the early 1990s, and was imprisoned on charges ranging from drug trafficking to murder. On Monday, Montesinos’ sentence was reduced from 25 to 20 years, while fifteen other members of Grupo Colina received similar reductions in their prison sentences. The Supreme Court judges said evidence supported that the death squad had committed “human rights violations”, but the crimes fell below the classification of “crimes against humanity”. Fujimori’s lawyer, César Nakazaki, said that the ruling could strengthen Fujimori’s appeal of his own 25-year sentence for crimes against humanity.
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Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- At least fourteen people were killed and nine injured Monday when a pickup truck smuggling at least 23 undocumented immigrants across the border crashed in south Texas.
- Mexican authorities have not yet identified the 49 headless bodies discovered on a highway in Nuevo Leon two months ago, adding to the total of some 16,000 dead who remain unidentified in Mexico.
- Mexican consular offices across the U.S. have opened their doors to young undocumented immigrants who need help preparing deportation relief applications they can submit to the government starting on August 15.
- A pregnant 16 year-old Dominican teenager who is sick with cancer has become the center of national controversy as doctors debate whether she can receive life-saving chemotherapy that might damage the fetus.
- Cuba’s parliament announced the launch of a pilot plan creating 222 worker-owned non-state co-ops in various sectors to help reform the economy.
- The daughter of Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá, killed Monday with another colleague in a car accident, says she believes that another car had struck the vehicle Payá was traveling in.
- Thousands of doctors and public schoolteachers in Honduras went on strike Monday to demand that the government pay overdue wages and increase salaries.
- Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina said that the murder of the director of “El Infiernito” prison was likely ordered from within the prison.
- Nicaraguan authorities captured suspected drug trafficker Florentino Solis Evans after a shootout on Saturday night.
- Peruvian President Ollanta Humala reshuffled his Cabinet again on Monday, swearing in former human rights lawyer Juan Jiménez as the new Prime Minister.
- A high-tech paint used to paint houses in the Chaco region of Bolivia has proven to reduce up to 90 percent the infestation rates of an insect that causes the fatal Chagas disease.
- Armed assailants held up and robbed 1,300 ounces of gold and 4,000 ounces of silver from a Dynasty Metals processing plant in Ecuador.
- Paraguay may take its Mercosur neighbors Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and now Venezeula before the International Court of Justice in the Hague to protest its suspension from the regional trade bloc.
- Brazilian officials said that Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is worried about Brazil’s chances for economic recovery this year and will try to lower tax rates for 2013.
Image: Gustavo Kanashiro @ Flickr.