Top Story — Amnesty International and the U.S. Government criticized the Cuban government after it briefly detained some 40 people who attended the funeral of dissident Oswaldo Payá on Tuesday. Cuban dissident and hunger-striker Guillermo Fariñas said that Cuban police herded some funeral-goers onto buses and questioned them for several hours before they were eventually released. Payá, a well-known dissident and leader of the Christian Liberation Movement, helped gather thousands of signatures for a referendum calling for political reforms in Cuba. Payá and his colleague Harold Cepero died Sunday when their vehicle crashed into a tree along a highway, according to Cuban authorities. Swedish citizen Aron Modig and Spaniard Angel Carromero, the latter of whom was apparently driving, both survived the crash but sustained injuries.
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Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Mexican rescue workers are trying to free five miners trapped in a blast in Coahuila state that killed two of their comrades on Wednesday.
- Joe Arpaio, the controversial sheriff of Maricopa County, AZ, denied accusations that he has targeted people in police stops due to their skin color.
- The Dominican Republic will pay gold-medal winning Dominican athletes a $250,000 bonus in the upcoming London Olympic Games.
- Jamaica’s labor ministry said it would raise the minimum wage 11 percent to $56 dollars a week.
- Indigenous villagers in Guatemala’s nortwestern Huehuetenango province allegedly lynched four suspected robbers after midnight on Monday.
- Suspected gang members shot three Guatemalan transit workers in two separate incidents on Wednesday. The victims had vocally called for more protection for bus drivers.
- Nicaraguan-born swimmer Michele Richardson de Ahlers will lead Nicaragua’s contingent in the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games after she was not allowed to represent the team in 1984.
- Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino announced Wednesday that Ecuador would not release a decision on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s asylum request until after the London Olympics.
- Venezuela extradited suspected drug lord Diego Perez Henao to Colombia on Wednesday along with seven other Colombians.
- Argentina is expediting trials for Dirty War-era human rights abuses in the hopes that sentences can be handed down before the aging defendants die of old age.
- Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner unveiled a brand new 100 peso bill featuring the face of former first lady Evita Perón, the first time a woman has appeared on an Argentine banknote.
- Paraguayan President Federico Franco said he had handed out 74 property titles to farmers in a fifteen-day period, whereas his predecessor Fernando Lugo had only handed out three in the past six months.
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