Top Story – Erick Barrondo on Saturday became Guatemala’s first-ever Olympic medalist by winning a silver medal in the 20-km race walk in London. Barrondo finished 11 seconds behind the first-place finisher from China, Chen Ding, while China’s Wang Zhen won the bronze. Barrondo, whose parents are middle-distance runners, was congratulated by phone by Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina shortly after his finish. In a speech after his Olympic triumph, Barrondo said “It was a glorious day for me, but the glory is most of all for my country.” Barrondo also took the opportunity to speak out against rising violence in Guatemala by urging “kids at home to put down guns and knives and pick up a pair of trainers instead”. Guatemala began participating in the Olympic Games in 1952 and before Barrondo’s race on Saturday, the country had never earned a medal.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- The Mexican army said Friday that it has detained a suspect in the killing of 49 migrants whose bodies were found dumped on a highway in Nuevo Leon state last May.
- Five men were shot to death by gunmen in the city of Escobedo in Nuevo Leon state on Sunday.
- In the last decade, private prisons have gone from housing 10 percent of beds in immigrant detention facilities to 50 percent.
- Spain’s Direccion General de Trafico (DGT) was in the process of revoking the driver’s license of Spaniard Angel Carromero, who was driving in the accident that killed Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá.
- Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt regained his title as the fastest man in the world after beating out countryman Yohan Blake in the 100-yard dash at the London Olympics.
- Honduran radio journalist Jose Chinchilla sought refuge in the U.S. Embassy after he said that he and his family have been threatened and shot at outside their home.
- A federal court in Vermont will begin the trial of Rev. Kenneth Miller, who allegedly helped Lisa Miller smuggle her daughter Isabella to Nicaragua after Miller separated from the child’s other mother.
- Attackers wounded a Colombian radio presenter at a community radio station in Arauca province by throwing a grenade at the station last Friday.
- An Ecuadorean court says that oil giant Chevron has until Monday to pay $19 billion in damages to Ecuadorean plaintiffs who claim that Texaco, since bought by Chevron, polluted their lands.
- A man from Potosí, Bolivia, was killed in a shootout between vehicle smugglers and police.
- Opponents of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez say that a requirement that voters scan their thumbprints at the polls could intimidate would-be voters.
- As Brazil’s recently-formed truth commission investigates human rights abuses from the country’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship, more details are emerging about the detention and torture of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.
- Chile commemorated on Sunday the second anniversary of the mine collapse that trapped 33 miners who were miraculously rescued 69 days later.
- Colombian singer Juanes said he supported the Uruguayan government’s proposal to regulate and sell marijuana to registered Uruguayan consumers.
Image: olaf141 @ Flickr.