Top Story – Mexican President Felipe Calderón defended his security and economic policies in his final state of the nation speech on Monday. He highlighted the role he played in cleaning up corruption among the federal police. He also took pride in socking away almost $160 billion in international reserves and said his government had created more than 2 million jobs. Calderón’s six-year presidency, which is nearing it’s end, was defined in large part by his frontal assault on Mexico’s drug cartels. More than 47,000 people have died due to drug violence from when he took office in 2006 to September of 2011, the last time the government released official figures. “It’s been our generation’s job to assume the costs and risks of making urgent changes in politics and security,” Calderón said. “The reform has begun to bear fruit, but real results will only be seen in the future.”
Read more at the Associated Press. Spanish speakers can view the speech in the video below.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Archeologists continue to uncover remnants of Aztec culture and architecture buried beneath the busy streets of Mexico City.
- Immigration advocates in Washington state are relaunching efforts to open state financial aid to undocumented college students.
- The Democratic National Convention this year boasts a record number of Latino delegates, with about 800.
- Cuba caught travelers by surprise Monday when it enacted steep new customs fees, as part of a plan to clamp down on unregulated merchandise for resale.
- Leading Cuban dissident Oscar Espinosa Chepe has been hospitalized for 10 days with cirrhosis of the liver in Havana.
- Former Haitian prime minister Smarck Michel passed away on Saturday at the age of 75.
- Dominican heavy metal drummer José Carlos Hernández was stabbed to death outside a bar in Santo Domingo, according to police.
- Five headless bodies, including those of four young women, were found over the weekend in the Caribbean port city of La Ceiba, Honduras.
- Nicaraguan police detained four people who say they are journalists, two weeks after police arrested 18 Mexicans who had posed as journalists to smuggle $9.2 million in cash.
- Rodrigo Londoño, the leader of Colombia’s FARC rebels, confirmed the group has initiated peace talks with the Juan Manuel Santos administration.
- Venezuelan officials said Monday they found no evidence of a mass killing of indigenous people by miners reported by the Yanomami last week.
- Peru is considering a plan to double the maximum penalties for companies that pollute, as the government investigates two mining accidents and continues to face protests against mining projects.
- The Brazilian economy is showing signs of emerging from a year of stagnation as government stimulus measures begin to take effect.
- Argentina’s tax agency slapped a 15 percent tax on purchases made through online sites, in the hope of clamping down on tax avoidance and smuggling.
- Chile’s Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation filed a lawsuit Monday against the Chilean government over the ban on same-sex marriage.
Image: Gobierno Federal @ Flickr.